The lowdown on when and how to plan a seasonal marketing campaign that will deliver results for your brand.
Seasonal marketing campaigns are not just about Christmas because, as you will see from this whistle-stop 5-step course, there is so much more choice when it comes to hopping on the seasonal campaign bandwagon…
Step 1 – Identify the right seasonal opportunity for your brand
Before running and hitting every major commercial opportunity in the calendar, start with one seasonal opportunity. Identify one (or two) that sit most comfortably with your brand and one that people would expect to see from your business.
This isn’t a case of sticking a pin in the calendar, however, or pulling names out of a hat. You need to identify the right seasonal campaign opportunity by;
- Understanding what your customer demographic would be interested in – would be a love story at Valentine’s day or ghoulish tricks at Hallowe’en?
- Do your research to understand how much of an opportunity your chosen time of year would provide.
Top tip – start small so that you get to understand the process and the impact it will have on your business, your resources and people.
Step 2 – Your message
Now you have nailed down the opportunity, you need to start forming your campaign message.
Again, research is a valuable tool. Why not look at other brands to see what they have done? They don’t have to be competitors or even related to what you do and sometimes, this is better because you can see;
- The journey they took the customer on and the story they told
- The emotions they provoked in people
- The call to actions they used and why you think all of this was successful or not.
A great campaign to study is MegaRed’s Valentine campaign from 2013.
Step 3 – Schedule, schedule, schedule
Step two can take some time with plenty of ‘back and forth’ between what looks right, what read right and so on. Thus, start your seasonal campaign well before you want to hit the launch button.
And give yourself more time than you think. For example, as soon as their Christmas campaign is finished, high street names such as Marks & Spencer will begin planning their next festive season immediately, with the campaign ready and waiting for launch by the end of the summer.
Thus, you need to schedule. And by this, we mean planning down to the last detail.
It will be a vast spreadsheet of dates, listing who is doing what and when. What tweets are being sent, who is scheduling and loading those for posting, the same for all other social media channels? All of this scheduling can be quite intimidating for many small businesses. Who has time for this? Rather, you will need some kind of calendar. Rather than keeping dozens of different spreadsheets for each different campaign on your desktop, working with some kind of content calendar is going to be very useful here.
For offline marketing, it will be the deadline dates for signing off the final designs at the online design and print agency, the date they need to be sent to couriers and so on.
It will list who is commission the writing of press releases, when they are being sent out and who is following them up.
It is the dealing for promo shots and more.
And it will act as the running sheet for your campaign too.
Step 4 – Getting uber-organised
With everything scheduled, it is easy to assume that it is a case of pressing the ‘go’ button and everything runs according to the plan.
But a seasonal campaign places additional stress on a company, especially when it starts to yield results.
This could be hundreds of comments and questions being posted on your social media platforms and they all need acknowledging, responding to and actioning.
And then there are orders to fill, press interviews to do, emails to respond to, the phone to answer.
Key to be uber-organised for a seasonal campaign is to organise your assets, including people, in the weeks leading up to the campaign. And that means opening the lines of communication, so everyone knows that is happening and when.
Step 5 – Remain agile
You’ve pressed send, you started to tweet, and the campaign is considered underway.
Know you need to manage the campaign and that means remaining agile, a posh phrase for ‘not dropping the ball’.
As part of the planning process, you should success metrics, the key statistics and information that will give you an overall view of how well your campaign is going (or not). There may also be small changes and adaptations that need to be made along the way.
However, with time, a smattering of resources and monitoring, any seasonal campaign has the ingredients for success.
Are seasonal campaigns something you have done? Were they a success? If you haven’t tried this type of campaign, would you give it a go now you understand the process?
Colour Graphics is an online print and design agency with two decades of know-how in being part of seasonal marketing campaigns.