Seasonal selling can give your marketing and merchandising programs a “bandwagon” effect that can significantly boost sales if executed correctly. Pull out a calendar and use it as a guide to plan your marketing activities and take advantage of the various selling seasons that are coming our way.
The seasons we’re talking about are not the traditional ones of summer, fall, winter, and spring, although in some businesses, they may take precedence. We are focusing here on the selling seasons that are defined by three-day bank holiday weekends. In the US, bank holidays are usually on Mondays, resulting in extended weekends. Other celebrated days like St Patrick’s Day, Passover, the World Series, Halloween, and Hanukkah are equally significant even though they may land mid-week.
There are at least 8 identifiable seasonal selling periods throughout the year. Last time we examined the Martin Luther King, Valentine’s, and Easter selling seasons. Here are some more, so start making plans.
Memorial Day. Easter comes on March 31st this year (which is “early”) and Memorial Day is observed on the last Monday in May, making this selling period a full two months long. Consider how your product or service fits into spring and summer activities. Don’t forget, Earth Day and Mother’s Day also fall within this period.
Fourth of July. This next holiday is a little over a month later. June is the bulk of this selling season and is also a big wedding, graduation, and vacation month. Summer Solstice and Father’s Day also fall within this short period, and offer many opportunities for holiday and warm weather theme-based marketing.
Labor Day. With most of July and all of August in this extended selling period, it is an excellent time to promote any outdoor, travel, BBQ, entertainment , or water-related products or services. Labor Day is also considered the end of summer break and many folks make plans to enjoy their final days before returning to school. With cooler weather on the way, it’s also the last major outdoor, BBQ, and water-oriented recreational weekend for most of the country.
Thanksgiving. This is the longest of the selling seasons, and includes Halloween, Election Day, and Veterans Day. Many folks turn this holiday into a 4-day weekend using the time for family get-togethers, food, entertainment, travel, and cooler weather activities. Use harvest-themed promotions with fall colors in your displays and on your website.
Christmas and New Year’s. This is also a relatively short selling season so many businesses try to combine it with Thanksgiving and consider the entire period “the Holidays.” Most shopping and travel occur at this time of the year. The Christmas Holiday in conjunction with New Year’s, Hanukkah, and Kwanza have many of your customers taking the entire period off. This is the culmination of the year and the OND (October, November, December) macro-selling period.
If you produce products or services, or are in retail, these seasonal selling periods are perfect opportunities to provide customers with specific holiday trade dress, including point of purchase materials, and other marketing materials that make your offerings part of the special holiday. But more importantly, buyers love the anticipation of enjoying time off, family, and recreation. The three day weekends give a natural cadence to the year and provide a framework that already exists for your marketing calendar. Happy New Year!
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders