If you haven’t walked by a Cartier in the last week, be warned: holiday decorations are up in full, spectacular force. As it’s been reported on this blog and in the wider media, the traditional post-Thanksgiving shopping season may be six days shorter this year, but that certainly isn’t stopping retailers from rolling out the garland and giant wreaths and Christmas Muzak earlier than ever. In-store and online, that is. Since 2008, online sales in November and December have consistently accounted for 30 percent of total online sales registered throughout the year. For the fine jewelry sector, however, particularly for brands like Tiffany & Co., Swarovski and Cartier (the three digital ‘Geniuses’ in our new Digital IQ Index: Watches & Jewelry report), Cyber Monday doorbuster deals and special promotions aren’t really aligned with the business model. That said, holiday season marketing is still important for the industry. Below, a closer look at the email marketing efforts from the 2012 holiday season for these three brands:


The clear leader in terms of volume was Tiffany, which sent subscribers 40 emails over the course of the eight weeks–2.7 times more than Swarovski and 3.6 times more than Cartier. Not shying away from the sales push, Tiffany featured a red “Drop a Hint” button on each item, which was further promoted on Twitter with the #DropAHint hashtag. The approach wasn’t just popular, it was also extremely effective, earning the top-ranked brand in our Index for three years running a 45 percent increase in followers.

Least aggressive in email marketing, Cartier chose to drive holiday growth the video way with “Cartier Winter Tale,” a fantasy short film featuring panthers wandering through a forest of Cartier gifts. The video campaign was integrated across all of Cartier’s digital channels (including email), with multiple Facebook posts and pins on the brand’s then-newly launched Pinterest board. Swarovski took a more traditional retail route, sending targeted e-coupons for a 10 percent discount for purchases of $155 or more. They also promoted their signature Christmas Trees, decorated in Swarovski crystals and displayed all over the world, on Facebook; on Pinterest, the brand’s “Winter Wonderland” board alone added 36,777 new followers during this period, which, for perspective, is 6.5 times more than Cartier’s total following on the platform today.

Who will win the Christmas season this year? Hard to say, but Tiffany & Co., with its newly-launched e-commerce supported site and Index-leading communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, is a good bet. As these three brands–and the 77 others included in this year’s report–become more digitally agile, holiday marketing will only become more effective, more original, and more integrated. And the one thing you can certainly count on, is that they will also be hitting your inbox and social media feeds earlier and earlier in the year.

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