Changing with the leaves: making the most of seasonal marketing

Adapting your marketing to thrive in different situations is crucial if you want to grow. Your customers won’t behave the same way throughout the year. You can’t afford to either!

A perfect example of this is the differences in marketing to consumers during winter, spring, summer, and autumn. Each season brings its own set of holidays, events, and changes in consumer mindset and priorities.

Your marketing has to be adaptable and open to change at all times, whilst still maintaining your brand’s unique voice. This can be difficult to achieve! It’s not uncommon to see large companies make a misstep, even when marketing during simple and predictable situations.

If you’re a smaller company, knowing how and when to change your marketing can seem impossible. There are aspects of it that you may have to guess, but we’re here to help you take control of the process and produce marketing that is timely, effective, and on-brand.

Below, you’ll find a few tips and tricks that you can keep in mind when you’re preparing for the next big holiday or event. Beyond that, though, we want to get across a more fundamental idea of flexibility and adaptability, so you’ll be ready for any situation!

Still have some questions? You can always get in touch with us if you need a hand with your seasonal marketing. Our strategic experts can help you prepare for anything, and our amazing content and digital teams can work with you to put it into practice. Get in touch today to book a meeting and start your seasonal marketing journey!

Be flexible

To save time, many marketers will create a rigid structure for weeks or even months in advance. Whilst planning ahead is great, don’t let it stop you from adapting on the fly, should the opportunity arise!

Take a look at this simple example that shows how flexibility in your marketing can lead to great results:

Francisca is a marketing manager for a chain of ice cream stores. She plans her campaigns several months in advance. July rolls around and she takes a look at her plan. She’s ready to implement a great campaign; 25% off all waffle cone ice creams whenever the temperature is over 25°C.

This is a great idea, but she has one problem. July is turning out to be unseasonably cold, and the long-range forecasts aren’t looking good! She could go ahead with her planned campaign, but that might antagonise her customers. Instead, she adapts the campaign; 15% off on all hot desserts whenever the temperature is below 15°C.

As you can see from the above example, Francisca was able to adapt her original campaign idea into something that would work better for the weather. It shows that whilst you can plan a campaign that should work for a particular season, things don’t always pan out. (Especially when British weather is involved!)

It also has another great advantage of making sure she is prepared for either eventuality; the weather being cold or hot. She could even change the campaign on a weekly basis depending on how the weather is looking, providing her customers with a great deal no matter how things go.

Planning your campaigns far in advance is a great idea, but don’t be tied down to your plans. Give yourself plenty of time before a campaign is due to go live to consider if you need to change anything.

Outside of weather, events around the world could make a campaign’s message unsavoury or even rude. Keep your finger on the pulse at all times to make sure your marketing is effective, up-to-date, and flexible.

Allow your marketing to follow the ebbs and flows of culture and current events. Sticking rigidly to a plan can create a lot more work for you in the long run! [Photo by Alexandru Acea on Unsplash]

Plan your promotions carefully

We briefly discussed promotions in the last section but it’s important to cover them in a bit more depth.

When creating promotions, it can be tempting to follow the status quo. A great example of this is Black Friday. It’s a sale idea that has permeated throughout British business and has been adopted almost universally.

For a sale like Black Friday, it’s easy to just mark down all of your products, create some graphics, and call it a day. It pays to be a more experimental, though.

By knowing your audience, you can create a sale, even around Black Friday, that will be more effective at engaging your customers than a simple blanket sale.

Let’s take a look at a simple example that demonstrates this:

Kevin runs a car detailing business. November is coming up and he wants to create a sale that will capitalise on Black Friday.

Last year, he ran an offer that gave customers 30% off on all detailing packages. Unfortunately, he didn’t notice a significant increase in sales. This year, he’s decided to try something a bit different.

To make his Black Friday offer stand out, he’s offering 50% off on all detailing packages for customers with black, grey, or silver cars. He ends up gaining a lot of new customers and the sale is a bigger success than the previous year.

Why did Kevin’s new sale idea lead to better results? There are several reasons why. Firstly, his new promotion was memorable and unique. Around Black Friday, most sales that companies run tend to be almost identical. Blanket sales are very common and lead to sale-blindness in customers. When everyone is running the same sale, how is a customer supposed to differentiate between you and a competitor?

By creating a sale that was unique, Kevin was able to stand out from his competition. This feeds into another reason that his sale was more effective: it was specific. Whilst it appealed to a smaller group of people than his previous sale, it was better at attracting the customers that it did appeal to. Due to a smaller audience, he was able to offer a larger discount as well, which helped to bring in new customers whom the sale applied to.

Be creative when designing promotions and try not to follow the status quo. By standing out and offering something unique, you stand a much better chance of attracting and retaining customers.

Offer different products or services

Keeping your customers interested when you offer the same products all year round is difficult. A great way around is by offering seasonal products.

This idea can take a variety of different forms, so let’s look at an example that demonstrates it well:

Angie is the marketing manager for a small chain of steak houses. This year, sales are in a bit of a slump despite several successful campaigns.

She decides that instead of marketing the dishes they already sell, they need to create something new and exciting that customers haven’t seen before.

The Olympics are coming up, so she works with their chefs to create a special themed-menu that will run for the duration of the event. This includes a variety of new dishes and special discounts if British competitors win gold medals.

In this example, Angie’s key realisation was that their regular marketing campaigns were performing well but they weren’t reaching their sales targets outside of that. To bring in more customers, and to develop these customers into regulars, she needed something new, exciting, and unique.

A new product was the answer which, in this case, was a new menu around a big event, the Olympics. When thinking about your own products, consider offering something new when big events or holidays come around.

This will bring new customers in who may have been looking for what you’re now offering. It will also bring old customers back who perhaps became jaded with your regular products.

Combine it with a great promotion, similar to something we suggested in the previous sections of this blog, for even better results!

Author:

peter@redpeppermarketing.com

Content Marketing Manager