There is a definite marketing cycle, and knowing when you should market can mean a dynamic payoff. You need to be aware of the marketing cycle in your industry, so that you can know when to market.
To make the most effective use of your marketing dollar and your marketing time, block out a yearly marketing calendar based upon what your client does during certain times of the year. This marketing analysis is going to tell you what to offer and when to offer it. Then, knowing what and when, you simply select the delivery method—will it be postcard, newsletter or some other method?
Real life calendar months and events affecting the marketing cycle include:
1. November: November starts the holiday cycle, but many end of year proposals bids and contracts are signed during this period. Expect the company to be staffed but busy during this time (with the exception of the actual Turkey day).
Many company parties are being planned and held, so this can actually be a good time to mix and mingle in a business sense.
2. December – January 1st: The time between Christmas and New Years is earmarked for holidays. Many companies close their offices during the period of December 22nd to January 1st. Staff may be thin or non-existent, as employees travel or take time during this period.
Make a list of your intended target companies and get to know their habits and policies. This will make sure that you do not waste time trying to reach a company that is closed, or spend direct mail marketing dollars sending out time sensitive materials.
You would not expect to reach staff for a coaching or training session in this time period, but you may be able to reach the top business leaders who typically take less time off than they allow for their employees. Top executives often return to the office during the quiet time in order to plan for next year, and this executive is concerned about coming out strong for the New Year. You’ll catch this top executive after the employees go and right before they return on January 1st.
In the front end of the month, top executives are involved in end of year reviews, collection and reconciling. Face to face meetings may be difficult during this busy time.
3. January 1st: Business begins in full force for most firms. Staff meetings will be held, marketing ramps up too as proposals and projections and accountability pick up steam.
This may a good time to offer those solutions-based courses, training programs, teaming and other offers.
4. February, March, April : This period may be the height of the business season for most companies seeking to expand revenues and contracts.
Tax periods depend upon the type of tax and the company structure, but generally, March begins the tax season, affecting accounting and top management, who may also be juggling personal tax analysis during this period.
5. Summer can again be vacation time (depending upon your industry). This is also the time that staff relocates in time for the upcoming school season. But, if you are in construction, this may be your busiest season, particularly if you work in an area that is climate dependent.
So, what this tells you, is not that you stop marketing in certain months, but that you plan and time your marketing ahead for the next cycle. You won’t be training people over Christmas, but you may be able to offer programs to the senior level to offer for year-end reviews, team and staff training for January.
Effective marketing means a constant flow and a minimum of seven points of contact during the year. Effective marketing programs include mailing of postcards, letters and newsletters, stay-in-touch strategies such as personal notes and sharing of articles of interest, personal visits, sharing of contacts and business opportunities (even when it only benefits them, not you), website and internet marketing tactics and strategies, and more.