17 Marketing Opportunities for 2017

By Lucy Spooner,  Junior Social Media Executive (@SpoonerLucy) It’s the start of a brand new year! If you’re a savvy marketer you will have already started planning your …

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By Lucy Spooner,  Junior Social Media Executive (@SpoonerLucy)

It’s the start of a brand new year! If you’re a savvy marketer you will have already started planning your strategies for the months ahead. However, even the best marketers can be at a loss for ideas when it comes to an effective, customer-pleasing strategy.

It can be a good idea to specialise your marketing, thinking about when customers are most likely to buy a product, and what trends will occur through the year based on events. For any business, regardless of industry, integrating themes from relevant holidays and events into your marketing provides a new opportunity to reach your audience in a creative way. With that in mind, here are 17 opportunities throughout the upcoming year you can capitalise on with your marketing know-how:

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Blue Monday – 16th January (Back to Top)

Blue Monday is perhaps not the happiest place to begin, as pseudoscience has declared it to be the most depressing day of the year! A potent mix of bad weather, post-Christmas debt, failure to keep New Year’s Resolutions, and low motivation levels allegedly combine to make the third Monday of January the saddest day of all…

Despite this, many marketers look on the bright side, and see Blue Monday as an opportunity to offer customers a little pick-me-up, be it a special offer, price reduction, or freebie (particularly if lack of funds is what’s making them miserable!). Offering something to put a smile on your customers’ faces creates a good relationship between you, and can cause them to associate you with a high level of friendly customer service in future.

Valentine’s Day – 14th February (Back to Top)

There are many businesses that can take advantage of marketing opportunities for Valentine’s Day – restaurants, florists, travel agents, chocolatiers, jewellers…the list of typical options for romantic gifts goes on, and there seems to be no end of special offers that can be utilised.

Maybe your business isn’t typically associated with this special day, but this is where you get to use your imagination! Perhaps you could offer a discount for couples, or a voucher code related to the occasion; your social media accounts can be customised with appropriate themes, colours, and messages; and a Valentine’s ‘card’ sent to your customers via email can help maintain a positive relationship, especially if you include a small gift for the day. Valentine’s Day offers a chance for you to develop an emotional connection with your customers, offering personalised content and facilitating real-world connections.

Pancake Day – 28th February (Back to Top)

Though perhaps not the first choice when it comes to integrating holidays into marketing strategies, Pancake Day has proved in the past to be very effective when it comes to brand promotion. Some brands, such as Nutella, are lucky enough to have their own holidays that happily coincide with it (heard of World Nutella Day? You have now), and others like Aldi, Sainsbury’s, and even British Gas are always quick to take advantage of everything Pancake Day has to offer.

With help from pancake puns, polls, promoted tweets, pancake-flipping videos, and the ever-popular pancake art, businesses not quite lucky enough to have their own World Day can still easily take advantage of the tastiest day in February. Created some fantastic brand-related pancake art of your own? Share it on your social media channels! Able to offer a special treat in honour of the occasion? Double the hashtags with #TreatTuesday and #PancakeDay this year! The pancake possibilities are endless.

Mother’s Day – 26th March (Back to Top)

March provides UK customers with the chance to show and tell their mums just how much they love and appreciate them, and your business can do the same for the consumer! There are many and varied ways of integrating Mother’s Day celebrations into your marketing. Creating a brand-specific hashtag for Mother’s Day is a great idea (think Cath Kidston’s #CKCelebrateHer or #BloominMarvellousMum), so long as it does link back to your brand in some way. For example, a business in the fashion industry could get involved with launching a hashtag campaign asking users to share photos of classic ‘mum’ fashion from decades gone by.

When it comes to gift-giving for this special day, a gift guide is a good place to start, and could be personalised depending on a customer’s preferences; also, if you offer free and/or fast shipping, make sure to promote it in the weeks leading up to the day, providing a helping hand for those who might have left it to the last minute. Best of all, if you happen to know that a customer is a mother, why not recognise them yourself with a special email, gift, offer, or deal, to make their day and show your own appreciation?

