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When consumers hear Bing Crosby crooning about being home for the holidays this year, the response is less likely to be a warm glow of nostalgia than a snarky “No sh--! We’re all home for the holidays.”

For much of 2020, Americans have been home for just about everything. Work. School. Happy hours and “quarantinis.” We’ve even had cardboard proxies sit in for us at sporting events while we watch on TV from our living rooms.

Sorting It All Out

As the critical holiday shopping season approaches, retailers and marketers are understandably anxious about how the COVID-19 pandemic, and the new reality of eat-sleep-work-play-and-purchase-everything-including-stocking-stuffers-from-home, will affect their bottom lines.

And while 90% of purchase decisions were already made in the home, 90% of actual purchases were made in physical locations pre-COVID. This sudden, temporary shift has had significant impacts (although not in ways you might expect).

I’ll be exploring this topic in a series of posts in the coming weeks. Keep an eye out for in-depth looks at why word-of-mouth advertising has been largely silenced, why success could boil down to your ability to tell a “Persuadable Pat” apart from a “Sure Thing Sam” and why the ability to “survive the sort” matters more than ever (and how you can do it).

Activating the Right Decision

Despite everything that has gone wrong in 2020, I’m actually more optimistic than ever. At PebblePost, we emphasized the importance of activating decisions at home long before the pandemic transformed us into a nation of reluctant shut-ins. And as our world becomes decidedly less Zen-like in every way, we’ll continue to recite our longstanding mantra: relevance and respect, relevance and respect, relevance, and respect...

Treating the consumer right has never been more important. Those increased opportunities to activate decisions at home come amid a time of unprecedented distractions at home — and the all-important how/when/where of consummating the purchase. Seriously, this could be the lingering impression of 2020: toggling between a Zoom meeting on your tablet with colleagues all sporting pandemic haircuts and Rip Van Winkle beards, and a remote learning session on your laptop with a cranky kid who’s about to write on the screen with a permanent marker.

Enlightenment on Black Friday

In our current environment, it is absolutely essential to serve consumers relevant media, including holiday offers, at the time and place of their choosing. It’s vital to enable them to decide how, when, and where they make a purchase. That’s the power of Programmatic Direct Mail. Unlike a digital ad, which by definition and design interrupts a consumer’s activity, sorting physical mail and making a short stack is an activity. And it gets the consumer’s full attention.

That’s why I’m able to see a bright side when I look at this miserable year of self-quarantine. Don’t know about you, but I kind of like the idea of sending my cardboard stand-in to wait in line on Black Friday while I stay home quietly perusing my favorite holiday catalogs over a turkey sandwich.

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