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5 Tips for Back to School Marketing

Key advice from Zeta on how retail marketers can make the most of this back to school season.

Looking for tips on back to school marketing this year? Well, you’re in luck. In this article, you’ll not only find tips for back to school marketing, you’ll also find consumer trends and patterns derived from Zeta’s marketplace observations.

Tip #1 – Don’t focus on parents exclusively

Yes, parents drive much of back to school spending, but kids are more involved than you think.

In addition to being able to influence their parents’ buying decisions, kids will regularly spend their own money on back to school. 

As a matter of fact, teens will spend approximately $37 of their own money this year on back to school, while pre-teens will spend approximately $26. 

Tip #2 – Pay attention to the key trends of the season

Tip #3 – Partner with influencers and thought-leaders

When it comes to retail, parents and kids are heavily influenced by social media. That’s why forming a partnership with influencers is one of the best tips for back to school marketing in 2021. 

These partnerships shouldn’t be limited to the stereotypical “mommy bloggers”—they should be wide-reaching. For example, Marine Freibrun (owner of Instagram’s Tales From a Very Busy Teacher) is a teacher based out of Boise, Idaho. With more than 90,000 followers (almost all of which are teachers, parents, and students), influencers like Marine can make back to school product recommendations that consumers truly take to heart. 

Tip #4 – Don’t waste time on zero-interest products

Not all products and services are created equal. When it comes to back to school marketing, time is money. Do NOT waste your precious resources on products that aren’t popular this season. In other words, before you start spending thousands on paid media, take stock of what items are actually WORTH calling attention to. The best way to figure out what’s hot and what’s not is by looking at consumer data trends like these from Zeta or these from Google

Tip #5 – Invest in discounts and deals

Even with record-breaking household savings, many back-to-school shoppers will remain price conscious. 

  • 35% of consumers will spend less than $100 on back-to-school
  • 23% of consumers will spend than $500 on back-to-school

In a back to school shopping season where consumers stand to be more price conscious than in years past, retailer marketers would be wise to place special emphasis on promoting discounts and deals.

Lenovo, for example, is building a huge back to school marketing campaign around promotions for its PCs and PC accessories. 

Need more tips for back to school marketing? 

Zeta’s predictive marketing insights and industry-defining identity management can help you create the most compelling campaigns you’ve ever run for the back to school season. So, if you’re looking for additional insights or help, talk to us today and see which other trends are informing the 2021 back to school season in our recent guide.

Apple Mail Privacy Protection: What Marketers Can Do Now and the Permanent Changes Ahead

What does Apple’s mail privacy protection initiative mean for marketers? Part 2.

We recently wrote about Apple’s announcement of their Apple Mail Privacy Protection feature and how it changes the information shared to marketers about how customers interact with emails. In a nutshell, the masking of open activity by users, limits marketers’ ability to track open rate for audiences that are using a native Apple Mail application on Apple devices (regardless of the email domain (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.)). While the loss of this metric will have impact, email continues to be an important channel for marketers. 

Steps marketers can take now

While we don’t know the exact date for the launch of Apple Mail Privacy Protection, it looks like it will be coming in September 2021. There are a few things marketers can do now that will position them to better weather the impact on their email programs.  

1) Know your benchmarks

Look at the database of Apple users and benchmark metrics like opens and clicks. This will give clear data to work with after the launch and inform any changes to the program as a result.  

2) Clean up the database

Deliverability will likely rely more on interactions like clicks and conversions, so making sure there is a responsive audience now might help maintain a good sender reputation once the open rate goes away. 

3) Perform some analysis on your historical Subject Line data

If you have been diligent about testing, then you a good amount of data to review and be able to identify some themes/phrasing that drove lifts in open rates for your campaigns.  Take note of winning attributes by campaign type to leverage as you continue post implementation.    

 Some Strategies May No Longer Be Effective

In recent years, there have been innovations like various widgets that depended on tracking pixels for things like personalizing location or device type. These options will be limited once Apple Mail Privacy Protection is launched:  

  • Emails with dynamic content that changes depending on when it is opened might not work as intended. For example, offer expiration countdowns, or local store hours remaining to shop.  
  • Optimizing send time based on opens will no longer work for this segment. Instead, marketers will need to look at interactions like clicks or conversions.  
  • Automated messaging that is triggered based on open/non-open logic may not activate as intended when launched.  Review your triggered experiences with these dependencies and think about alternative engagement, like clicks, to use for messaging activation.  

