understanding seasonal marketing

As marketers we are always trying to find the best way to reach our audience. We want to connect with them, and in order to do that, we need to understand what they’re thinking. During the changing of seasons marketers can sometimes get lost while trying to make an ad that fits in with the next seasonal milestone (snow, sunshine, leaves, etc). However, is this what seasonal marketing is really all about? The answer is no; you need to pay attention to how the behavior of your consumers change. This will help you understand what it is that consumers are searching for, and help you fit into their search patterns.

Understanding Consumer Search Trends

What exactly are we talking about? Well, lets look at an example using the summer sun. During summer, sunscreen is a must have product and there’s no debating that. The real question isn’t if people are searching for sunscreen though, it’s when are people searching for sunscreen? You would probably guess, “all summer”, right? Well not necessarily. According to an article from ThinkWithGoogle.com, it’s not until about the beginning of July that sunscreen screen searches spike.

“Suntan” is what is usually searched first during the summer months because people want to take advantage of the sun and tan! Then “sunburn” is usually what follows, implying people were probably too eager to get tan, so they got burned instead of tan, and now they want to protect themselves with sunscreen. Also, shortly after this spike in sunscreen searches there is a bump in “aloe vera” searches as people try and sooth their burnt skin.

Okay, but what does all this mean? What this means is that at different points during the season some products are needed more than others, and people will change their searches based on that need. This isn’t just a summertime trend though, because these types of search trends are in all sorts of industries during all seasons. Four of the top searches are automotive, finance , retail and travel.

Automotive is searched at a rate that is usually up and down during the year; it is at it’s highest in May and July, but at it’s lowest in June. Finance is highest during the beginning of the year before tax season, showing how people are more likely to be thinking about finances during this time of the year than others. Retail searches begin to rise in the fall, and it will continue to rise until the end of the year, peaking around the holidays in November and December.

Searches on travel will start to grow in the summer months starting in April and peak in June because the kids are out of school and families will be spending more time together. These searches show us what consumers are looking at during various times of the year. As marketers, this helps us know when consumers will most likely run into our ads.

Another example of a summertime trend is how people are out of the house more often than during the winter. As these people go out for fun, food or friends they tend to be on their mobile devices more as they search for directions, menus or suggestions. Mobile usage is growing at a fast rate regardless of the season, and according to ThinkWithGoogle.com it grows 86% faster during the summer than the other three seasons. One more fun fact about summer searches is that there is a 44% increase in searches for recipes…maybe it’s someone finally giving their grill a chance!

How You Fit In

In an article on MarketingLand, it is stated that there are many “paths to purchases”, which gives marketers an even wider spectrum to advertise towards. One survey listed in this article states that 39% of customers said they search and buy products online, while 21% said they search and buy in store. Another survey said that 51% of consumers gain inspiration for products while in the store, and 42% said they gain this inspiration while online. These are all examples of how people search differently for products, and they show that there are many ways to reach your target market whether it be in-store or online.

What’s the final take away from all this? It’s this: it’s important that you are able to predict what your customers will do, and this will allow you to fit into their search patterns and help your ads be seen. So as the seasons change, remember, people’s behavior will change as well. Now get out there, find the pattern, and go enjoy the summer! Go be apart of that 44% and look up a new recipe on the grill, or just have fun in the sun (but don’t forget your sunscreen).