Depending on the type of industry you’re in, market seasonality can feel like a blessing or a curse. For hotel owners and hospitality leaders, seasonal winter slumps can force hotels to deeply discount their room rates and lead customers to expect lower prices year round. On the flip side, many consumer packaged goods and retail giants rely on the annual influx of sales around Black Friday and look forward to the revenue they’ll drive during holiday discounts.
The reality is: market seasonality exists in almost every industry as people tend to shop and engage with service provides based on their own life cycles. Children’s school calendars, vacation schedules, and holidays all dictate how business flows across almost every industry. To help you unlock the potential of market seasonality, we’ve unpacked a few basics to get you started.
What is market seasonality?
If you aren’t familiar with market seasonality, you may simply be so accustomed to seeing it in action that you don’t even realize it’s there. When you review your bottom line revenue or other KPIs, chances are that you consider both month-over-month and year-over-year metrics. The reason being is that certain months are expected to perform better than others. That monthly – or seasonal – variation is, you guessed it, market seasonality. If you were a ski resort, you would naturally expect to see a dip in bookings moving from February into March and April. However, if you saw a dramatic decline when comparing this February to last February, that may be cause for concern. Understanding market seasonality starts with understanding your target audience and when they are most likely to need (or want) your products. Market seasonality is simply a reflection of when your customers are most willing to buy your product or engage with your services based on external factors that have nothing to do with your brand, such as travel or weather.
Can market seasonality be a good thing?
Of course market seasonality can be a good thing! In fact, it can be a great thing when you partner with a savvy local marketing agency or leverage a few creative promotions during your on and off seasons. While it would be great if sales were consistent year round, they never will be. You can’t change the game, but you can play to win. Consider where you see natural peaks and valleys in sales and revenue and consider what you could do to use these dips to your advantage. For example, many clothing companies offer discounts on winter clothing at the start of spring, around the same time they introduce their warm weather lines. Talk about a win-win situation. These brands get a boost in purchases thanks to their promos, without compromising sales from their new product releases. In these instances, market seasonality can actually drive more sales than a company might have expected otherwise. Similarly, service providers also use slower summer months or harsh winter “hibernation periods” to host new customer events and participate in speaking engagements to build their brand and increase exposure.
Planning for market seasonality:
The trick is to plan for market seasonality in advance. If you wait until a slump hits to kickstart a promotion and make up lost revenue, your brand may not be able to close the gap as effectively as you’d like. Instead, consider your natural sales cycle and front load a few opportunities into your marketing calendar throughout the year. For example, if you’re a subscription-based educational software company, your most important revenue generating months are at the beginning of the fiscal year (so your accounts have a chance to mature and generate revenue throughout the entire year). Knowing this, you’d want to load a few promotions into Q1 and Q2 to set yourself up for success moving through the middle of the year and into the slower summer months when potential customers may be traveling and less inclined to buy. Sounds simple, right?
There’s where we come in. Our team is here to help you map out your calendar and take advantage of market seasonality like a pro.