Tis the Marketing Season

It’s always the Season for Shopping. That was a good one from the Wall Street Journal, and it’s true: retailers have carved up the year into approximately 13 to 349 buying seasons.

Basically you and your MasterCard get Tax Day and Groundhog Day off from the retailing mania.

Christmas decorations before Halloween?! 

Seriously, that’s bullshit and really annoys me when I hit the stores; see also, playing the music of holiday cheer NON STOP before Thanksgiving. Not to mention as a small business or retailer, you could be leaving money on the table by thinking too far ahead.

Look at your marketing schedule and the promotional calendars to come up with your e-commerce strategies and do what fits you best.

If you sell outdoor living, have fun with Arbor day. For one client, I’ve done tie ins to other events like Super Bowl or Oscar watch. For another, it’s showing how their product is not just a summer item but has year-around uses.

More importantly, think hard about your products, your customers, your business.

Think beyond the holidays.

What can you do ‘THIS’ time that’s different from ‘THAT’ time?

That’s the question to answer as you decide what promotions to run for back-to-school or Christmas or Spring Break. Or forget the usual suspects, create your own seasons.

Your PR is built around relationships with stakeholders and target audiences; what’s beneficial to them is helpful to you. Don’t wait until your customers have a question or problem, reach out and solve it now. Fire up the old CRM goodwill generators and get some value out there.

  • If it’s the slow season, offer quicker turnaround at no extra charge.
  • If it’s a busy time of year, give a “patience esta une virtue” discount for those willing to wait.
  • If you’re going after the B2B crowd, think of their spending schedules, look at the fiscal year and when budgets may be most flexible. When are your customers’ customers most demanding? That’s when you can step up, offer more support when they need it most.

And if you’ve waited this long, don’t jump on the first Johnny-come-Groupon that knocks on your email. Look at what you want now, what you can do later, and remember, the next ‘holiday’ season starts tom… -er, now.

Thoughts on holiday marketing, besides the crass commercialization of it all?

Photo credit: Funny comic by Pittsburgh Tribune Review cartoonist Randy Bish.

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6 thoughts on “Tis the Marketing Season

  1. Hi Davina,

    I used to spend way too much money on Christmas gifts for my clients. I appreciate them of course, but I don’t think my gift mattered when they were receiving something from every other vendor they worked with.

    I remember one year buying everyone Godiva chocolates. With many clients that purchase was a small fortune … the stuff isn’t cheap. I sent a very large box to one client via courier and they reported back that the big box of chocolates become one giant brown blob 🙂 I guess the messenger had the box right by his heater vent for the trip.

    Our Lowes had Christmas decorations up the very end of September I believe. If not, it was pretty close and well, pretty ridiculous.
    Craig McBreen recently posted..So what’s stopping you, late bloomer?

    1. My thing with client gifts Craig, they need to fit the client yet also serve as a reminder of your business. Tough line to walk, for sure. Think I’ve bought media placements, had them framed. Food and wine gifts are nice, for those clients who appreciate it. You’re right the simple gesture can turn expensive quickly.

      September is too soon, right after school starts. There are too many buying seasons, to the point I joke that it’s a day off work any time there are ‘holiday’ sales.. Which is all the time. It’s why I think SMBs need to think of their seasonal marketing, consider if the usual tactics serve them best. FWIW.

  2. There’s a cause many businesses ought to be planning to jump on now that will last well into next year and that’s the troops coming home. The country needs to be thinking about how to help acclimate these men and women back into society and to help the families who need resources.

    If a business own is smart they will think now how to develop a program around this important national situation.
    Jayme Soulati recently posted..Thinking About Creativity

    1. This! Forget the typical, the expected, the routine and go with something else. Takes guts to have vision, to see opportunities down the road.. and then ACT on them. Good idea Jayme, here’s hoping business owners pay attention.

  3. Being in outside sales, the ‘norm’ is to get something for your customers at Christmas time. More times than not it is one of many and not really appreciated. We have gone to doing things after the 1st of the yr in Jan or Feb that seem more impactful.

    I loathe the Christmas stuff coming out before Thanksgiving.

    Geaux Tigers; looks like you will have to play Bama again.
    Bill Dorman recently posted..3 totally awesome names in social

    1. I’ve had businesses skip the Christmas cards and instead do either a ‘Thanksgiving for your business card/gift’ and/or a ‘looking forward to rewarding New Year’ – something that’ll stand out and make more impact. Very true Bill, very true.

      And yeah, Game of the Century Part II. 🙂

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