September 4, 2019

Seasonal Marketing Affective Disorder

Photo by Charles 🇵🇭 on Unsplash

What is it about Presidents Day that makes me want to buy a mattress? Were Washington and Lincoln insomniacs? Sleepwalkers?

Or could it be that mattress sellers just needed a gimmick to get people into the store?

Mattress companies are not alone. One of my first copywriting assignments had to do with what I call Seasonal Marketing Affective Disorder. Winter was drawing to a close and, with temperatures on the rise, it just made sense that a tie-in to the changing seasons would sell more cars. Right?

Of course it did. So I helped create newspaper ads encouraging people to “spring into savings at your Southeast Lincoln-Mercury dealer.” Those newspaper ads were followed a few months later by a “Sizzling Summer Sales Event,” at which point I turned my attention to autumn because I am a quick learner.

Side note: you can both spring and fall into savings.

In all fairness, it’s a real challenge finding ways to keep your brand top of mind—especially in retail. But there’s no excuse for a lazy marketing plan based solely on the weather, an event, or a holiday. Sure, there are exceptions like promoting treadmills to coincide with New Year’s resolutions. Or a sale on plasma TVs in the weeks leading up to “the big game.” And I give major props to REI for taking an unexpected approach with their black Friday opt-out campaign, which builds their brand by actually closing for business.

All of this brings me to today where we’re in the thick of back-to-school promotions. I’m sure I’ll be swayed to buy the kids new clothes and classroom supplies. But a back-to-school RV or washing machine? Basement waterproofing? Not so much.

Instead, I’ll take this back-to-school opportunity to go back to school for my clients; to take a refresher course on their products and services; to study the competitive landscape with a fresh set of eyes; to look for smart ways to keep our clients top of mind.

If it happens to come in the form of a Presidents Day event, there’ll be good reason.


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Gary Golden

Gary, like all HMH'ers, has a passion for following these trends in and out of the industry in order to better determine the best solutions for our clients. Nice.