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Have you ever heard of National Ice Cream Month?

 

Maybe, maybe not.

Marketers are used to leveraging holidays and seasons to their advantage, but how do you choose which holidays to use and which to avoid?

This article offers a few perspectives on how to approach your holiday marketing, whether you’re considering National Ice Cream Month or Halloween.

Top Considerations for Holiday Marketing

There are a few essential considerations for every holiday marketing campaign:

Does your audience care about the holiday? Holidays that aren’t celebrated in your country or by your target demographic should certainly be avoided. If your audience is indifferent to the holiday, you may wish to forego the expense, but there are other things to think about before making the decision.

Does your marketing budget allow for the expense? Holiday marketing campaigns can be cheap or expensive. It may be as simple as changing some email copy or as complex as setting up a new paid ad campaign. Either way, there are two considerations at play here: the expense of changing your campaign, and the potential loss in conversions if it doesn’t work.

How popular is the holiday in general? Some holidays just aren’t that popular. Independence Day is quite popular in America, for instance, but National Flag Day isn’t. A smaller base of fans will mean, of course, that campaigns based on that holiday won’t resonate with your audience as much.

These questions and answers may seem to make the decision a bit more straightforward, but that’s not always the case…

Any Excuse for a Party…Or a Sale

When you look at most holidays honestly, they are often simply excuses to have a good time. Independence Day is very patriotic, but the center of gravity mostly revolves around good food, good friends, and good times. Patriotism takes a back seat to the party, in other words.

St. Patrick’s Day and Mardi Gras are two other examples. People will make any excuse to have a party, even if the meaning is forgotten.

So how does this translate to marketing?

It never hurts to run a sale, and holidays are great excuses to make sales. Even the most creative marketers can find distant connections between a holiday and a sale, a special deal, or a new product.

While National Ice Cream Month is very unknown and unpopular, it does exist. That means marketers can use it as an excuse to have a sale, play on the scarcity factor, and so on.

Here are a few creative ways that various businesses could exploit National Ice Cream Month:

  • Social apps that include custom-designed emojis could include Limited Edition ice cream stickers. The limited time offer would probably generate a return on investment, since the only cost incurred would be illustration and inclusion in the app.
  • Any other digital platform, such as games, could develop creative ways of incorporating ice cream offers into their digital environments.
  • Local businesses could run social media contests among their Facebook fans offering a reward to people who can post the most creative ice cream creations. The reward itself doesn’t even have to be ice cream related – it could simply be a gift certificate or a discount. This type of promotion would allow any type of business to take advantage of National Ice Cream Month, even if they don’t serve ice cream.
  • Naturally, any business that does serve ice cream could run sales, limited edition flavors or sundaes, and so on.

The clear advantage to running campaigns like these is the scarcity factor. It allows marketers “any old excuse” to exploit limited time offers. That’s why so many stores run sales that are often irrelevant to a holiday: it’s just an excuse to generate more revenue from a holiday.

So when shouldn’t you run a National Ice Cream Month sale?

  • When your product is completely irrelevant. A B2B company that offers supply chain logistics management services, for example, probably could do without a sale such as this.
  • When your audience is completely irrelevant. A vegan company who caters to people who avoid dairy should obviously avoid running a sale based on this holiday.
  • When you feel such a sale could actually hurt conversions or put people off. Certain holidays are so unpopular that linking to them may just come off as strange or disconnected. In a worst-case scenario, this could deter customers. National Flag Day is one such holiday: very few businesses run National Flag Day sales because very few customers can relate to it.

 

Sometimes any holiday is a good enough excuse to run sales or deals. The more important the holiday is to a target audience, the more likely a sale is to produce an impact and generate a return. But if the connection is too flimsy or doesn’t resonate with a target audience, it may be better to forego the expense and leverage holidays that resonate more with the audience.