Easter Sunday – 16th April (Back to Top)

Easter eggs are already in the shops, despite the big day being over three months away, so it might be time to start thinking about how your brand can capitalise on this egg-cellent (sorry) marketing opportunity.

It may seem at first glance that Easter is a pretty limited holiday in terms of marketing strategies – chocolate, chicks, eggs, bunnies…not much else, right? Wrong! Even if your brand seems unrelated, all you need to do is broaden the parameters; think long weekend, think Spring, think new beginnings, relaxation, and hopefully a bit of sunshine. What can you offer your customers to help them celebrate over the Bank Holiday? Maybe a day trip offer, or a voucher for somewhere to enjoy a delicious Easter Sunday lunch? What about a simple greetings card via email, sending good wishes for the Bank Holiday and offering them a non-chocolatey ‘Easter egg’ in the form of a special deal? Think of ‘Easter eggs’ in terms of hidden background details in movies and you get the idea.

To take the ‘egg hunt’ further, you could even hide something somewhere on your website that offers a reward if discovered by a customer, or if you have a store location, hide it instore for customers to find and photograph for your social media accounts so your audience can get more involved with your brand online.

FA Cup Final – May (Back to Top)

With the FA Cup tournament culminating with the final in May this year, that means five whole months of time for marketing. As the big day approaches and the potential winner starts to become clearer, there are several ways you can capitalise on the buzz surrounding the event.

Sports-related businesses may have a headstart with this, but others can get involved too; Fashion brands could get involved with creating match-day looks or outfits inspired by team colours, and encouraging customers to share their own ideas; electronics brands could offer a discount or deal for customers to watch the big final game; sports brands could provide offers designed to get customers out there playing football themselves, with product recommendations.

Running a poll on your social media account can help to get conversation going amongst customers and followers of your brand. Consumer can vote for who they think might make it through to the quarter-finals, semi-finals, and of course the final itself, as well as voting on the results of individual matches. Perhaps those that voted for the eventual winner could then be entered into a prize draw – the chance to win something big is always a good incentive!

Father’s Day – 18th June (Back to Top)

Some people find Father’s Day more difficult than Mother’s Day when it comes to gift ideas – thankfully you’re in the perfect position to help with that. If you start your marketing strategy around Easter, or the middle of May at the latest, it gives customers plenty of time to look through what you’re offering them and make their choice, especially if you keep it going until the very last minute (there’s always someone who leaves it til the last minute!).

What do you get the dad who has everything? You can help with this conundrum by offering a gift guide for your brand, particularly if you offer ways to narrow down the array of products depending on the particular dad’s interests. Another option is to offer a discount on ‘bundles’, i.e. groups of specific products bought together such as an apron, recipe book, and kitchen utensils.

Instore, it’s good to give a reason for Dad to visit your business. In a restaurant, for example, ‘dads eat free’ is a tried-and-tested favourite marketing campaign. If you sell technological or DIY-related goods, you could hold an in-store event and give dads a hands-on demonstration of popular products – this will also help other family members figure out what to buy them as a Father’s Day gift!

Royal Ascot – 20th-24th June (Back to Top)

As summer begins in the UK, there are several big events you can get behind with your marketing campaigns. One example is Royal Ascot; a time of champagne and fine dining, elegant dresses and headwear, morning suits and top hats, and world-class racing.

The event spans five days, which means five big opportunities to promote your brand as well as chances for advertisements and promotions leading up to the event. Fashion brand? Let your audience know the rules of dressing for Royal Ascot, and offer suggestions for how they can fit the guidelines and still look fabulous. Retrospectives are also a good way to get the conversation flowing between your customers – photos of past Royal Ascot looks (and faux pas!) can spark ideas and lead people to your own brand to solve any Ascot fashion dilemmas. These aren’t limited just to fashion brands, however; a retrospective poll or ‘throwback’ to a memorable moment can still get people talking.   

