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Anatomy of a Successful Seasonal Marketing Campaign

Seasonal events and celebrations provide opportunities for businesses. For many brands, these seasonal opportunities are crucial and can majorly impact their financial success – in fact some businesses rely heavily on seasonal advertising campaigns for their entire fiscal year.

However, planning a successful seasonal campaign can seem daunting. Not only does it take a lot of organization, but it can also be extremely time-consuming, and for many smaller brands, this often means shying away from seasonal opportunities.

With a few tips and looking at how credible brands both big and small handle seasonal marketing, you too can start planning your own successful seasonal marketing campaigns.

What Is Seasonal Marketing?

Seasonal marketing takes into account annual events throughout the year, and can be broken down into three categories of events:

Official Holidays
These are the most commonly celebrated holidays such as Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Hallowe’en etc.

Unofficial Holidays
Unofficial holidays are not widely recognized or celebrated by all, but they bring awareness to events/celebrations that concern a lot of people. For example: Black Friday and International Women’s Day.

Cultural Events
These are annual events that generally happen around the same time each year such as Back-To-School, Spring Break and Summer Vacation. They are not necessarily marked by one day but cover a longer period, extending from weeks to sometimes months.

It’s important to know your audience and their demographics so you know what events/holidays will appeal to them. For example: if your target audience is mainly parents with children, you will want to target cultural events such as back-to-school. If your audience is adults without children, back-to-school celebrations may not appeal to them in the same way – choose the events that you want to align with your brand and your audience.

Is Seasonal Marketing Right For Your Brand?

Seasonal marketing is a great way to target your audience at the times of the year when they may be more likely to make an impulse decision or purchase. Every company, whether big or small, should start seasonal ads for their customers.

So if you want to participate in seasonal marketing and are not sure where to get started, here’s what you need to consider.

Planning: The first step is to create a marketing calendar so you can plot out all of the important holidays/events for the upcoming year and slot them into your schedule. There are lots of online sites and tools to help you get started, like the website awarenessdays.com.

Timing: Once you have your calendar laid out, you should take a look at your performances based on last year’s data – when did you release seasonal information last year – did you get the traffic you wanted? For instance, if Black Friday is coming up, how far in advance did people start searching for Black Friday deals? It’s crucial to understand your audience and their behaviors at all stages in the purchasing journey in order to create successful seasonal marketing campaigns. You can find out this information by using SEO tools like Ahrefs to look at general searches for certain terms at key times in the year.

Distribution Channels: When considering your seasonal marketing campaign, you will want to think about the different distribution channels available to you, and how useful each one is to helping you achieve your goals. This depends on your budget, your audience, and what makes the most sense for your brand. If your aim is to earn customers in large urban centers, your budget is large and your brand is visual, you may want to post large billboards and signage around different cities. However, if your aim is to engage with as many current customers and fans as possible, encouraging them to make their first, or second purchase, and your budget is moderate, you may opt to distribute through email, social media and visual or written content. The important point is taking the time to design which route you want to take, based off of your goals and resources.

Successful Seasonal Marketing Campaigns

So what do successful seasonal marketing campaigns look like? There are a few different approaches you can take to seasonal marketing. Consider the following when creating your marketing campaigns.

Content to Inform

Your marketing approach can be slightly subtle in nature. Providing informative content is a great way to inspire audiences to find new or innovative ways to use your product. This is a great strategy that is not pushy or salesy, but so useful, it almost feels like a gift to your target customer.

Example: See how Reynolds Wrap Aluminum Foil created a holiday campaign surrounding the use of a foil tent to cook the perfect turkey. They found the perfect way to incorporate their brand into the season without seeming too pushy in their sales tactic, but so useful it feels like a gift to their target customer.

Seasonal Social Media Posts & Ads

Starbucks is a company that does a great job at marketing during special times throughout the year. Think about it – they are working with food and drink items and manage to adapt them to any situation. Take a look at how Starbucks in Indonesia created a seasonal marketing campaign for Breast Cancer Awareness month, which they then shared on their social media channels.

Photo Contests

Another route that Starbucks takes to get their current and potential customers to engage with their seasonal marketing is to encourage their audience to participate. For instance, they may ask audiences to use Starbucks products or marketing materials in unique ways – and entice fans to create ‘user-generated’ content. Not only does this take off on social media, it also tends to go far and wide by word-of-mouth. In one of their seasonal holiday campaigns, Starbucks asks their customers to design their own red cups and share them on social media using a specific hashtag.

This type of seasonal marketing is affordable. Essentially, your customers and potential customers are doing the work for you. You just have to get them to participate by creating engaging posts and hashtags that are easy to remember.

Best of Content

‘Best of’ content is a round-up of a brand’s best products for the year. However, if your brand is not selling a tangible product, there are still creative ‘best of’ ideas that you can leverage, such as best user-comment on one of your social channels. You can also showcase what you or your customers have achieved over the past year with your products and services, or even by leveraging your corporate values. A ‘best of’ campaign can also simply be a curated list of some of the most popular things your brand has to offer.

Here is an example of Etsy’s curated list for the holidays – it is a curated list of gifts for pet lovers:

360° Content

360° is a video or image that allows you to see all angles. For example: if the video you are watching takes place by the seaside, you would be able to see all angles of the scene, from the water below (by dragging your cursor down), to the sky above and even what is behind you. This type of content can serve the purpose of drawing more attention to your brand (you may even be able to sneak in some ads, like how Discovery Channel does at the beginning of the video below). This content is created to raise awareness for a special event specific to Discovery Channel – Shark Week.

Think of all the different ways you could use 360° content to put out a message to your viewers. If you are a hardware store for instance, you could also use this type of marketing to show your viewers how to build something unique based on materials available at your store – the possibilities are endless and adaptable for your brand.

Seasonal Marketing Can Offer Your Brand a New Way to Stand Out

In order for your seasonal marketing campaigns to be effective and stand out, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. You can take some of the methods above and tailor them to suit your brand’s vision and end goals.

You just have to make sure that you are staying true to your brand, while thinking outside of the box and finding new and innovative ways to showcase your brand to the world.

What are some of the best seasonal campaigns you’ve seen or created? Share with us in the comments.

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  • Avatar for Digital Marketing
    Digital Marketing
    December 10, 2018, 12:29 am

    Hey Chantelle, it is an informative article about seasonal marketing. As holiday season driving nearer it is important to plan strategies to aim audiences for our products. As seasonal marketing is done according to events of year,I strategies are to be planned in same way. It will help to get more profits for our business. I am obliged for this article, it is great help be ready for every seasonal marketing.

  • Avatar for willam
    May 9, 2019, 3:18 am

    thanks for great marketing tips