We can safely say that seasonal changes are a huge factor to consider when strategising for the year, however, the last 18 months have seen external factors significantly alter consumer behaviour and almost overpower these big promotional periods.
Now that the biggest change of all has happened with lockdown lifting in the UK, it’s time to bring our minds back to the big seasonal shifts, and how we prepare for those throughout the year!
Content Calendars Are Your New Best Friend
The first big promotional shift that comes to mind is of course Q4, with Black Friday, Christmas, and all activity in between. However, it’s also very important to remember the other 9 months of the year where we have Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and Summer where, unless you’re a paddling pool vendor, can actually be a tricky time to trade.
This is where a content calendar comes in handy. Having a structure or framework where you can visualise the entire year, pinpoint the top trading months, and begin to consider the following:
How long do your promotions tend to last? Could you spend more time building brand awareness and site traffic before any big business moments? Or have your promotional teasers start a little too early in the past and cause fatigue before the period ends?
For example, Black Friday and Cyber Week tend to be the same sale disguised under a different cloak. It could be worth taking a step back to assess whether this long duration of sale is effective or if it’s worth combining both sales under one name and shortening the duration to prevent sale fatigue during this promotion-heavy period.
We have found that finding the right balance between testing new audiences and leveraging top performers is the key to a successful promotional season.
Here are a few considerations when preparing your targeting:
Do you have any particular seasonal shoppers? Grouping them together in a custom audience from your CRM can unlock a myriad of opportunities. Create lookalikes, further segment with pixel data to assess the level of intention (e.g. are certain people visiting the site more than once a month), and customise ad messaging accordingly.
Have you tested seasonal demographic targeting through Facebook Interests? We have found gifting, sporting events, seasons have worked significantly well during peak seasons.
Make yourself a content cushion!
In marketing, there are very few actions (if any) we carry out in a campaign that we don’t aim to gather data and learnings out of. This is why applying previous successful messaging, targeting, or creative is not the end of the world if you come into operational hurdles at your busiest trading times.
It’s great to be innovative and creative and introduce a fresh set of new assets and catchy ad copy, however, we do see that, even if something looks like a winning ad brief, it just might not land.
So having a bank of historical top-performing content will enable you to confidently push your planned creative, whilst knowing that you have a robust contingency plan should a spanner get thrown in the works (which tends to happen when you least expect it!).
So, now that we are really in the thick of our big preparations, not just for Christmas but for 2022, it’s time to put these steps into action! Whether it be a fancy excel sheet, or a big whiteboard, mapping out these somewhat obvious considerations can save you a whole lot of time and last-minute stress when the big events creep around the corner.