The Most Important Metric: Engagement

The overarching goal should be to have an engaged, active audience for email messages, and there are several strategies and tactics that can help increase engagement.  

  • Calls to action

As clicks become a more weighted engagement metric, effective CTAs will be key. Use A/B testing on language, colors, placement, buttons, see what gets the most responses. 

  • Personalization

To increase clicks and conversions, increase personalization throughout. Using first-party segmentation data, transaction history, website behaviors or third-party enrichment attributes can all inform content and messaging strategy to drive your objectives.  Real-time content and message testing is key to optimize for greatest engagement performance.  

  • Triggered messages

Emails based on specific customer actions or milestones are more relevant and get better engagement and response rates than batch and blast emails. Create messages based on customer behaviors or demographics. To name a few, this can include welcome series, cart and browse abandonment, product replenishment, lead nurture, quick start guides, events like birthdays, or even the anniversary of the day they signed up for marketing emails. 

  • Omnichannel marketing

Email should be fully integrated into the marketing mix as one of many channels for communication. Leveraging additional channels like website personalization, social channels, mobile and app messaging, and more can help brands create a more holistic experience that drives better business outcomes  

Email will continue to evolve and inspire innovation so brands can deliver the best experience for their subscribers and customers. This change is an important reminder that it’s all about knowing your customer and delivering the best possible customer experience. Zeta is committed to supporting our clients through these changes to help them reach their marketing goals.

The Ultimate Back to School Marketing Checklist

A checklist to help retail marketers ensure their back to school campaigns are as powerful as possible.

Retail marketing professionals take note—back-to-school spending for 2021 is expected to reach $32.5 billion. That’s almost 17% higher than pre-pandemic levels (2019). As students return to in-person learning, retailers must be ready to answer the call for new clothes, book bags, binders, laptops, and more. To help retailer brands ensure their marketing is relevant, timely, and capable of captivating consumer attention, we composed this back to school marketing checklist to ensure nothing is left to change.

  • School supplies
    • Pens, pencils, book bags, notebooks, three-ring binders, etc.
  • Clothing and accessories
    • Tanks, tees, shoes, hats, hoodies, etc.
  • Electronics
    • Smartphones, tablets, wireless headphones, laptops, eReaders etc.
  • Health and hygiene
    • Hand sanitizer, masks, disinfectant wipes, etc.
  • Educational materials 
    • Textbooks, course materials, online classes, etc.

Bundle popular products from different categories to help back-to-school shoppers meet multiple needs at once. Or bundle trendy, quick-selling products with less popular items to help move stale inventory off the shelves. 

Many consumers are tired of pointing and clicking all day long—they want a return to tactile back to school shopping. By the same token, the convenience of online shopping isn’t going away, so don’t leave customers disappointed. Advertise a variety of fulfillment options to match individual shopper preferences: 

  • Buy-online pickup-in-store
  • Same-day delivery
  • Curbside pickup
  • Click and collect
  • On-demand delivery

With many Americans still out of work and inflation on the rise, consumers will still be price-conscious this back to school season. Therefore, coupons, discounts, and other offers that incentivize students, parents, and teachers to do their back to school shopping with your brand are a MUST this year.

Back-to-school marketers vested in brick-and-mortar should strive to identify the most lucrative designated marketing areas in terms of foot traffic. Focus additional budget on the key geographic areas where a surge in consumer shopping is expected to maximize the ROI of each dollar spent. 

This year more than any other, consumers will NOT be doing all their back to school shopping in a single trip. Lines, capacity restrictions, and other obstacles will entice people to break buying up across multiple days or weeks. To that end, it will be critical for retail marketers to build campaigns that capture consumer attention at multiple intervals and drive purchases across multiple dates.  

Consumers are growing increasingly fond of SMS as a marketing channel—they love that it’s a direct way to get real-time updates. Zeta’s data suggest that at least 20% of shoppers expect the retailers they do business with to contact them via SMS. To that end, it’s critical for retailers to have a strategy in place to activate SMS this back to school season. 

The most effective back to school marketers will be able to optimize in real-time by capitalizing on a wide array of consumer signal data. They’ll use these signals to uncover unique, back to school buying trends that amplify acquisition effectiveness, maximize retention, and increase their ability to upsell.

