Seasonal marketing requires a different set of skills and a focused approach to ensure the best and most effective results. Here are four proven methods for corporate planning and marketing for industries with seasonal products.
1. Creating the Annual Marketing Calendar
The same marketing strategies that work for normal retail enterprises must be tweaked to suit the needs of seasonal brands and products. At Wine Country Gift Baskets, we divide the marketing year into two basic segments:
- The first three quarters of the year constitute a single segment in terms of advertising and marketing activities. Our company remains active in promoting our products for businesses and individuals and on social media.
- The fourth quarter of the year is when we do most of our business and perform most of our marketing. This constitutes the most profitable and productive time of the year for our company. As a result, we spend the bulk of our marketing budget during this three-month period.
This way of dividing up the calendar allows us to make the most effective use of our available funds and ensures that we reach customers in the frame of mind to buy our gift baskets. Creating a two-tiered strategy for scheduling our marketing efforts helps our company to focus our spending to achieve the largest return on our advertising investment.
2. Taking the Right Approach to Corporate Planning
Although seasonal products enjoy peak sales during a specific period of the year, building a marketing strategy and an overall plan for our business operations is a continual process.
Our team typically begins outlining the strategy for the upcoming year in January after the sales figures arrive for the fourth quarter of the previous year. This allows us to build on our successes and to correct any mistakes that may have cost us sales.
We schedule meetings with vendors throughout the spring and summer months to streamline our supply chain and to set up the right arrangements for the rest of the year.
Our marketing team also creates a catalog in August showcasing our most popular items for distribution to our clients during the fourth quarter of the year. This allows us to reach customers at the precise moment when they are planning their corporate gift-giving strategies and holiday budgets.
During the fourth quarter, we shift our focus from print marketing to social media and digital campaigns. This allows us to continue to reach consumers and businesses right up to the last minute and to boost overall sales of our seasonal products during this critical time of the year.
We may also hire additional customer service representatives to reduce wait times for those in need of added guidance and support when purchasing from us during the holiday season.
3. Extending Your Reach and Customer Base Throughout the Year
While our most profitable time for sales is during the months of October, November and December, our company also engages in targeted marketing for Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
These and other holidays are good opportunities to make contact with potential customers and to get our foot in the door, so to speak, with companies looking for the perfect gift for their clients and others on their gift list.
Making sure that you stay in touch with your customers through emails and printed materials can improve your name recognition. This can boost your branding efforts and can make it easier to build a solid reputation for quality within your industry.
Online communications, including using social media, can also perform some of the heavy liftings in maintaining contact with your target audience.
4. Establishing a Presence on Social Media
Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites offer the chance to communicate directly with current and potential customers. The impact of positive feedback on these websites should never be underestimated.
On our Facebook page, for example, we feature a video explaining the benefits of choosing our gift baskets when picking out a present for a loved one, friend or business associate.
We also answer frequently asked questions, provide information on current offers and link to our Instagram and Twitter feeds.
One of the most important advantages of our presence on social media is the ability to respond directly to customers regarding issues with their orders, compliments and complaints.
By responding promptly and appropriately on social media to comments made by our customers, we have been able to enhance our corporate reputation for customer service and quality products. This has led to increased orders during every season of the year and has ensured greater profitability for our business throughout the holidays.
As the director of circulation and internet marketing for a major seasonal brand, I am responsible for SEO and PPC strategies as well as designing and mailing out our corporate catalogs.
In the 15 years I have spent with the company, we have transformed our marketing methods to adapt to the increasing role of social media and online sales.
By being willing to change your strategies in response to changes in the consumer marketplace, your company can also enjoy greater success in the seasonal brand and product industry.
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