Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Understanding Seasonality: Getting Smart (Part IV, Conclusion)

What remains less well understood are the consumer motivations that underlie seasonality or, importantly, behaviors that tip a marketer to seasonal opportunities. To what extent does consumer optimism, driven by year-end financial gains, drive holiday sales? Do traditional summer expenditures result from consumers shaking off the remains of winter restlessness? If marketing messages highlighted such themes, would they connect to consumers on a sublimely basic level such to positively impact sales? These are the questions the marketer must ask and their answers can be found through relatively simple data collection and analyses that push past sales charts to investigate consumers’ mindsets and moods.
When answers to questions of this sort are understood, data continues to offer insights into consumer behaviors. Take pest control, for example, where sales spike in the summer months presumably due to increased insect (and human) activity. But online searches for pest control products actually begin to mount much earlier in March and April of the year. This is, not coincidentally, the same time of year that online search volume for summer vacation spots begins to heat up (Google Trends). By being prominent in the late spring to consumers dreaming of summer getaways, marketers of pest control can present clear messages prior to the well recognized, and therefore ultra-competitive, seasonal spike.
As we have seen, seasonality does much more than drive familiar trends in product sales. It has considerable impact on complicated human behaviors and emotions. Understanding these impacts and how they can be used to improve product positioning and messaging should be the goal of every marketer. Collecting and analyzing data that yields such insights is the key to gaining just such understanding and to providing every marketer with a happier state of mind.