Seasonal selling can give your marketing and merchandising programs a “bandwagon” effect that can significantly boost sales if executed correctly. Pull out a calendar and use it as a guide to plan your marketing activities and take advantage of the various selling seasons that are coming our way.
The seasons we’re talking about are not the traditional ones of summer, fall, winter, and spring, although in some businesses, they may take precedence. We are focusing here on the selling seasons that are defined by three-day bank holiday weekends. In the US, bank holidays are usually on Mondays, resulting in extended weekends. Other celebrated days like St Patrick’s Day, Passover, the World Series, Halloween, and Hanukkah are equally significant even though they may land mid-week.
There are at least 8 identifiable seasonal selling periods throughout the year. Last time we examined the Martin Luther King, Valentine’s, and Easter selling seasons. Here are some more, so start making plans.
Memorial Day. Easter comes on March 31st this year (which is “early”) and Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May, making this selling period a full two months long. Consider how your product or service fits into spring and summer activities. Don’t forget, Earth Day and Mother’s Day also fall within this period.
Fourth of July. This next holiday is a little over a month later. June is the bulk of this selling season and is also a big wedding, graduation, and vacation month. Summer Solstice and Father’s Day also fall within this short period, and offer many opportunities for holiday and warm weather theme-based marketing.
Labor Day. With most of July and all of August in this extended selling period, it is an excellent time to promote any outdoor, travel, BBQ, entertainment , or water-related products or services. Labor Day is also considered the end of summer break and many folks make plans to enjoy their final days before returning to school. With cooler weather on the way, it’s also the last major outdoor, BBQ, and water-oriented recreational weekend for most of the country.
Thanksgiving. This is the longest of the selling seasons, and includes Halloween, Election Day, and Veterans Day. Many folks turn this holiday into a 4-day weekend using the time for family get-togethers, food, entertainment, travel, and cooler weather activities. Use harvest-themed promotions with fall colors in your displays and on your website.
Christmas and New Year’s. This is also a relatively short selling season so many businesses try to combine it with Thanksgiving and consider the entire period “the Holidays.” Most shopping and travel occur at this time of the year. The Christmas Holiday in conjunction with New Year’s, Hanukkah, and Kwanza have many of your customers taking the entire period off. This is the culmination of the year and the OND (October, November, December) macro-selling period.
If you produce products or services, or are in retail, these seasonal selling periods are perfect opportunities to provide customers with specific holiday trade dress, including point of purchase materials, and other marketing materials that make your offerings part of the special holiday. But more importantly, buyers love the anticipation of enjoying time off, family, and recreation. The three day weekends give a natural cadence to the year and provide a framework that already exists for your marketing calendar. Happy New Year!
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Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
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