So, the summer solstice has been and gone. What better reminder is there of the cycle of life than this annual event, the longest day? The blink of an eye and it’ll be the shortest day again.
In the UK, we are lucky enough to live a life of seasons. The changing landscape and weather are a constant reminder of the passing of time, and creatures of habit that we are, we allow the weather and time of year to dictate our activities.
Taking seasonality into account is a vital step for your marketing planning.
And, it’s subtler than you might think.
Obviously if you are selling ice-creams or bikinis, it’s going to be boomtime from late spring to early autumn, and you are going to want to clear out your stock before the weather turns.
But, other types of businesses have to take seasonal growth and decline into account too, and your busy season might be driven by something besides the weather.
Is your business affected by the end of the tax year? If you are selling financial planning, and you know that people want to invest in ISAs before the end of March, plan to start reminding them that they need your help in January.
Or, could it be the school terms that are driving business? As a hairdresser, shoe retailer, dress stockist, dentist, limousine rental firm or beauty therapist (etc), the end of term prom is going to be big business. You’ll need to be advertising and booking customers in as early as April, so you want to start planning that in January.
Is there an event that will affect where and when you need to be doing your marketing? If you are a personal trainer and there’s a local marathon coming up, could you set up your programmes so that they start in enough time to allow the perfect amount of training time?
The seasonal effect can be super subtle. For example, I know that business owners like to create a new plan to be ready to go for the beginning of January, so that they can hit the ground running. This means that I need to be reminding my prospects that I can help with this around October (look out for that!)
Or it might be only too evident – a friend of mine runs a lawnmower sales and repair shop. Without fail they are deluged with lawnmowers that need service and repair in April and May. It’s a struggle to get all the work done, even using temporary staff at that time of year.
I’ve suggested that perhaps they could use marketing techniques, such as a discount and an advertising campaign, to incentivise people to get organised and bring their mower in to be fixed or service during the winter months. That way they’d avoid the overwhelm that happens in late spring, and keep revenue going through the leaner months.
How does it work in your business? Is there a busy time of year? What can you do in advance to get ready for this, allocate resources and profit from it?
Take five minutes to think about this – and make sure you’ve covered it in your marketing plan.