From Halloween costumes to Christmas jumpers - what's the importance of seasonal marketing and how can you get it right for your business?
It’s quite common for any business of any description to notice peaks and troughs in overall sales and website traffic at specific points throughout the year.
If, for example, you run a school furniture manufacturing business, you’ll most likely find that your busiest time of year is June - August, as the schools set up for the new academic year in September. Whereas, if you run an independent Farm Shop, specialising in local produce, you’ll almost certainly find that you experience increasing demand for specific items at varying times of the year.
This, like so much in the world of consumerism, comes down to seasonality; a demand for certain products or services at specific times of year. And with seasonality comes the opportunities for seasonal marketing - tapping into the special occasions, holidays, and celebrations consumers love in order to sell more.
Although something so often overlooked by businesses, seasonal marketing not only gives businesses an excuse to tap into national and international holidays & celebrations already at the forefront of consumers’ minds, but also the opportunity to get in front of new audiences that you may not otherwise encounter.
And the best bit about seasonal marketing? Consumers have come to expect it. People want gaudy jumpers they can wear around the dinner table on Christmas Day, they want Witch hats and severed eyeball style cakes on Halloween, and they want to heart shaped plushies they can give to their bae on Valentines Day. The hardest part, then, becomes giving consumers something they want, without compromising your brand…
If you’ve not yet ventured into the realms of seasonal marketing, it can be a tricky thing to get right, and something which - if executed in the wrong way - can damage your brand for years to come; alienating your customers, and haunting your business for years to come.
Whilst we all love cats and are partial to a little silliness every now and then, Walmart’s yodelling cat advert of 2011 is the perfect example of a seasonal marketing campaign attempt that went horribly wrong, whilst haunting the slumber of both children and adults everywhere.
Similarly, Nordstrom’s offensive Hanukah jumper of 2015 has not only left a bad taste in the mouth of a community of 8 million Jewish people living in the USA alone, but denting the brand’s longstanding reputation as people of faith the world over took to the business’ social media to express their distress at the ‘distasteful’ designs playing on negative and outdated Jewish stereotypes. Although, of course Nordstrom didn’t intend to offend anyone, and just wanted to create something witty and kitsch, they still managed to get it horribly wrong.
Make it relevant: there’s nothing worse than creating an unusual campaign just for the sake of standing out. Anything you use - from your messaging to your photos and videos, has to remain super relevant to both the integrity of your brand, and what your customers want from you.
Observe your competition & past trends: an integral part of any marketing campaign strategy, you must always research what your competitors are doing before you even blink in the general direction of a seasonal campaign; what are your competitors doing? What’s really worked for them in the past? What aren’t they doing that you should do?
Plan, plan, and plan some more: there’s no point launching a campaign this afternoon for an occasion tomorrow, when you’ve only just realised it’s happening this morning! It will inevitably fail. Make a plan and try to stick to it. Create and centralise your assets in advance, and schedule your social posts at regular intervals; do yourself a favour and get everything organised at least 2 weeks before the event, so you’re not tripping over yourself the day before it all kicks off!
Establish a clear goal: what do you want out of this campaign? Do you want to sell last year’s left over stock of 1000 items of swimwear in time for the summer holidays or do you simply want brand visibility (for a new audience)? Do you need to generate more enquiries for a service you run especially for the winter months or are you running a Halloween-themed event and you need to sell 200 tickets in a month? There’s no point running any kind of seasonal marketing without a goal in mind.
Offer something special: whether it’s a 20% off voucher that’s only valid for the Easter weekend or a limited edition Christmas version of your best selling t-shirt, you need to offer your customers something they won’t be able to get anywhere else, at any other time; capturing the whole essence of what it means to be ‘seasonal’. This will get people excited about your brand, and drive traffic to your website, but for a limited time only.
Seasonal marketing will inevitably drive increased traffic to your website, improve your brand visibility, and help you achieve your goals, but arguably the key to any seasonal marketing campaign lies in what you do once that campaign has finished; how do you retain and nurture the influx of new customers to turn them into returning and life-long customers?
The simple answer: capture their data and invest in some email marketing following the completion of the campaign.
Now, this doesn’t mean bombard your enthusiastic new customers with a tirade of impersonal and irrelevant emails - they’ll just end up in the trash folder! But a series of 2 or 3, really simple, follow up emails relating to what they’ve bought and what they may wish to buy could go a long way to ensuring they stick around.
Just to give you a little taste of why seasonal marketing is so important, and why you should get it right:
Did you know…?
£77.56bn was spent on Christmas in the UK in 2016
42.3% of UK Christmas spending came via smartphones & tablets (equating to £8.87bn)
The average person in the UK spends £500-700 on presents at Christmas
And that’s just one of many seasonal holidays throughout the year!
If you’d like support with preparing a seasonal marketing campaign, talk to us today.
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