The arrival of spring brings many special occasions to celebrate. Kicking off in March, consumers are flooded with holidays including Saint Patrick’s Day, Nowruz, Passover, Easter, Mother’s Day and, of course, the onset of peak graduation and wedding season. Even as COVID-19 vaccinations continue to roll out, many consumers are still cautious about how they are choosing to participate in holiday festivities.
Over the past year, expressing feelings of togetherness and sending love from a distance has become more popular, especially among younger consumers. In fact, as many sought alternative ways to connect with loved ones amidst the pandemic, younger audiences gravitated back to greeting cards. To connect with younger audiences, major brands such as Minted, Paperless Post and Hallmark are focusing their efforts on enhancing customer success, amplifying the shopping experience and deploying digital marketing strategies to engage target audiences ahead of holiday celebrations.
Seeking Personal Connections, Millennial Consumers Revive The Greeting Card Industry
The $7 billion greeting card industry is experiencing a revival as a result of increased interest from younger consumers. Winnie Park, CEO of Paper Source, told Maria Ricapito of Marie Claire that Millennials specifically are their brand’s fastest growing segment. As the generation flooded with digital tools and technology, Marie Caire describes screen burnout as a catalyst for the surge in greeting card popularity. For younger audiences, there is something uniquely special about receiving packages from loved ones and reading handwritten cards or notes. In the interview, Park said, “Because our lives are so filled with technology, it’s really great to prioritize something that’s a personal gesture, that’s handwritten. It’s super thoughtful, different, and actually stepping outside of that digital box.”
In a recent consumer survey, personalized photo and stationary company Shutterfly found that 40% of Millennials indicated they would be sending greeting cards for the first time in 2021. Hallmark CMO Lindsey Roy said that for younger consumers, the renewed value in cards is all about the authenticity of the personal touch, noting, “We’ve found that eight out of 10 Millennials keep the cards they’re given because they are so important to them as capstones of a relationship.” Ordering highly personalized cards and gifts online allows consumers to provide a special touch from a distance. As consumers adopt pandemic-inspired behaviors as new norms, brands who engage new audiences now can build lasting relationships.
Minted Promotes Their Community Of Artists With UGC-Like Easter Egg Decorating Contest
As large gatherings remained limited, online stationery, design and decor marketplace Minted was inspired to bring consumers together virtually. Last month, Minted launched a user-generated content inspired social media campaign featuring a classic Easter tradition: egg decorating. Known for its vast community of independent artists and creators, from March 15-29, Minted Instagram followers were directed to check out submissions for the #MintedEaster decorating contest. Artists used the branded hashtag to share their egg designs for a chance to be featured on Minted’s Instagram page. Minted users could use the brand’s Instagram to discover new designs and aesthetics and then search the Minted site for products made by their favorite artists. Driving traffic via Instagram aligns with the brand’s core services, as many of its card and stationary options allow consumers to customize designs with personal photos. With a community of more than 432,000 Instagram followers, Minted is creatively leveraging its first-party social media channels to connect its unique brand value proposition with consumers.
Minted also launched its mobile app in November 2020, which allows users to quickly find and personalize greeting cards for all occasions, holidays and events, and also allows users to create an address book and keep records of guest lists and contacts. Mobile app users are offered the promotion of free envelope addressing as an added incentive for mobile orders. Leveraging mobile-focused social media engagement is a strategic way to drive high-intent consumers to the new Minted app experience.
Paperless Post Delivers Diverse Digital Options For All Spring Celebrations From Easter To Nowruz
Online invitation company Paperless Post prides itself on designing greeting cards, flyers and other digital and print stationary that reflects the personal style of each customer. Paperless Post, “uses technology to power design.” The brand has become well known for offering cards with digital elements, allowing customers to create designs and then send them across a variety of mediums from email to SMS and even social media. Acknowledging the limitation on gatherings, Paperless Post incorporated products and suggestions on its brand website for creating digital invitations promoting virtual holidays celebrations.
Embracing the uniqueness of each customer, Paperless Post offers greetings for a variety of diverse holidays appealing to many audiences. Nowruz, also known as Persian New Year, is celebrated by nearly 300 million people globally and nearly half a million Americans who identify as having Iranian heritage. According to the United Nations, Nowruz (meaning new day), “promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families.” Paperless Post introduced a unique collection dedicated to Nowruz. Across its social media communities, Paperless Post celebrated Nowruz, driving followers to the product collection featuring traditional Persian art and designs.
Legacy Brand Hallmark Offers Optionality With BOPIS
For over 100 years, Hallmark has been synonymous with greeting cards, special gifts, ornaments, gift wrap and all things related to expressing personal sentiments and celebration. From 1910 to 2020, Hallmark successfully evolved with its audiences to meet the changing needs of customers. According to the company website, “We continue to expand how and where our consumers can shop for our products – both online and in retail stores. We want to make Hallmark products available to consumers whenever, wherever, and however they want to shop.” The company has remained committed to helping consumers recognize, celebrate, share, love and connect through all circumstances. Combining the power of its ecommerce platform with the in-person experience of its brick-and-mortar stores, Hallmark announced a variety of shopping options including curbside pickup and buy online, pick up in store (BOPIS). Furthering their efforts to create seamless shopping experiences, Hallmark also provides gift guides, featured categories and product recommendations based on price and recipient.
In March 2020, in response to the pandemic and its societal effects, Hallmark announced it would give two million cards away to help people connect in a time of crisis. From front line workers to grandparents, Hallmark’s #CardsDoMore campaign and related giveaway provided consumers with a platform to show support, express gratitude and feel together while apart. Hallmark integrated its messaging across its website and social media platforms encouraging consumers to make meaningful connections during a time of isolation.
Stationary Brands Can Establish Brand Loyalty Among Younger Consumers With Digital Strategies Across First-Party Channels
From adding personal photos to selecting a unique artist, younger consumers demand optionality in product offerings and expect frictionless online shopping experiences, from desktop to mobile. Brands that connect with Gen Z and Millennial consumers are positioned to establish lifetime loyalty among growing audiences with buying power. Digital strategies along with relevant messaging, diverse imagery, simple CTAs and content marketing can position brands to find consumers where they are browsing and buying. With Mother’s Day, graduation and peak wedding season approaching, brands that can connect with consumers now are positioned to scale future conversions.
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