Time is Marketing: Holidays and Other Observances
Whether attributed to Benjamin Franklin or even to the Greek Antiphon, it has been long known that “time is money”. In marketing, timing considerations have been concealed in foundational elements such as the product life cycle theory or in the seasonal marketing. The business practice, however, have found much more creative ways to benefit from a calendar.
For most consumer-focused businesses, certain days provide excellent hooks to hang promotional activities. Let it be the famous Christmas season or Valentine’s Day, international chains make every effort to make consumers believe that the time to shop cannot get any better. It has become a habit for supermarket bargain hunters to frequent their store of choice twice a week – Monday, Thursday or weekend promotions have been especially popular. While-supplies- last footnote on a weekly flyer has been the very reason for an early morning shopping spree.
Global companies organize parties on festivals important to their home countries. British and Irish businesses by name or ownership celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, for instance. Whereas internationally recognized holidays, such as Christmas, Halloween, or Mother’s Day have been widely exploited in several industries almost on the global scale, local holidays so common for all European countries in particular or other religious occasions worldwide (e.g. Easter for Christians or Yom Kippur for Jews) seem to be somewhat limited to a handful of targeted FMCG offerings. Commercial calendars could just get more localized and targeted to local crowds. Marketing is all about differentiation – strengthening a bond with customers by posting an Easter egg could prove more powerful than being buried in the stack of New Year’s cards.
CRM systems routinely congratulate customers on their birthdays or name days. Recognizing special events in one’s own life and observing wedding anniversaries, birthdays of important relatives and friends, work jubilees, or reminding customers of their past special achievements such as graduations or promotions could be a way to progress from localized to individualized seasonal marketing. Coming up with offers or anticipating customer’s needs is only an easy step further in the value chain.
Timing has been clearly assigned different importance across various industries. Charitable trusts culminate with fundraising campaigns right at Christmas time, when people might be more generous. Large movie studios carefully plan for a premiere of their next blockbuster, not to coincide with the launch of another spectacle. For a weekend or two, their premiered movie gets full attention of possible audiences and becomes a reason to visit the nearest cinema. This is not to mention the obvious receptiveness of fairy tales or animated movies again right before the end of the year.
Car companies have mastered the timing of market entry for a new model to avoid overlaps with introductions of competing products. For a period, car producers lure specialized media to their novel offerings, whereas other manufactures wait for their distinct moments of fame. Spring and fall have been a high season for launching new products there. Airline yield-management models include sizeable international sporting events on top of national and local holidays. Mountain resorts are well versed in the calendar of local winter school holidays, when designing promotions and deciding on peak and off-peak seasons. TV and radio advertisers care about the impact of their messages during day time.
Any occasion counts when it comes to arguing reasons for timing marketing actions. Any time can be fantastic to roll out promotions, products, and offers for yet another day and yet another season. Time is crucial as markets never sleep.
Čas pro marketing: Svátky a jiná výročí
Sezónní marketing se rozvinul daleko za hranice využívání ročních období pro vytváření speciálních nabídek pro zákazníky. Vánoční nákupní sezóna bývá v průběhu roku doplňována mnoha dalšími výročími a svátky, které mohou představovat zajímavou příležitost ke zvýšení prodeje, utužení vztahů se zákazníky nebo představení inovované produktové nabídky. Může jít o svátky tradiční, importované nebo naopak velmi místní, může se jednat dokonce i o individualizované zákaznické nabídky s ohledem na významná osobní výročí. I sezónní marketing tak není pouze trendem globálním, ale i regionálním a individuálním.
Kontakt na autorov/Addresses
doc. Ing. Pavel Štrach, Ph.D., Ph.D., ŠKODA AUTO Vysoká škola, Katedra managementu a marketingu, Na Karmeli 1457, 293 01 Mladá Boleslav, Česká republika, e-mail: [email protected]