Thinking ahead about your audience’s needs is an essential part of any effective marketing strategy.
But what does that look like when your customers’ needs are constantly changing and evolving?
Especially when many of their needs are influenced by trends, traditions, and opportunities that are only available or popular during certain times of the year.
Enter: Four seasons (or seasonal) marketing.
Holiday shopping, seasonal activities, and community traditions can all create temporarily high customer volume for some products and services — and slow periods for others.
That’s why preparation is key here.
With a detailed seasonal marketing strategy, your organization can make powerful connections with your audience and gain insight into how to maximize the most crucial times of the year.
Ready to learn more?
In today’s article, we’re sharing a quick guide to four seasons marketing that you can utilize in 2022.
But first …
What is seasonal marketing?
Seasonal marketing is a promotional strategy you use to respond to changes in customer behaviors at specific times of the year.
People’s needs, motivations, and availability to access products and services fluctuate throughout the year, and it’s up to savvy marketers like you to predict and accommodate these changes.
The great thing about seasonal marketing is that it can be customized to benefit any business.
Depending on the products or services you offer, notable portions of the calendar can impact your target audience in different ways.
Weather changes, cultural customs, and seasonal trends can create advantages or disadvantages for certain types of businesses.
But knowing how to leverage seasonal marketing can help you feel prepared to make the most of each opportunity so you can continually engage with your customers in fresh and meaningful ways.
With that said, here are some seasonal marketing highlights to keep in mind:
It’s no secret that retail-heavy holidays like Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas lead to a flurry of spending and marketing activities year after year.
Putting careful thought into how your organization engages in holiday-themed marketing can help you find ways to build an important part of your brand identity.
Sometimes this means finding ways to innovate.
Major holidays are great opportunities to roll out a new product, service, or package for your customers to discover at just the right time.
Or, you might choose to connect with your audience’s sense of nostalgia by incorporating a piece of your marketing into a holiday tradition.
For example, BC Clark Jewelers in Oklahoma City established a holiday-specific jingle at Christmas time in 1956.
66 years later, the jingle is as beloved among long-time city residents as any traditional carol. Its quirky charm has been featured on national talk shows and in other media. This creates a fun, insider feeling among fans and uniquely elevates the brand’s intrinsic value.
Increasingly, dates celebrating fun habits and products or drawing attention to important social issues are popping up on the calendar.
A resource like the National Day Calendar can help you think about ways to get in on the fun or align your organization with the values for which you want it to be known. (Hint: Your values should line up with your audience’s, too.)
Something light-hearted like International Donut or Ice Cream Day can help you generate ideas for amusing promotions.
And days set aside to celebrate marginalized groups of people or to raise awareness about those in need are great opportunities to connect your brand with worthy causes your audience cares about.
Businesses that sell season-specific products and services know to expect periodic rises and falls in consumer interest. But brands like this can still work to maintain and increase their visibility at all times, especially when the seasons change.
For instance, if you deal in watersports equipment, gardening supplies, or specialized clothing and accessories, you’re probably intimately aware of how your customer’s needs change throughout the year.
Planning well in advance for peak times on the calendar and thinking outside of the box during the leaner months is crucial.
For example, if you run a tourist-based business, consider brainstorming ways to cater to locals during the off-season.
Or, if you own a fleet management company, consider using the traditionally low winter season to market electronic logging devices to keep drivers safe in winter conditions.
Or, if you usually specialize in selling winter clothing only, you might consider creating a summer, fall, and spring line, too, to cater to customers during all times of the year.
Keeping ideas fresh throughout the year is key to developing a stronger identity so you can cultivate long-term interest and sustainability.
Milestones and events
Some popular shopping events have taken on a life of their own.
That’s why it’s important to prepare for annual milestones and events like the back-to-school season and Black Friday in much the same way you’d ramp up for more traditional holidays.
Surveying your audience to get a better feel for their needs, conducting A/B testing to solidify campaigns, and crafting an irresistible value proposition can help your brand stand out from the crowd so you can make the most of these crucial times of the year.
Don’t forget to highlight meaningful promotions, sales, coupon codes, and BOGOs, too, to give your audience even more reasons to say yes.
How can seasonal marketing help my business?
Now that we’ve laid the foundation, let’s take a look at some of the top benefits of utilizing seasonal marketing.
Maintain customer loyalty
You may have already made some smart investments in the way you reach your audience. But as your customers’ needs, priorities, and demands shift over the year, your marketing strategy will need to follow suit.
Promotional material that doesn’t adapt to your customers’ changing demands can be easily forgotten.
But when you start marketing initiatives that reflect your understanding of the time of year — and, more importantly, what your customers need from you during that specific time of year — you can continue to maintain a sense of connection and loyalty with your audience.
Widen reach and expand customer base
One of the most important benefits of seasonal variations and special events is that they create new demand and opportunities to gain new followers and customer attention.
Folks shopping for holiday gifts, booking vacations, or gearing up for an impending weather event may be looking for new brands and products to explore.
This means that a well-planned and executed seasonal strategy could be the key to growth that’ll pay off all year long.
Gather data and score leads
Whether the current season is bustling or quiet for your industry, your customers are always providing valuable data. But it’s up to you to pay attention!
