To Every Marketing Plan, There is a Season

Look closely at your calendar. Your November and December work months seem shorter. Yourat-work hours lately are fewer. You have a couple of vacation days remaining that you are combining with holidays to give you more extended time away before the close of 2011.

As a CMO, you know you haven’t been, nor will you likely be, as accessible for advertisers to reach you with relevant content and messaging during this time of the year. So how should you approach reaching and connecting with your own customers and prime prospects during this same time frame?

It is essential to understand not only the seasonality behind your product and services, but also how available, receptive and engaged your customers will be to hearing from you. Giving proper consideration to seasons of work and play doesn’t apply to just those within a retail holiday consumer environment but also to marketers in all types of businesses. Developing a specific understanding of seasonality within your own industry can help you fine-tune your own advertising efforts.

Online advertising can often be the ideal communication contact for seasonal messaging as the results are practically instantaneous with timely and adaptable messaging.

The Internet Activity Index (IAI) at the Online Publishers Association site has historically monitored category shifts in traffic month to month. It is no surprise that past insight reveals overall Internet traffic to content sites in November and December see declines, whereas traffic involving e-commerce enjoy increases.   Content site declines during these months; however, decreased Internet traffic is not a given and can certainly vary by industry.

Once you’ve determined through historical efforts or online testing when you have higher peak times of interest, you can subsequently be more strategic as to when to allocate a large portion of your budget during times of higher demand.

Your off-season periods can have value as well. Whether these are holiday or summer vacation time frames, these flights can be a great opportunity to examine business challenges from your customers’ perspective and determine how you might help them meet their own end-of-year business goals. These times enable you to secure input from current and prospective customers via surveys, polls or other ways to gather data for future messaging.

Engaging with your key audiences during off-season periods can provide them with time to think more advantageously about their needs and how your products and services can help deliver their desired results. Developing this understanding can also help you look at your 2012 calendars in new and efficient ways.


by Tom Ferry
Media Director

Cross posted at Ignite Something on the Forbes CMO Network