As a retailer, taking advantage of big seasonal marketing events such as Christmas, Easter and even Black Friday will likely be second nature, but are you taking advantage of all the seasonal opportunities as best you can, and maximising sales during key periods?
There are so many events, awareness days and seasonal peaks throughout the year that you can leverage to boost your sales, so it’s important that you’re aware of and capitalising on these too.
What is seasonal marketing?
Seasonal marketing isn’t just about Winter and Summer, (although seasons can be an important factor to consider) but in fact relates to any trend, key date or event that is relevant to your business. Christmas, Easter, Valentine’s Day and Halloween are some of the best-known examples of seasonal marketing in practice.
Essentially, it’s about planning and adapting your marketing campaigns to tie in with current or upcoming events. Whether that means creating a piece of blog content, launching a social media campaign or announcing a product promotion – seasonal marketing is a great way to capture customers attention and make sure your brand remains at the forefront of people’s minds.
You’ll likely already be planning ahead for the big events like Christmas, but there are plenty more dates in the calendar that could help boost your profits during quieter periods.
The key, however, is preparation, and a great place to start is to create a campaign planner. There are free awareness calendars, such as this one from Awareness Days available online to help you get started.
Examples of brands that nailed seasonal marketing campaigns
1. ‘Egg’cellent marketing from Aldi
We can learn a lot from some of the big retail brands, and one of the best examples of a brand that really knows how to do seasonal marketing is supermarket giant Aldi. Aldi has a unique business model, and unlike some of its competitors who will stock a huge range of products, they focus on only stocking products they know people want or need at that time.
They offer new products on a weekly basis with limited stock available and only for short periods of time. These ‘Specialbuys’ are always planned months ahead and based on the products they know will be in demand during particular periods.
A standout example is the now-infamous egg-chair, which earlier this year sold out in a matter of minutes. Aldi timed the launch of this garden furniture just ahead of a bank holiday when many people were getting their garden’s ready for Summer and planning for BBQs or outdoor gatherings.
And the results were definitely impressive. Hats off to Aldi!
2. Starbucks spices things up
It used to be that the start of autumn was signalled by falling leaves and darker evenings, but now it’s marked by the return of the beloved Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Since the launch of their first limited edition drink, Starbucks has become synonymous with seasonal campaigns and to this day the Pumpkin Spice Latte continues to dominate headlines each year and is reported to be the best-selling drink of all time with more than 200 million sold to date.
The concept was fairly simple, but the execution of the campaign is what made it stand out from anything else. Starbucks identified their target audience and built the whole strategy around this.
They completely understood their audience and targeted them with engaging and creative content that they knew would resonate well with them, through the channels that they knew they used.
Through this, they successfully created an incredible demand for the drink, that sees customers come back year on year.
3. Christmas is coming for Coca-Cola
Possibly one of the best-known examples of seasonal marketing comes from Coca-Cola, and I’m sure you’ll already know which campaign we’re talking about. Running since 1995, Coca-Cola’s ‘Holidays are coming’ campaign has now become part of Christmas culture, and more than 20 years on it’s a campaign the brand evolves each year.
The brand is now known as being an icon of the festive season and although their product doesn’t directly link to Christmas, they’ve managed to utilise this period to increase brand awareness and build the brand identity.
Now, it just doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until the Coca-Cola advert airs on tv.
How to understand seasonality for your business
Not all retailers have the marketing budget or resources that are available to Aldi or Starbucks, but that doesn’t mean that marketing seasonally can’t work for you.
The key is understanding what it means for your business and making sure that you identify the dates that will be important for you – some will offer fantastic opportunities, while others definitely won’t.
This could be linked to a specific date or event – if you own a sporting store then the Olympics might offer opportunities. Or it might simply be a period of time when your business is likely to see a spike in traffic, for example, you’ll sell more garden furniture when the weather is nice.
To delve into this further and identify what these might be for your business, you should look at three key things:
1. Your historic data and analytics
Look at your website’s analytics and sales history over the past few years and compare year to year to identify times when you see specific peaks in traffic, search queries and sales. Google has a great checklist to help you get prepared.
2. Market trends and keyword research
By utilising free tools such as Google Trends, or Google Analytics you can easily identify periods when you might see a peak in search queries or keywords relating to specific products or trends.
3. Key competitors
Looking at events or days your competitors are, or even aren’t, taking advantage of can give you a good idea of the potential opportunities. You can even draw inspiration for your own seasonal marketing strategy.
How to make the most of seasonal spikes
Now comes the fun part. Once you’ve established the dates that are important for your business, you need to plan a stand-out campaign that can help you take advantage of these periods.
Here are some tips to help you make the most of seasonal spikes.
1. Start preparing early
You need to have a clear strategy mapped out well in advance of any seasonal campaigns to ensure you’ve got everything aligned and in place. A successful campaign isn’t just about marketing, you have to consider the logistics too.
Make sure you have planned your stock, staff and recourses carefully and have a plan B in place in case you do end up selling out of a specific product. As they say, failing to prepare, is preparing to fail.
2. Consider the full customer journey
When you’re planning a big campaign it’s easy to get carried away with the promotion and marketing, but if you’re bringing customers to your website or store then it’s vital, you’re giving them the best customer journey possible.
There’s no point in driving traffic if it doesn’t convert into sales and if a customer has a poor experience during a peak period, it could impact their perception of your brand.
A 2021 consumer trends report by KPMG, indicated that one of the key purchase drivers for consumers was the ease of buying with 40% of people agreeing, while a further 34% stated that customer experience and range were important factors in their purchasing.
So, ensuring that your website is easy to use, fast, offers competitive delivery and returns options and allows customers to use their preferred payment method are all key elements in the success of seasonal marketing.
3. Set clear objectives
Make sure you’re clear on what you want to achieve from the campaign – are you hoping to push a specific product? Do you want to reach a new customer base or simply want to increase brand awareness?
Establishing your objectives will help to shape your strategy and inform the content you create, and the channels you’ll likely utilise. Not only this, but without clear objectives in place, you’ll be unable to review and evaluate the success of specific campaigns – so ensure you’re readily able to monitor this. Setting up Google Analytics goals can help give you a view of the success of your campaign.
4. Time your campaigns carefully
Timing is one of the most critical elements of seasonal marketing. There’s no point launching a Christmas campaign on Christmas Eve, by then most people will have planned, bought and wrapped all of their Christmas shopping.
It’s always best to launch the campaign before the actual event to build buzz and get people excited, but not so early that people switch off and forget about you. Take the time to map out your timings and be prepared for things to change along the way. Your competitor analysis and market trends insights can help to shape this.
5. Keep an Eye on Past Seasonal Trends and Competition
Your campaigns don’t always have to reinvent the wheel. Sometimes it’s best to stick to what you know works well. If your past campaign was a success last year, then often there is no need to make huge changes.
However, it’s important to watch your key competitors closely and be ready to react or adapt your plan around any campaigns, promotions or products they launch. You wouldn’t want them to launch their Black Friday sale two weeks before you do, and risk your customers purchasing from them instead!
If you’re currently planning a seasonal campaign and want to make sure you can offer your customers the best payment options, then we can help you. Our interest-free credit option can integrate seamlessly with your website in a single step, enabling your customers to pay for their purchases over several months with no extra interest to worry about.
Interested? To find out how we can help you, get in touch today.