Thursday, March 29, 2012

Tips to Prepare for Seasonal Marketing & Advertising in Nigeria

As Easter is around the corner, I thought I should give a few tips on how to prepare for seasonal marketing and make the most of it. When you think of seasonal marketing the first ideas that probably pop into your mind are typical holidays like Valentine, Easter, Eid-el-Fitri, Sallah, Christmas and the other holidays on the calendar, but seasonal marketing is more than that. True, seasons for your business could be all the above-mentioned, yet it could also be various causes important to you e.g helping AIDS patients, Cancer patients etc. or your business cycle anniversary i.e the period your business started, let’s say your company or organisation’s birthday. Examples of brands that run ‘birthday’ promos are: Globacom, Mr Biggs, First Bank, Skye Bank, etc.

Now that we’re looking at one of the calendar seasonal holidays: Easter, let me run you through some tips that will help you maximise sales for this season and subsequent ones.

• Pulling off successful holiday promotions can be a daunting task without proper planning, yet with enough preparation you can develop a relationship with your customers well before the season, nurture that relationship during the holiday, and maintain contact with your audience long after the sales season is over. But waiting until the last minute to start your seasonality marketing is the most common mistake we run into. At a bare minimum you should be thinking 3 months out for your marketing efforts, why? Once your faster season (in this case festive seasons or your best-selling seasons) it will take you 3 months to fill it back up for your slow season. Start by writing down a date that it usually starts to get slow 3 months before. On that date start the execution of your marketing plan for the slow season and follow it. This will ensure that you won’t be caught without enough work during your slow season.

• Begin by creating a marketing calendar for the next 12 months. Write down major holidays like Valentine's Day, Easter, Eid-el Kabir, Christmas and seasonal lifestyle events like back-to-school and football season. Use this template to gather ideas that best fit your industry and business. Be like Coca-Cola, fit your business into every season. Coca-Cola runs promotions in all of the aforementioned seasons and even create more seasons for themselves! Guinness Nigeria runs its biggest promos during football seasons, and Bournvita for Back-to School and Sallah promos.

• Once you've keyed in on the seasonal promotions that make sense for your business and fit your budget, the real planning begins. Who do you want to reach? Current customers? New customers? Both? Determine the best way to reach the intended audience, including email blasts, business cards, publicity, advertising and in-store signage. The marketing mix is important, especially for small businesses, so do your research on how long design and printing will take, how you'll acquire mailing lists, and all the costs involved therein.

• Although the big holidays like Christmas and New Year will be part of your seasonal marketing strategy, try to find at least one less-hyped holiday around which to create a campaign. Doing this effectively will make your business stand out and give you more patronage for your marketing expenses. For example, a company like May & Baker can host a May & Baker raffle day, in which the winner gets a row or carton of Mimee Noodles and other free Prizes for a period of time. These types of promotions are also a great way to increase your direct and email lists, as long as entrants know how their information will be used.

• Give discounted promotions, Buy-One-Get-One-Free offers or let the old stock go in the seasons you choose for your clearance sales, just so your customers can feel special and appreciated, but please be sure to run these promos when you can afford to, so that you don’t run yourself into debt.

• Your messaging can not stay the same for every season. Change your messaging to reflect not only the seasonality but urgency as well. For example use buzz words like “Christmas Savings”, “Summer Specials”, “Valentine Promos”, “Easter Bonuses” etc.

• If your business has various prospective sales seasons throughout the year, try to separate and establish an effective promotional and marketing campaign that you can run with it throughout the year with variations to fit the different busy seasons. But bear in mind that during your nonpeak season, unless you are closed, you should endeavour to keep your brand in front of your target audience. Save money by having fewer advertisements and less promotional activity, but continue to promote brand recognition so that you will draw instant attention to the seasonal marketing plan once you launch it.

A seasonal marketing strategy is an effective way to create memorable campaigns and increase publicity and word-of-mouth referrals. It takes time to develop successful seasonal marketing campaigns, but once in place, they can be repeated and will become events your customers look forward to and appreciate. Brainstorm ideas that link your business to a holiday or season, plan the campaign, and have fun putting it together. And if you still need help after all of these suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact us at PoiseMedia Communications Ltd, our contact is at the lower end of this page…good luck with your seasonal marketing campaign!

Written by:
Adekoya Oluwatomisin,
Business Development Manager,
PoiseMedia Communications Ltd.

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