Glastonbury – 21st-25th June (Back to Top)

During festival season, if a consumer brand is not involved in at least a small way, they risk losing relevance for a massive audience. Festivals are huge gatherings of core-influence consumers and offer great exposure to modern youth culture, helping brands to shape and perfect the ways they try and appeal to their audience. For brands that get it right, it can be a game-changer.

Glastonbury is the largest greenfield festival in the world, and over the course of five days in June is attended by around 175,000 people. It can also be one of the largest launchpads for small businesses and traders, providing a place for them to connect directly with new customers who may sample their brands. If you can get yourself a place at Glastonbury (or indeed, any of the others festivals throughout the season), you’re bound to reap significant benefits from a crowd people with money to spend and a good range of age groups.

However, if you can’t, all is definitely not lost. Face-to-face selling isn’t the only way to catch the attention of festival goers; one option is to become a sponsor of a festival, or at least one aspect of it. For example, two years ago cosmetics brand MOA teamed up with Wild Wellbeing to offer their herbal skincare products for the latter’s massage stalls at festivals, in turn being promoted to festival attendees. Once a brand is seen at a particular festival and word has spread through the crowds, customers are more likely to reach out to you.

Wimbledon – 27th June-10th July (Back to Top)

Wimbledon is a huge part of the British summer, and Wimbledon’s sponsors always offer up innovative marketing campaigns to surround the event. In two memorable campaigns, popular drinks brand Robinsons gave us the Great Robinsons Ball Hunt, as a chance to win Wimbledon prizes by tracking down the giant tennis balls hidden across the UK with help from Twitter and other social media, while  Stella Artois have offered a VR app to give a bird’s-eye view of the tournament in honour of famous Wimbledon hawk, Rufus.

For your brand to get involved in the Wimbledon fun, think of  those images that invoke memories of Wimbledons past – strawberries and cream, pristine white clothes, jugs of Pimms and sunshiney days – and how you can incorporate them into your marketing. As always, don’t forget social media either. What are the best ways to watch the matches? What do people think about the results? Who’s the favourite to win? What are the most memorable moments so far? Get people talking through your social accounts, and don’t forget to promote your brand there too.

Halloween – 31st October (Back to Top)

Halloween marketing gives you an opportunity to grab your customers’ attention at the start of the largest and most profitable shopping period of the year. While staying relevant to what you sell, try to mix in some Halloween-themed posts on your social media as a good place to start. For example, a local bar could post recipes for spooky cocktails, a clothing brand could ask who’s the most stylish Halloween movie villain or request customer costume pics, and a pet-related brand could ask what the best costumes are for pets. Making these posts fun and interactive will encourage consumers to engage with you.

To take your Halloween marketing one step further, why not throw a party? Invite customers along to visit your business, with incentives like special offers and prizes such as an in-store discount for the best costume, particularly if it incorporates a product you sell.

Side note: around this time of year, it’s also a good idea to think about launching Christmas marketing campaigns, if you haven’t already done so.

Bonfire Night – 5th November (Back to Top)

Being less than a week after Halloween, Bonfire Night can sometimes be slightly overlooked. Despite this, big brands have found some great innovative ways to capitalise on the occasion – in 2014, Weetabix gave us the breakfast fireworks display thanks to some artfully arranged fruit and cereal, and Swarovski took advantage of the night of sparkle to advertise its ‘Stardust’ bracelet range for the perfect seasonal look. You could take inspiration from Fortnum & Mason’s discounts on seasonal treats, like Cinder Toffee and Gunpowder Green Tea, by offering special holiday discounts available only on 5th November. Autumnal marketing strategies can be tailored specifically for Bonfire Night with relative ease, and it’s also a good opportunity to ignite more interest in your brand before customers begin looking for Christmas presents.

