Summer is all but upon us, bringing sunny, warm weather, barbecue, and beach vacations. This might mean you don’t think you need to bother with summer marketing. Maybe it’s because you’ll see plenty of traffic and don’t need the extra exposure, or maybe it’s because you’re a winter-focused business that you think no one wants to hear about in summer. However, either way, you may want to rethink. In today’s post, we’ll take a brief look at summer’s impact and ways that marketing in the off season or peak season can still have an impact.
Problem: People Are Outside More.
If you don’t have a marketing strategy for summer, that means you’re relying on the same tactics you use through winter, but the warmer season means customer behavior is changing. The ways you can reach the customer will probably change because when you counted on reaching them, say, via television, they may be out in the pool or out seeing a movie instead. Inevitably, that means you’re wasting marketing dollars, because the drop in audience will directly result in a drop in ROI.
How to solve for this:
Do the market research to understand where your audience is during the summer and use this to make choices in which channels to use and what budget to allocate to each. For instance, in our example above, instead of advertising on TV, you could put new emphasis on radio advertising — research shows radio use doesn’t fluctuate by season — or add cinema advertising or billboard advertising near movie theaters to your media mix. Leverage other channels that are accessible and impactful year-round, including content marketing via your blog or digital ads. If it’s your peak season, this will help grow your leads and sales. If it’s your off season, it will build awareness for your brand that prepares the audience for when they do need you.
Problem: People Don’t Have as much of a Routine.
Your marketing strategy should be built on targeting customers not only where they are, but when they’re influenced by those channels. So when their behavior changes — such as being outside more, at work or school less, etc. — even the channels that will reach them might be used completely differently. For instance, if you’ve invested in a billboard right next to your local high school, you may want to rest that billboard during the summer months when traffic will be down.
How to solve for this:
Take deep looks into audience behavior when you do your market research, and look for changes in how they access the channels that they use consistently year round. This can improve targeting and segmentation, which can improve personalization, lift impact, and keep your brand front-of-mind, whether you’re focused on TOFU awareness or BOFU conversions. Furthermore, you can break away from your own brand routine; try partnering with a charity or sponsoring an event to build positive brand perception (and even reviews), increase discovery, and establish offers to be used now (if peak season) or later (if off season).
Whether summer is your peak season or your off season, you need a consistent marketing plan. Here’s a few reasons why:
- Stay top-of-mind. This is important during the off season because it maintains awareness and helps you become a top choice when fall and winter roll around. For summer-as-peak season businesses, this puts brand awareness and action campaigns much closer to the customer’s decision.
- Stay active. Whether it’s peak or off season, if you’re marketing, that means customers know your brand hasn’t closed. They may not be actively looking for you, but if they haven’t been hearing from you, they may pick the business they know is operational.
- Stay competitive. If you aren’t advertising, but your competitors are, they could easily steal your share of the market because they’ve built a stronger relationship and actively shared offers.
Here are some more tips for maintaining your marketing position:
- Grow your database during the peak season to establish a segment of customers that care about your business and want you to keep in touch. This should be easier during the peak season since you’ve already got a lot of traffic. Once the off season rolls around, you can use these audience segments to maintain presence and influence.
- Don’t be afraid to leverage content during your off season, and don’t be afraid to get creative. Give the content an off-season twist to provide extra value.
- Digital, social, and radio are channels that are active all year long. Build a strong connection through these channels so that your audience can find you consistently when they want you.
- Find ways to differentiate yourself from your competitors and nail that message home with your awareness campaigns. Whether it’s peak season or off season, it will help your brand stand out.
- Refresh your marketing in the off season, especially when it comes to website design or marketing creative. The lull is the perfect time to redevelop these aspects of your outreach without impinging on peak-season customer relationships.
Whether you’re marketing in the off season or leveraging the peak of season to your advantage, your summer marketing plan can ensure that this year’s season won’t negatively impact your season at the bottom line. While we pointed out three reasons it could happen, we’ve highlighted some major ways to prevent it. It’s time to review your summer marketing strategy and realign the plan where necessary.