What can help you build a bridge between your customers and your business better than collecting data about your customers’ purchasing behavior every season (and acting on it)?
In the modern world, there are many tools for this, which can help you save time and analyze the data with more accuracy.
With the rapid changes happening in the data ecosystem, it’s now easier than ever for different teams across your company to make use of customer data. For example, using Reverse ETL, your marketing and sales teams can now access data from warehouses that were previously only accessible to analysts.
One example is HubSpot lead scoring, which ranks your leads based on how likely they are (or aren’t) to purchase your product or service.
You can use this invaluable tool to make the most of your lead generation and funnel marketing activities so you can focus on prospects that have a higher chance of converting.
With the use of Reverse ETL, your data analysts can feed lead scores directly into custom fields in various CRM platforms for your sales teams to access seamlessly.
Seasonal marketing tools
How your seasonal marketing should look and feel will depend on the nature of your business.
That’s why it’s important to carefully consider your market niche and how particular times of the year impact it.
For instance, are you expecting overwhelming product demand next spring? If so, now might be a great time to start brainstorming bundle ideas or ways to highlight companion products.
Are you expecting a dry season next summer? If so, consider brainstorming promotions and messaging that can help you connect with your audience during a typically slow period. Hint: highlighting social proof or locking arms with influencers and affiliate marketers may be the boost you need.
Regardless if it’s a “hot” or “cold” time of year for you, here are some tools and aspects of seasonal marketing you should keep in mind:
Marketing by season doesn’t always have to mean creating new materials from scratch. Sometimes, you may just need to spruce up currently successful promotional pieces with some seasonal flair.
Displaying your seasonal message may be easier and more cost-effective than you think. There are endless options of free vector graphics you can use to update your website and marketing campaigns according to the season.
In some cases, helping your customer connect what you offer to their needs for the season is what requires the most creativity.
Can your business offer peace of mind to homeowners before they book that big summer trip? Or do you provide fun alternatives to the same old boring holiday gifts? Now’s the time to let everyone know in a memorable way!
Reuse previously successful campaigns
Remember the jewelry jingle example we mentioned earlier? That’s a perfect picture of how some promotions become traditions themselves and can help nurture brand loyalty.
Piggybacking on our previous point, with the right presentation, you can reuse your slogan, mascot, or other traditions to achieve the same status.
Use an online collage maker or photo editor to recreate your most popular marketing campaigns or get your audience involved by weaving in social proof and user-generated content.
This brings us to …
If you’re like most business owners today, you may find yourself on a continual quest to build and develop your social media presence. So, why not make progress on social media and practice effective seasonal marketing at the same time?
Encouraging users to post pictures of themselves using your product or service can give them a fun way to celebrate the season, make them feel connected to your brand, and spread the word about what you have to offer.
Custom hashtags, polls, and featured testimonials are other great ways to give your customers a voice in your seasonal branded content.
Seasonal email list
There are few resources as valuable to direct promotion as a growing email list — and seasonal marketing is no exception.
Collecting email addresses via seasonal marketing campaigns can help you continue to increase your brand’s visibility and gather valuable insights into your audience.
You can use seasonal offers and promotions to build up your email list and then segment these new addresses by season and event to gauge interest. Be sure to monitor traffic for your various seasonal promotions and customize the messaging for each one.
Email campaigns are also great opportunities to feature blog posts and other offers you’re highlighting across your marketing channels. To save time, consider using a blog generator so you can speed up the content creation process and publish new articles on your blog consistently.
Then, look for meaningful ways to feature articles in your email campaigns.
Don’t forget to add opt-in buttons throughout your blog posts, too, so readers can sign up for your email list while they’re reading. Win-win!
Seasonal product selection
Anticipate which products will be most in demand during a particular season and make them easy for your customer to find and buy.
Curating a single page of seasonal products or creating a complete guide to preparing for a major date on the calendar can help simplify the shopping experience.
Consider last year’s best sellers and this year’s trends when deciding what to include here. This is also the ideal place to promote special discounts, sales, and membership offers.
Games and contests
Get in on the fun of the season or inject some fun into one that’s usually not! Remember, customers appreciate messaging that isn’t always entirely sales-related (bonus points for humorous content, too).
Photo and caption contests, giveaways, polls, and challenges are great ways to engage with your audience and create positive vibes around your brand.
Contests that involve tagging friends or sharing your material are also great ways to spread the word about an offer quickly.
With these tips in mind, your organization can start preparing to step confidently into any season.
The tools and ideas we’ve shared today can help keep your brand front and center in the minds of your audience during the most important times of the year.
So, start examining your current marketing strategy and ask yourself:
- How can I reach my existing customers in ways that address their needs right now?
- What opportunities does this season offer for expanding my audience?
- What can I learn about how my customers are engaging with my campaigns this season?
- What are some new ways I can make seasonal connections with anyone who follows my brand?
The good news?
You’ll never regret taking the time to cater to your audience’s needs as they fluctuate, event by event, season by season, and holiday by holiday.
Are you ready to make the most of four seasons marketing?
We hope the tips we’ve shared today have given you the confidence you need to take the first step toward effective seasonal marketing.
To your success!