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Large, small retailers exchange expertise in Christmas marketing

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Getting the most out of every marketing dollar is of utmost importance to retailers during the Christmas season, which is why more chief marketing officers are turning to social media.

According to a survey of 100 chief marketing officers performed by BDO USA LLP, 86 percent of retailers will be using social media in their holiday promotion strategies, up from 4 percent in 2007.

Stephen Wyss, a partner in BDO’s retail practice, said improved technology has increased the value of social media, moving the purpose from brand awareness to actual transactions. He said Facebook leads the pack in developing this technology as a response to customer needs. The BDO survey showed 99 percent of retailers will turn to Facebook this holiday season to promote their shops.

Beth Anne Macdonald, executive director of the Downtown Somerville Alliance, said she saw an increased number of local shops promoting Small Business Saturday this year on Facebook and in other social media channels. She said it was very exciting to see all of the engagement happening online.

Wyss said large retailers are building on the success small retailers discovered through grassroots online campaigns. That’s why, despite holiday marketing budgeting being flat, 31 percent of retailers are putting most of that budget to work online — an increase from 23 percent last year.

“I think in some ways the concept of how to use social media was started by the smaller players as a necessity, because it’s a cheap channel,” Wyss said. “The larger retailers have kind of gone ahead and invested and figured out strategies on how to monetize that interest.”

Wyss said that, in return, smaller retailers are able to piggyback off of mobile marketing technology developed by the bigger companies. Larger retailers have invested in creating customer-friendly mobile platforms, and now smaller retailers are able to “replicate on a smaller scale” the best practices.

The BDO survey says half of all chief marketing officers are incorporating mobile promotions into this holiday season, up from 39 percent in 2011.

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