Many retail brands over-index on early back to school marketing—almost half of back-to-school consumers will still be doing their shopping in September. The smartest retail marketers will tap known customer and prospect data to understand which items back-to-school shoppers are most likely to buy, and when they’re most likely to do it. 

Consumers report feeling compelled and motivated to “shop small” and save local businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. As such, 64% of back-to-school shoppers will buy from local brick-and-mortar businesses this year. Retail marketers must capitalize on this by forming partnerships with smaller, independent brick-and-mortar merchants, then promoting those relationships using thoughtful email and social campaigns to cultivate awareness.

Looking for more back to school marketing insights?

If you’re interested in getting even more granular with your back to school marketing—talk to us. From our Zeta Data Trends to our back to school marketing guide, Zeta has everything retail marketers need to stay ahead of the game. 

Apple Mail Privacy Protection: What is it and how will it change email marketing?

Learn how Apple Mail Privacy Protection is going to shake things up for email marketers in the months ahead.

What is Apple Mail Privacy Protection?

At its Worldwide Developer Conference on June 7, 2021, Apple announced a number of new features which “help users better control and manage access to their data.”

These new features will go into effect with iOS 15, iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and watchOS 8 (which will most likely be released in the Fall of 2021).

The announcement that’s arguably gaining the most attention is around Apple Mail Privacy Protection—a new feature in the native Apple Mail app which “stops senders from using invisible pixels to collect information about the user.” Apple Mail Privacy Protection will allow consumers to prevent senders from knowing when an email is opened, and it will mask IP addresses so they can’t be connected to other online activities (or used to pinpoint a consumer’s location. 

As an optional feature, users will need to manually enable Apple Mail Privacy Protection to take advantage of the additional privacy. Right now, Apple’s policy change applies to customers who use the native Mail app on their iPhones, iPads and Mac laptops, which account for about 38% of email opens.

And based on consumer response to Apple’s recent app privacy feature, it seems likely that Apple Mail Privacy Protection will see high adoption rates. 

Why is Apple releasing Mail Privacy Protection?

Consumers are becoming more aware of the data created when they use devices to surf the web, access apps, read emails, and interact on social media.

For Apple, developing features that make it easy to disable tracking illustrates that consumer privacy is a priority to their brand, making it easier to cultivate and cement customer trust. Over time, trust leads to increased brand loyalty, stronger retention, and increased sales.

Being proactive on privacy also somewhat insulates Apple from government officials across the globe. If Apple can demonstrate its position as a leader on the issue of consumer privacy, it’s less likely to endure the kind of government inquiries and regulation that stymie growth.  

Will this kill email marketing?

This change from Apple will have an impact, but it doesn’t reduce the importance of email marketing as a part of your digital marketing toolkit.

Yes, email opens have served as an early indicator of email engagement as well as providing indirect data for inbox placement.

Yes, this change from Apple could mean opted-in users’ emails may all show up as opens, adding to challenges we’ve already seen with open rate metrics (including Samsung devices having images turned off as a default setting).

Yes, this will require a reset of benchmarks, and a new reliance on metrics related to overall engagement (e.g., click-through rate, conversions, bounce rates, unsubscribe rate, etc. which indicate relevancy of the content, relevancy of messaging, and the responsiveness of the targeted audience). 

But it is in no way the end of email marketing.   

In our next post, we’ll talk about how marketers can make adjustments to accommodate these upcoming changes.

We’ll also explain why marketers should develop more focus on active engagement metrics to get a clearer picture of email marketing performance and how email can fit into the bigger marketing plan.  

American Interest in the Olympics Hits a Low

Americans aren’t “all-in” on the 2021 Tokyo Olympics. Zeta did some deep research to find out why.

Based on data measured from consumers across the United States, Zeta predicts record-low interest in the Olympics.  

More than 60% of Americans were unable to express excitement or interest in the summer games, and at least 45% of Americans confirmed they are NOT looking forward to the games in any capacity.

What’s going wrong for Olympics promoters?

No fans

People (from fans to the athletes themselves) are expressing disappointment and disinterest in this year’s games due to the planned absence of fans.

Wrong year

Because the Olympics are being held in an odd year (2021 versus 2020) many people are simply forgetting they’re being held.