Thanksgiving, Black Friday, and Cyber Monday – 23rd, 24th & 27th November (Back to Top)

While Thanksgiving itself isn’t typically celebrated in the UK, we’ve begun to embrace both Black Friday and Cyber Monday, with brands offering huge discounts in the run up to Christmas. First up, #BlackFriday is the hashtag to get behind, so make sure to use it as much as possible in any related tweets you post, particularly in the weeks beforehand to build up the hype and make sure your customers know that you are actually doing something for Black Friday.

Offering free shipping is a great incentive for customers who are already looking for a bargain, as well as bundle deals – e.g. buy X, get Y absolutely free, for 1 day only. Other ideas could include a weekend free trial if you offer a service rather than a product, allowing customers to try the service between Black Friday and Cyber Monday and making them more likely to consider a full purchase in future, or launching something new to take advantage of this time when customers are more likely to make purchase. Gift guides are always a safe bet, as most people will be doing a significant portion if not all of their Christmas shopping over this weekend of bargains, and you could even offer hourly deals so keep the buzz going around your social media throughout the days.

Christmas – 25th December (Back to Top)

The biggest holiday of the year offers a plethora of opportunities for Christmas marketing – the world is your oyster when it comes to ideas and holiday strategies. It’s best to start early, of course, to get the idea of your brand in the customer’s mind so they consider you when it comes to the time they want to shop for gifts.

Here’s an idea for startups: to get your business off of the ground, some regulars are essential. So when your business is doing better, make sure you don’t forget the faithful customers that were there from the very beginning. Giving them something for the holidays, a little Christmas presents that’s only available to your most loyal customers, is a nice way to make them feel remembered. Not only will it bring you extra business, but it will remind these loyal customers why they backed you in the first place.

A ‘12 Days of Christmas’ or ‘Advent Calendar’-style sale, with a different offer each day, is an effective festive strategy, and if you’re having a post-Christmas sale of any kind, make sure to promote it as much as possible. Are you offering free shipping, or a specific returns policy for unwanted gifts? Those need promoting too. Take a chance to play Santa Claus and ask your customers what they’d like from you for Christmas, then one lucky winner could be announced on Christmas Eve winning exactly what they asked for. Most importantly, get the buzz going on your social media accounts, maybe by creating a brand-specific hashtag or encouraging customers to share their Christmas morning photos if they received something purchased from you.

New Year’s Eve – 31st December (Back to Top)

The end of the year offers you the chance to look back at how much your brand has changed over the last 12 months, as well as let customers know what’s coming in the year ahead.

It’s also a time when many make New Year’s Resolutions, and you can do the same as part of your marketing strategy. How about announcing a change in the service you provide as a ‘resolution’ for the new year, explaining the advantages to your customers through a social media announcement or email campaign? You can also engage your fans by asking them to share their own New Year’s resolutions, or take it a step further with a themed wishlist including services or products you provide that could help them achieve it.

Give your customers an extra resolution to follow by pointing out key areas where your businesses excels. There are many directions you can take this: perhaps your customers should resolve to stop paying high prices, start being treated like valued customers, or stop being harassed by sales calls. Whatever you can promote about your company can become a great extra resolution for your customers to have in the New Year, ideally marketed to your audience in the lull between Christmas and New Year, so they’re aware of the opportunity before December turns to January.

For the big night itself, New Year’s Eve, keep in mind that not everybody is going to be out partying all night, and even if they are they’re highly likely to have a mobile phone on them capable of accessing the internet. You can take advantage of these night-owl customers with a midnight flash sale. A flash sale need only be a few hours long, e.g. Midnight-3am, and you can drum up interest in a midnight bargain with social media posts and emails, with reminders running up to midnight on December 31st. Make sure to communicate the times of the sale clearly through any and all promotion, particularly if you have an international audience.

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