Seasonal Marketing, how relevant is it for B2B's?

5th February, 2015

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Next week it will be Valentine’s Day…. Again.

At the start of the year, we had a quick discussion about whether we should consider producing a Valentine themed newsletter for all our loving clients and subscribers. I say it was a quick discussion, as it ended as quickly as it began, with a decisive, “let’s not”.

Now don’t get us wrong; we are not completely disregarding this particular seasonal event. After all, this blog post is in some way loosely related to Valentine’s Day and I may just throw in a heart pic or two for good measure.

Our choice not to develop a Valentine campaign this year got us thinking about significance of seasonal event based marketing and its relevance in a B2B market.

According to Bing ads “the average consumer spends $134.00” for Valentine’s Day so it is no wonder that retailers have fallen in love this particular seasonal holiday.

Most B2C and ecommerce businesses understand that seasonal events are brilliant opportunities to tap into an already stimulated market. These regular events such as Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Easter are reliably consistent and repetitive; we know when they are, we have a set date to work to and more importantly can plan our campaigns and promotions well ahead of time.

Yet, for the rest of us with unrelated industries and services a lot more thought and research is required. Not all seasonal occasions will be relevant to every business, but it is pretty clear that B2B’s shouldn’t just write them off completely.

Selecting the right seasonal event for your prospects can help to boost engagement with your business - as long as you plan ahead. B2B marketers just need to consider more carefully which occasions actually impact their customers and how this may affect their actions and potential to convert.

So let’s look at a few ways that businesses can utilise Valentine’s Day as a marketing tool.

Email Marketing messages
Sending email campaigns in the run up to Valentine’s Day is a no brainer for most B2C companies. Retail brands can really go to town with their campaigns offering discounts, free gifts and promoting their products. The challenge here is to grab consumer’s attention and get inventive with your ideas. Ensure your copy and call to actions are straight to the point so your emails stand out in that ever-expanding inbox.

For B2B’s email campaigns are generally more corporate, often remaining professional with a far more sober approach. So, how do businesses that don’t offer products that are directly marketable with Valentine’s Day still use email marketing?

One simple option would be to send a stylish e-card. This subtle and simple approach will be a gentle reminder of your services and will help build loyalty with your clients. It may not however be the most innovative answer and so may not necessarily encourage a high click-through rate.

Another alternative to this is to run a competition centred on the Valentine theme. 
How about hiding a heart or cupid somewhere within your website and ask your visitors to find it? This will encourage your clients and new prospects to visit and explore your website. The competition can also be promoted via email, social media and on your blog. Just be sure that the design of the email is simple and your message is straight to the point, the easier you make it for your subscribers and followers to click-through the more likely it is that they will engage and take part.

Overtime you will get to know how seasonal variations impact your customers and their buying behaviours. Using analytics allows you to track the changes in your website traffic and conversions during these times and gives you the insights you need to tweak and tailor your marketing tactics.

Filter your audience.
You can also filter your audience into segments such as activity, gender, interests and so on. Splitting your target audience into clear sections will allow you to be more specific with your subjects and content.

Rather than sending one generalised email for everyone, tailor different approaches according to your analytics and audience groups. This will help you to mould a handful of emails which are still focussed around the same theme but vary according to audience type. For example, you may want to create more persuasive emails to the section of your audience that are inactive during these periods. 

A pretty heart as promised…

Image Source

Seasonal marketing is all about timing.
Seasonal events are of course time centred and each come with clear deadlines. We’re always surprised how these dates creep up on us and many businesses are not as organised as they would like to be, resulting in last-minute purchasing. In fact the same report from bing stated that, “Valentine’s Day is a last minute shopping holiday with 51% of gifts being purchased within one week” of the actual day.

Make sure you research which season or events your customers are most likely to convert and depending on the occasion, create targeted and well-timed content.

B2B’s need to focus on particular sections of their industry and offer focussed campaigns that are targeted months, weeks and even days before the event.

Know what your prospects need and when they want it…
You probably know that business printing is one of our central services. Businesses regularly contact us for printed products such as flyers, promotion materials, banners and signage in the run up to Valentine’s Day or other seasonal events. By knowing exactly what your prospects and clients need throughout the year allows you to create tailored content and campaigns at the time they will be most receptive.

Now we will admit these are pretty simplified tips but at the very least we’ve underlined that B2B’s shouldn’t completely break-up with seasonal events altogether. Marketers just need to work a little harder, be a bit more inventive and produce interesting yet relevant campaigns that our audiences will actively engage in.  

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