Better things to do

Following a year of lockdown, many American’s just aren’t as interested in sitting in front of the TV, as evidenced by depressed interest in this year’s Super Bowl, Grammys, and Stanley Cup Final. 

Female Olympians are more popular and Female fans more common

Of those consumers who ARE interested in this year’s Olympic games, women outnumber men by nearly 10%. 

Moreover, female athletes are markedly more popular than their male counterparts. The ten most popular Olympians for this year’s games are:

  1. Simone Biles
  2. Katie Ledecky
  3. Naomi Osaka
  4. Kevin Durant
  5. Allyson Felix
  6. Megan Rapinoe
  7. Alex Morgan
  8. Julie Ertz
  9. Devin Booker
  10. Caeleb Dressel

Women’s gymnastics will be the most popular event to watch

Of all the events at the 2021 Olympics, women’s gymnastics will be the most popular with American viewers. Zeta predicts 33% of those consumers interested in the Olympics will watch women’s gymnastics. 

This year will be cable TVs last hurrah

Cable TV will be the most popular way to watch the Olympics, owning 33% of viewership compared to 28% for mobile, 19.5% for laptop, and 19.3% for CTV. However, this will be the last Summer Olympics where cable reigns supreme.

By 2024, more people will watch the Olympics on mobile and CTV than on cable. 

Zeta Predicts Tokyo Will Be One of the Lowest-Watched Summer Olympics of the 21st Century

NEW YORK, July 16, 2021Zeta, a cloud-based marketing technology company that empowers enterprises to acquire, grow, and retain customers, today released insights from its latest ZetaPulse survey regarding consumer sentiment toward the upcoming 2021 Tokyo Olympics.

Based on responses from over 2000 respondents across the United States, the survey sought to discover consumer interest in the 2021 Olympic Games considering the various non-traditional arrangements due to COVID-19, such as live spectators not being allowed in stadium, the 1-year event postponement, and the 2020-2021 precedent of lower ratings and viewership among other live nationally broadcast events (such as the Super Bowl, Grammys, Stanley Cup Finals).

Enthusiasm for the Tokyo Olympics is low

  • The majority of U.S. consumers are not looking forward to the Olympics this year.
    • 2% of U.S. consumers surveyed are not looking forward to the Olympics, while 17.5% are undecided.
    • Zeta predicts that the Tokyo Olympics will be one of the lowest-watched Summer Olympic Games in the 21st century, to date.
  • As the U.S. economy re-opens, people are not prioritizing the Olympics.
    • As the U.S. re-opens following the pandemic and travel re-emerges this summer, 52.7% of people surveyed said they would not watch the Olympics with people they don’t live with, and only 19.4% will watch the Olympic Games in a location outside of their home.
  • Women and Generation Z are more interested in watching the Olympics than other demographics.
    • Generation Z and younger Millennials (adults 18-34) had the highest proportion of interest watching the Olympics. The interest level dropped with each increasing age group.
    • 48% of surveyed women were interested in watching the Olympics, whereas only 41% men were interested.

Female Olympians are heavy fan favorites

  • Female Olympians are getting the highest amount of buzz this year
    • Only three male athletes made the survey’s top 10 Olympian athletes list.
  1. Simone Biles,
  2. Katie Ledecky
  3. Naomi Osaka
  4. Kevin Durant
  5. Allyson Felix
  6. Megan Rapinoe
  7. Alex Morgan
  8. Julie Ertz
  9. Devin Booker
  10. Caeleb Dressel
  • Women’s gymnastics is the #1 favorited Olympic sport, according to survey respondents.
    • Nearly one third (32.7%) of surveyed consumers reported women’s gymnastics as their favorite sport. Others include volleyball, swimming, track and basketball.
    • 28% of young viewers (Adults 18-34) are most interested in basketball.
    • Among political interest groups, Republicans are much more interested in women’s gymnastics, while Democrats favor swimming and men’s basketball as a favorite event.

Streaming will soon outpace cable TV Olympic viewership

  • While Cable TV (NBC) is still the preference for those watching live Olympic events, mobile and connected TV viewership is rising.
    • The gap between watching the Olympics on traditional Cable TV (33.2%) versus Mobile (28%) is closing; while Tablet/Laptop (19.5%) and Connected TV viewers (19.3%) are similar, signifying the rise in CTV over the past year.
    • Zeta predicts that Mobile and Connected TV will continue to rise in usage, surpassing Cable TV and Tablet usage by the next Summer Olympics in 2024.

