Bank on seasonality when budgeting your marketing

Why does seasonality matter in marketing?

Seasonality isn’t just a marketing challenge; it’s a challenge for the entire company (if not a problem). There are months when production and other departments are overwhelmed with demand, and there may be others where you can hear a pin drop.

There are various reasons for this, but one of them is simple human behavior, with consumption being higher during the transition of seasons (spring, autumn). Economically beneficial holiday traditions like Halloween, Christmas, and Thanksgiving provide some relief, but in general, most businesses experience some sort of seasonality effect on their financials.

Your marketing budget must reflect that seasonality!

Seasonal marketing budget that sucks!

You should be alarmed when your current marketing budget is spread out evenly over a 12-month period. It’s even worse if you schedule campaigns and marketing during the off-season to compensate for diminishing revenue.

Why? There are sayings like “Set sail while the breeze is fair” or “Make hay while the sun shines.” It’s the very same concept – during the off-season when demand for your product/service is low, pouring marketing money on top of it does not create more demand.

A seasonal marketing budget that rocks!

Yes, if you have a huge inflexible production, it’s more complicated (still worth it), but in general, sprinkling the marketing budget where it grows is the winning way to go! It means you save up during the off-season and allocate those funds on top of the high-season budget.

Why? Simple: you’ll make more sales when you dominate during the high season. If you invest the most at the beginning of the high season, it will have a carryover effect in the following months. We have real-life data and case studies that confirm this.

How to create a marketing plan that adapt to seasonality?

First, you need to map out which months/weeks are the high seasons for your business. After a couple of cycles, everyone in the company knows these periods by heart. However, even as Ninjas, after we start working with a new account, we still need to back it up with data. If you’re a CEO and are sure that you know those periods, still, back it up with data. You may or may not be surprised, but assumptions are great f-ups.

You can use metrics such as new sales, purchases, revenue, subscriptions, or something else.

Secondly, you need to plan it out. As professionals, Ninjas use extra high-tech software for that called Microsoft Excel.

Start with the annual marketing budget. Yes, business happens, and you may need to change it later, but a realistic marketing budget is a must.

Divide the annual marketing budget between months using percentages. Spend more at the beginning of the high season. Cut back on marketing during the off-season. Play with different scenarios. If satisfied, calculate those to actual euros/dollars.

Now it looks like it’s done, but you still need to allocate funds across marketing channels month by month. If you have a bigger team (different people/agencies responsible for ads, content, website, etc.), you can now provide budgets for each marketing channel. Pretty neat, right?

One (eternity) Excel spreadsheet later…

Get everyone on board!

Having a plan is not the same as implementing it. Plan your biggest campaigns months ahead. Your marketing content must consider seasonality as well. It makes sense to go over your marketing budget quarterly and compare results with projections. You will learn with every cycle and master it eventually!

Adjusting the marketing budget after seasonality also helps against ad fatigue and attracts more eyes at the right time, especially in the case of niche markets and smaller target groups.

If it all made sense but you can’t see yourself doing it, get in touch, and for a big pile of money, we may help you.

Further reading