Marketing Spring Holidays Can Be a Challenge
The post-holiday sales cycle can bring both a sigh of relief and a new source of worry for small businesses. On one hand, you don’t have to create quite as much holiday specific content as you did in the months leading up to Christmas, but you may also see a decrease in sales, which burdens your cash flow. And before anyone starts listing all the holidays between here and Mother’s Day, let’s be clear. None of the Springtime Holidays are as promotionally intense as the months leading up to Christmas and Hanukkah because holidays like Valentines, Easter, and Mother’s Day target only a segment of the total population.
The Springtime Holidays also don’t have the same gift giving buildup as the Fall holidays. The fall holiday excitement starts at Halloween with pumpkin spice lattes while choosing costumes, flows into Thanksgiving feasts, ramps up with commerce specific days like Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday right into the grand finale that is Christmas. New Year’s is tacked on as a bonus. With Springtime Holidays you have a grouping of disjointed holidays that are smaller scale celebrations. Valentine’s Day for couples, Easter for religious families and/or secular families with children, and Mother’s Day for mom or a mom-like influence. Not to say that companies don’t sell big ticket items at this time; however, the marketing period is shorter and there is a greater competition for a smaller target segment.
Depending on your industry, associating your products and services with the Spring Holidays may be easy. Think candy, stuffed animals, and cards. Some products aren’t so easy and may require more extensive campaigns before your customers consider your products as potential gift items. These are more functional items like clothing, shoes, furniture, and subscriptions/memberships. Of course anything is possible if you are a little creative and set your mind to it.
A Gift for Me, Myself, and I… and the Dog
It’s best to market functional items like shoes, clothing, makeup, and even household items as necessities for celebrating that Spring holiday events such as a romantic dinner, special ceremonies, or family gathering. Gifting functional items is often in tied to the stage of a relationship/marriage, health consciousness, and income bracket. If your primary and secondary customer segments are upper- middle class, vegans, with disposable income, then there’s a better chance they will gift items that aren’t just candy and a stuffed animal. In fact, I’d argue that the more disposable income, the more a high-ticket gift is expected. This goes for Valentines Day, Easter, AND Mother’s Day.
What if your customer segments don’t have a lot of disposable income, or simply love holiday themed items? You have a couple of options:
Bring in a limited-time product that you can market to your customer segments
Does your company have a mascot that you can make into a stuffed animal? Do you have items that can be branded with holiday symbols like water bottles, shirts, or socks? It is worth investing into holiday themed inventory, even if you don’t sell it all this year. Any products leftover can put you ahead of the game when the holiday rolls around again next year.
Repackage items in a unique way
The first time my friend mentioned buying an “anti-Valentine” gift for her single self, I raised my eyebrows at her defiant sentiment. Many people associate an anti-Valentine gift as a clapback to the societal expectation to be in a relationship leading up to marriage; however, some people purchase anti-Valentine’s gifts as a celebration of independence, self-sufficiency, or gratitude.
Easter is a great example of repackaging an entire holiday. As a religious holiday, the death and resurrection of Christ is a bittersweet story. However, the tradition of coloring Easter eggs, gifting Easter baskets, and going on Easter egg hunts (all taken from the pagan holidays), is much more fun. Like it on not, bunnies and Christ have nothing in common other than their proximity each other during the springtime. Someone repackaged the religious holiday into something much less somber. You can do the same with any of your products or services.
Target someone or something related to your customer segment
It wasn’t until my parents replaced their grown children with tiny Chihuahuas that I realized gifting pets was a thing. In the first year of their arrival, tiny stockings appeared at Christmas with wrapped gifts under the tree, then tiny Valentines stuffed animals, followed by tiny Easter baskets, and gifts for my Mom from the dogs in addition to what my brother and I sent. I found it strange until I got a dog. Though I don’t quite go to the same extent as my parents, I find myself fretting about my dog’s Christmas gift annually. My kids, who have a dog and a cat, talk about planned holiday purchases for their pets, or what they received as as “Pet Parents”. One walk through a pet store during the holidays will make it clear how much money owners are spending on their fur babies.
Focus on the Season Not the Holiday
If you have products and services that just aren’t going to fit easily into a holiday, but are definitely related to spring (gardening, spring remodeling, tire changeover), then focus your marketing efforts on the change of season. Offer a brief holiday special to encourage people to schedule early, but know that any purchase is most likely an afterthought to the primary gift. Some may be grateful for the special. Few will rave about it. Either way, you are increasing sales and building customer relationships, two very important goals for any organization.
If you decide to forego Spring holiday or seasonal marketing, at least turn your campaigns brand awareness. The last thing you want to do is completely fall into the shadows. When people decide it’s time to purchase in your category, you want to make sure they think of your business first!