Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Understanding Seasonality: Smart Marketers Are Happy Marketers (Part I, Introduction)

The Holiday Season that was 2010 - 2011 is all but over. Looking back at what happened and when, I thought it would be interesting to take a deeper look into the role seasonality plays in marketing. It turns out that the ramifications may be bigger than we first thought...but so too is our ability as marketers to identify, plan for, and find new creative ways to employ them.

Today I will start this four-part investigation with the first installment: "Understanding Seasonality: Smart Marketers Are Happy Marketers".

It was George Santayana – Spanish philosopher, poet, and pragmatist – who once said, “To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” While Santayana was no doubt speaking to wistful romantics of the time, his remarks could have been directed to marketers of today. For just as the sensitive heart looks hopeful to Spring’s promise of love, the marketer waits breathless for the holiday season that invigorates product sales. It is the sage marketer who holds a broad view of the calendar and, as Santayana’s verse implores, understands the positioning of their product throughout the seasons.

Yet even for his wisdom, Santayana may have been only half correct. Surely anticipating seasonal fluctuations and embracing a holistic approach to the marketing year are critical in today’s business landscape, but understanding the dynamics at work below the surface is the pursuit of the smart marketer. For seasonality affects more than product sales. It has far-reaching consequences that impact many elements of commerce, not the least of which being the human condition. Optimizing seasonal product promotion requires marketers to connect with the forces that shape the delicate consumer psyche. Data can illuminate these forces, and offer insights into how the savvy marketer can take advantage of them.