If you have been in business more than three minutes you will have no doubt heard, or been told, by just about every marketing and advertising ‘expert’, that you should never reduce your marketing activity or advertising spending over a holiday period, such as Christmas or Easter .
However, is this true?
After all, you might be a sole operator, tradesperson or small business more easily affected by seasonal changes in the marketplace. Hell, you might even be on holidays yourself – effectively ‘closed for business’ over this period! After 30 years in marketing and advertising (oops does that make me an ‘expert’?) dealing with numerous business of all sizes and in all types of markets – GFCs, retail downturns, mining booms, tourism busts and everything in between, there are a few inescapable facts, lessons and maybe a couple of things you didn’t know about consistency in marketing during quieter periods.
As Fleetwood Mac says:
Don’t stop thinking about tomorrow,
Don’t stop, it’ll soon be here,
It’ll be, better than before,
Yesterday’s gone, yesterday’s gone.
Time and opportunities are perishable; the chance for you to communicate with a potential customer who may (or may not) be in the market for your product or service re-sets every day. I may not need you today (and you might be closed for Christmas) but I will remember you, if you are consistent and frequent with your messaging. Additionally, you will get on my shopping list later.
Climb every mountain.
Investing in a strategy of a continuous leads source is like climbing Mount Everest (what the?! I hear you mutter). You don’t invest significant time, money and effort to get within 50 meters of the summit and then pack up for Christmas! If you insist on cutting back, ensure you have a maintenance campaign active at all times so you don’t end up at the base the mountain. Then the flow of leads does not dry up and your awareness does not slip in consumers’ minds. It’s an indisputable fact; companies and business that maintain market presence, recover faster after slow periods.
What an opportunity.
An indisputable fact that companies who continually engage in a marketing presence, gain market share from those businesses that shut up shop. So remember, whilst you are lying on the beach at Noosa and you’ve paused or cancelled your leads generation (advertising) your mate down the road is cutting your business grass.
Is it really that slow?
No, it’s not, and markets changes during holiday periods, and money is still spent but on different products and services in different ways.
For example, 71 cents in every dollar in Australia is spent by 25-54 year olds, which is around 80% of what is normally spent by women, but in holidays this changes. In the US for example (we aren’t that different!) during the l holiday sales season, you’d be wise not to forget about a key demographic: men! Yes, men, who outspend women during almost every annual holiday, according to a recent study from ESPN Research and Analytics. While women often shop without buying and visit multiple stores, men expect to buy when they shop and, prefer to buy many products at one store, according to the study. Retail has always been aimed at women and how women shop and behave, but men are a prime opportunity if you’re looking to grow the sector and, more likely to spend during holidays.
Because we are digital business, I’ll focus on the digital environment. When it comes to budgeting for ad spending throughout the year, all months are not the same or equal. During the holiday periods such as December and January, we would argue that you should spend a disproportionate amount of money on your advertising.
“Of course you’d say that”, I hear you say, but why?
Well, there are increases in the factors that contribute to overall sales during the holidays. For example, ad impressions typically increase 50% during the holiday season. Click-through rates rise 100%, direct traffic increases 150%, the average order value grows by 30%, and conversion rates go up 60%. So it stands to reason that if there are disproportionately more impressions, click-through rates, visitors, average order values, and higher spending around this time of year, you should be spending a disproportionate amount of money on advertising to balance it.
Either way, increase your investment or maintain your activity, but dropping it all together won’t do you or your business any favours.
Marketing is not a cost. Marketing is an investment in the continual supply of leads and therefore potential revenue and, should be budgeted as such. Marketing is a necessary function and part of the sales process. So don’t turn off the leads tap even if it is a bit more of a trickle during these periods.
Have a great holiday season and all success to you.