6 Steps to Seasonal Marketing in a Recession

Seasonal marketing

Having problems with seasonal customers?

Perhaps the problem isn’t them. It’s you.

What activities do YOUR customers do when on vacation? Sometimes they stay local and clean house. Other times, they take small day trips.

Now, we’re not trying to sound adversarial. OK, we are, but read this article and you won’t feel so bad about the hit you took this year. Because I’ll show you 6 magical steps that you can take, right now – and next year, you’ll have a different experience with your “vacay” customers.

The Setup.

A client was telling me recently (like this morning) that the local area we live in is drained of business. Why? Everyone’s on vacation. Business is bad because everyone’s gone. But is it – really?

The customers are coming back, you know.

And NOW is the time to use some of that free time you have to market yourself better next season.

Step 1: Stop whining… you’re not the only one.

Seasonal hits to business are a fact of life. EVERYone worries about business during vacation time. You might think that our business is not as affected. Not true; our work is pretty slow around Thanksgiving to Christmas. It’s also slow during July.

The first thing to realize is that whining about it won’t make a bit of difference. So saddle up and get ready to be constructive.

Some business models revolve around the vacation market. So, no whining about no customers; you just have to find out what they need!

Step 2: Think of it as an opportunity.

Attitude is everything. But let’s not stop at the soft consulting lesson; the bottom line is that you have time on your hands, now, to market yourself next year better. You have an opportunity, here, to integrate into your seasonal shifts in revenue. Work it, Baby!

Take 3 hours per week and think hard about what’s happening to your business. If you’re not doing that, you ain’t an entrepreneur.

Step 3: Devise a Question of The Week for existing customers.

Like I said, your seasonal customers are coming back. Therefore, create a Question of the Week for them to answer when they do.

The Question of The Week: Just stick it on the side of your cash register, and you're good to go with asking customers some questions.

Here’s one that I devised for a deli, about 35 minutes ago.

  • Hey returning customer! Where have you been?
  • Vacation? Where did you go?
  • What did you do on your vaca?
  • Hey – next time, I want to create a care package for you so you don’t have to worry about the food thing on the ‘first stage’ of your journey. If you had a choice, what would that care package have in it?

Then record the details.

Step 4: Examine the data.

Hey, the information above sounds informal, and it is – but that doesn’t mean it’s not great data to compile. Everyone thinks that us marketers have magical tools that construct perfect analysis or something. Heh, fooled ya.

Examine the data. What does it tell you? More importantly, how can you sell to that ‘leaving’ and ‘returning’ customer? Get them before they leave (you get a bump in sales before recession), and hit them up afterward (you gain valuable feedback for next year).

Step 5: Devise strategies that combat future cycle dips.

Your focus is to combat the recession next year. We already gave our tip for food-related businesses above; create a food care package for vacationers. Here’s what that does for you:

  • Reinforces branding because it keeps them thinking of you, and during happy times at the start of their vacation,
  • Provides value because they don’t have to worry about road food for the 1st leg of their journey,
  • Marketing feedback on what your customers like,
  • Product feedback on how the care package travels on the road
  • Great customer service is always a plus.

Most importantly, it shows you exactly how to build a better care package. Which in turn leads to sales in the future.

Step 6: Set a timer, and walk away until next year!


Now, breathe a sigh of relief that you don’t have to think about it anymore. At least not for now. You should focus only on gathering data and getting insight.

You just keep the cycle going, year after year, and those recessions will go away. If not by next year, then the year after that. I promise.

You’ll find that it becomes a creative process that you can really enjoy. I do especially for my customers.

(Bonus Step 7: Next year.)

In about 10 months (set your calendar now) pull it out of your folder, review, and BOOM – you’ll get hit with 4-5 great ideas that took no time at all to think up.

Now, you’re cookin’ folks. – G.

Greg Cox

Analytics Geek. Gregory likes Motorcycles, Cooking, and Sciencey stuff.