To view more data-driven consumer insights across financial services, insurance, retail, travel, automotive, entertainment and other industries, sign-up for The Pulse – Zeta’s bi-weekly insights newsletter, or request a custom report from Zeta’s Opportunity Explorer, a top-rated real-time analytics and insights solution derived from information provided by over 220 million opted-in individuals in the United States.

About Zeta

Zeta Global Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ZETA) is a leading data-driven, cloud-based marketing technology company that empowers enterprises to acquire, grow and retain customers. The Company’s Zeta Marketing Platform (the “ZMP”) is the largest omnichannel marketing platform with identity data at its core. The ZMP analyzes billions of structured and unstructured data points to predict consumer intent by leveraging sophisticated artificial intelligence to personalize experiences at scale. Founded in 2007 by David A. Steinberg and John Sculley, the Company is headquartered in New York City. For more information, please go to

Utilizing Ensemble Models for Marketing Campaigns

An insightful piece on ensemble modeling from Pawan Pathak, Gayan De Silva, David Hanzelka, and Sunpreet Singh Khanuja.

Companies are improving their Machine Learning (ML) processes to increase the performance of their marketing campaigns. They’re doing this because customer behavior data is so sophisticated (i.e., complex) that it’s become difficult for humans to make sense of it on their own. As the relationships between data attributes become increasingly non-linear and complex, we need a more intelligent approach to Machine Learning that can not only highlight these relationships but learn from them to guide business decisioning. An effective method is the simultaneous application of multiple advanced ML models, combined to form an ensemble model. In this blog, you’ll see an example of utilizing an ensemble model for marketing campaigns and learn how to overcome common problems related to ensemble models.

What is ensemble modeling?

Ensemble modeling is a technique that combines multiple ML models to create a final singular prediction. The prediction may be in the form of Classification (Yes/No), Estimation (predicting future demand) or Ranking (force rank an audience based on perform a desired action).

Why use ensemble models for marketing?

Simply put, more is better than one.

Multiple ML models learn different patterns, and combining them into an ensemble model improves the accuracy and stability of the predictions.

Five things to keep in mind when designing an ensemble model…

If you’re ready to transition from legacy model processes to ensemble models, there are five key things you need to keep in mind:

  1. Type of Prediction (Classification vs Estimation vs Ranking)
  2. ML algorithms to be determined based on the type of prediction
  3. Architecture (including existing technology and deployment limitations)
  4. Model transparency (explainable AI)
  5. Performance measurement KPIs

An example—how Zeta implemented ensemble models

During the initial phase of implementation, our primary objective was setting up a semi-automated pipeline (we decided to leave the performance improvements and fine-tuning for later on).

We considered 5 ML algorithms to start:

  • Logistic regression
  • Random forest
  • XGboost
  • Gradient boosting machines (GBM)
  • Neural networks

The simplified architecture for the pipeline is shown below.

The first step in modeling is the creation of the modeling dataset. This process is automated using historical conversion data from previous marketing campaigns to create the ”Dependent” variable. This step also includes appending “Independent” variables to the modeling dataset (to be clear, Zeta owns many data sources containing demographic, affinity, location, behavioral, etc. information for 300M+ permissioned email addresses).

Steps two and three are the most critical in any modeling process, which (at a high-level) involve cleaning the data, transforming and reducing the features to retain only the most relevant (yet non-redundant) independent features for the model.

In the fourth step, the cleaned, transformed, and reduced modeling data is fed to multiple ML algorithms, each producing a model score and model object as an output.

Finally, these model scores are combined using soft voting to obtain the final ensemble model score and object.

Ensemble model scoring

Zeta’s ensemble modeling pipeline was developed in a python environment. To efficiently achieve the scalability required for scoring 300M – 800M email addresses, Zeta uses scalable SQL tools.

Each individual model used to create the ensemble is extracted as a set of rules and constraints in the form of an SQL query. These SQL queries are then executed on our 300M+ universe to create a score from each model.

Finally, the scores from each individual model are combined using soft voting to create the final ensemble model score on the entire universe.

