Last week, The Next Normal summer webinar series kicked off with two sessions focused on holiday marketing and the evolving nonprofit landscape. Experts from Gap Inc., United Way of Greater Kansas City, and DEG discussed how COVID-19 and the resulting economic impact has affected both consumer and donor behaviors, and how brands and organizations can adapt to meet their audiences’ needs for the remainder of 2020.

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Our final two webinars in this series—on August 25 and 27—will feature experts in digital marketing and commerce, including thought leaders from PepsiCo and Salesforce. Be sure to register to join those sessions.

Now, let’s dive into the main takeaways from our first week of The Next Normal summer series.

What consumers are expecting this holiday season

In our first webinar, Gap Inc. Head of Digital Blair Dunn joined DEG Associate Director of Retail and Consumer Goods Jenn Horner for “What to Expect From Holiday 2020.”

While in-store shopping slowed considerably during the first half of this year, we’re seeing retail and food services rebounding. Coupled with an explosion of ecommerce activity and new consumer behaviors, the holiday season is shaping up to bring on new challenges for many brands.

Three takeaways from this session were:

1. Consumers are making conscientious buying decisions based on their needs, how brands are responding to the COVID-19 crisis, and how brands are responding to and supporting racial equality.

Consider how your brand is responding to the crisis and how you can better articulate and show what you’re doing to your customers. The wild journey of 2020 has made people cautious to spend their money and they want to feel good about shopping with your brand.

2. Marketers need to work closer with their partners in merchandise and operations.

Non-marketing decisions are impacting brand decisions and supply-chain considerations are impacting consumer behavior. Collaborating with other leaders within your company will allow you to be better equipped to adjust messaging and shift strategies based on the new processes and technology allowing your customers and associates to remain safe.

3. Create new ways to add joy to your customer’s abnormal holiday celebrations.

Everyone’s holidays will look different this year, but brands can help make them special. Start your holiday campaigns early and entice your customers to enjoy the experience. Consider how you can make each experience easier—with new technology or helpful holiday gift guide—and efficient with clear deadlines and dates for ordering and delivering gifts on time.

How nonprofits are adapting in the COVID-19 era

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In our “Adapting to the Evolving Nonprofit Landscape” webinar, United Way of Greater Kansas City Chief Marketing and Philanthropy Officer Mike Goff dove into nonprofit challenges with DEG Strategic Planning Director Jenni Schaub.

The philanthropic landscape was already transforming, introducing an age of micro-giving that connected donors with causes through incremental gifts. But when COVID-19 arrived, it unleashed a wave of challenges and changes unseen before. Now, nonprofits are grappling with already evolving donor expectations and the need to choose which resources to use to survive this pandemic and resulting economic effects.

Three takeaways from this session were:

1. Donor expectations were already transforming before COVID-19 arrived.

Younger donors demand simple, frictionless, and connected experiences. And their desire to help goes beyond donations with donors seeking out volunteer opportunities or inventing creative solutions to aid their local communities. Now, with more time on their hands, donors are seeking transparency in the charitable organizations they support.

2. The key to survival is finding opportunities to engage your donors more often, and with compelling storytelling.

Start by understanding who your current donors are as people. Then, personalize your content to meet them in the channels they use to engage with your brand. Use storytelling to transform your cause into a real situation affecting real people. And develop a cross-channel strategy that ensures you consistently create content that is purposeful and impactful.

3. Use data to build trust and inspire confidence.

Data-informed strategies ensure you deliver the right message to the right donor at the right time. Leverage AI tools and dynamic content fields within your email platform, build multiple journeys of messages across all digital channels, and use your data to inform when to deploy it.

Join us for week 2 of The Next Normal summer series

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This week, we’re hosting two sessions on “Digital Connections in a Socially Distant World” with PepsiCo and “Winning in DTC: Convent That Converts” with Salesforce. Don’t miss these two sessions to hear actionable strategies for embracing the next evolution in marketing.

Register now for The Next Normal and access last week’s recordings and all complementary resources.

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