Model validation

The performance of a model is key in determining its business impact on a marketing campaign.  Before rolling out ensemble models, we did extensive comparison with the business-as-usual modeling process. We used the following metrics to evaluate ensemble models versus business-as-usual models:

  • AUC
  • Accuracy
  • Precision
  • Recall
  • F-score
  • Confusion matrix
  • Lift charts

The results?

In general, we see 20% improvement in new customer acquisition cost for our clients using ensemble models. This evaluation was carried out in a designed experiment, ensuring statistical significance and confidence in the achieved lift.

Need more help with ensemble models for marketing—Talk to us!

If you’d like help learning how to use ensemble models to deliver more customer satisfaction, talk to us.

Thank You for Everything

Joshua offers his friends and colleagues at Zeta a heartfelt goodbye.

By Joshua Koran, Head of Innovation Labs, Zeta

After over 2 years at Zeta (and almost 4 years including my time at Sizmek), it comes with bittersweet emotions to announce my departure. I am moving on to continue pursuing my passion advocating for a free and open web that is supported by responsible addressable media.

My Zeta adventure began with the Sizmek acquisition in May 2019. I am extremely proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past few years. In my time here, I’ve contributed to the company’s growth in innovative products, multiple acquisition integrations, becoming a public company, and what I consider to be impactful on a macro level, helping evangelize the best path for the ecosystem to pursue as we proceed toward the future of addressability.

Just a few short months after I joined, one of the first of many surprise announcements shook the web ecosystem that one of the largest browsers would no longer support digital markets’ reliance on the foundational technology standards known as “cookies.” As we all know, this was the beginning of a frenzy that has since set the industry searching for improved solutions to continue to allow small organizations to rely on supply chain partners, which require interoperable data that today is often stored in cookies.

At Zeta, we have been prominent in our positioning to maintain a free and open marketplace and ensure that marketers and publishers continue to have choice over the partners they work with. We have been leaders in educating marketers around the world, co-founded a new trade body, Marketers for an Open Web, and advocated the importance of the responsible use of interoperable data to support digital markets regulators worldwide.

This important work will continue as Zeta advocates to give their people, publishers, and marketers the best opportunities to communicate and continue to navigate the open web.

As the regulator scrutiny of internet gatekeeper conduct continues to increase in the European region, where regulators are further ahead in balancing people’s important privacy rights with the collective social rights of open marketplaces and freedom of expression, I will continue pursuing my passion to advocate for balanced solutions, rather than those that favor only the largest established players.

All in all, I am very grateful for my time at Zeta and working alongside the incredibly talented teams across the organization that are helping marketers and publishers attract, retain and grow relationships with people.

Thank you to everyone for your partnership, your friendship, and for everything we’ve done together.

Joshua Koran

5 Back to School Marketing Ideas for Retailers

Consider these 5 critical back to school marketing ideas as you prepare your 2021 strategy.

Back to school is one of the busiest times of year for parents, students, teachers, and—of course—retailers. In fact, the back-to-school shopping season is one of the busiest times of year for everyone in the retail industry. From book bags and pens, to new shoes and new clothes, it’s a time of year when consumers aren’t shy about spending money. With that in mind, here are five back to school marketing ideas to help retailers maximize their success this season.

Back to school marketing idea #1? — Partner with local businesses

Consumers report feeling compelled and motivated to “shop small” and save local businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. 

To capitalize on this year’s preference for local shopping, marketers should consider setting aside some back-to-school budget for partnerships with smaller, independent brick-and-mortar merchants. Promote these partnerships using thoughtful email and social campaigns to cultivate awareness and promote key back-to-school products.

Back to school marketing idea #2? — Lean on “hero” products

Bundle popular products from different categories to help back-to-school shoppers meet multiple needs at once. Identify the “hero” products of the season (trendy, quick-selling items) and package them with less popular products to help move stale items off shelves. Use geofencing with social media to increase consumer interest in product bundles at specific brick-and-mortar locations.  

Back to school marketing idea #3? — Promote in-person shopping

Consumers are tired of pointing and clicking to do their shopping. Many are excited to return to stores and the in-person buying experience—they want to become tactile shoppers again.

More than 50% of consumers plan on doing some form of their back to school shopping in person, so don’t disappoint them. Even those looking to still buy online will be increasingly interested in in-person fulfillment like curbside or in-store pickup. 

When it comes to last-mile fulfillment, consumers value immediate, transparent communication above all else. With that in mind, consider making SMS notifications an integral part of the fulfillment experience this year. 

Back to school marketing idea #4? — Use sales early and often

Even with record-breaking household savings, many back-to-school shoppers will remain price conscious. In fact, 2 out of 3 consumers will plan their back-to-school shopping around a major sale

  • 35% of consumers will only be able to spend less than $100 on back-to-school
  • 23% of consumers will only be able to spend between $100 and $500 on back-to-school

Retailers should plan events and promotions centered on price sensitivities to encourage consumers to do as much buying as possible in their stores. Coupons, discounts, and other incentives for students, parents, and teachers are a MUST this year.  Lean into loyalty data to understand which products are most sought after, and implement dedicated social hashtags promoting special offers on those items. 

Back to school marketing idea #5? — Talk to kids, not just parents.

Don’t forget that back-to-school marketing isn’t just about connecting with parents. Students play a pivotal role in the buying process, from influencing their parents’ purchase decisions to spending their own money, students can’t be ignored. Analyze signals (behavioral, content, geographic, etc.) related to Generation Z and Generation Alpha across channels, and use any insights gleaned to develop more effective marketing campaigns that zero-in on clear interests. 

Roughly 13% of this year’s back-to-school buying will be done by the students themselves.  

  • Teens will spend approximately $37 of their own money this year
  • Pre-teens will spend approximately $26 of their own money 

Looking for more back to school marketing insights?

If you’re interested in getting even more granular with your back to school marketing—talk to us. From our Zeta Data Trends to our back to school marketing guide, Zeta has everything retail marketers need to stay ahead of the game.  

Former Trade Desk & American Express Executive, Crystal Eastman, Joins Zeta As Chief Marketing Officer

Zeta continues building for accelerated growth with appointment of first Chief Marketing Officer

NEW YORK, NY – July 7, 2021 – Zeta (NYSE: ZETA), a cloud-based marketing technology company that empowers enterprises to acquire, grow and retain customers, today announced Crystal Eastman as the latest in a series of moves to strengthen company’s executive team for its next phase of growth, joining as Zeta’s first ever Chief Marketing Officer.

Ms. Eastman joins Zeta from The Trade Desk where she was Head of Global Marketing and responsible for global go-to-market activities, including product marketing; sponsorships and events; and global campaign activation. Ms. Eastman has held numerous senior marketing positions throughout her career, including leadership stints at iconic brands American Express and BlackRock.

“I’m thrilled to have Crystal Eastman join our executive team. Crystal has an impressive, proven track record in growing data-driven and digital businesses, with deep expertise in all aspects of marketing. Under her leadership we will continue to deepen our understanding of our customers’ evolving needs, continuously innovate our product offerings and how we deliver them, and scale our growth ambitions by introducing Zeta to the next generation of marketers,“ said Zeta’s Co-Founder, Chairman, and CEO, David A. Steinberg. “Crystal joins an expanding, diverse executive team that brings the collective experience and leadership abilities needed to accelerate our growth agenda.”

Ms. Eastman will be responsible for global marketing strategy and execution, including brand activation; performance marketing; corporate communications; public relations; events and sponsorships; client engagement; and Zeta’s employer brand. She will be based in Zeta’s NYC headquarters.

“It is an honor to join this talented and accomplished executive team at such an exciting time in the company’s journey,” said Ms. Eastman. “Zeta’s unrivaled marketing platform is fit for purpose in this moment of modern marketing. I look forward to helping marketers across the globe unleash their full potential by taking advantage of Zeta’s advanced identity solution, leading edge audience insights, and uniquely integrated omni-channel activation opportunities.”

Ms. Eastman was also named a “Woman to Watch” by Brand Innovators in 2019, serves on the Board of the RuddUR Dance Company, and volunteers as a mentor for The AllStars Project’s Development School for Youth.


About Zeta

Zeta Global Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ZETA) is a leading data-driven, cloud-based marketing technology company that empowers enterprises to acquire, grow and retain customers. The Company’s Zeta Marketing Platform (the “ZMP”) is the largest omnichannel marketing platform with identity data at its core. The ZMP analyzes billions of structured and unstructured data points to predict consumer intent by leveraging sophisticated artificial intelligence to personalize experiences at scale. Founded in 2007 by David A. Steinberg and John Sculley, the Company is headquartered in New York City. For more information, please visit

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