We’re now about two weeks into fall and whether you’ve taken notice or not, the marketing strategies of major brands have already shifted. These days, fall has become synonymous with cozy scarves, fireplaces and Pumpkin Spice Lattes – and companies are capitalizing on that.

Of course, marketing strategies change drastically each time a new season approaches. The winter holiday season is the most obvious example, followed by the spring-summer focus on hot weather sports and entertainment, leading into back-to-school. In order to take advantage of the seasonal behaviours of your consumers, there are some strategies that if put in place, will offer the greatest returns.

Let’s look at Starbucks and their Pumpkin Spice Latte (PSL) phenomenon as an example. The hot drink was created back in 2003, and has been steadily increasing in popularity each year through the power of seasonal marketing and social media. Starbucks even created a Twitter account for the PSL, which is verified and has almost 115,000 followers. A creative campaign that personifies the PSL and places it in real-life situations has proven effective in reaching a millennial audience and building a fan-base around the drink. The Twitter account is also heavily moderated and regularly engages with followers, which adds to Starbucks’ likability and credibility as a brand.


In terms of credibility, Starbucks hasn’t always had a great reputation, especially when it comes to the PSL. In 2014, the company had a long list of upset customers when it was revealed that the beloved PSL contained no real pumpkin, just a “pumpkin sauce” made of sugar, condensed milk, corn syrup, salt, and a handful of other ingredients. Starbucks acknowledged the slew of concerns over what made up the fall favourite, and has since changed the ingredients to include real pumpkin puree and natural colouring. Having the ability to listen to customer concerns and act on them is a sign of a successful brand, and when concerns are addressed in a timely manner – while your popular seasonal products or campaigns are still live – it’s even better.

What other seasonal marketing strategies can you employ besides managing engaging social media accounts and being timely and transparent with your customers?

Keep up with the current trends: Do your research and stay up-to-date on what consumers are interested in so that your marketing can reflect that successfully.

Look at what worked last year: The PSL is so popular because it returns every year. Look at what marketing angle you used last year and if it was admired by your customers, bring it back! Create a recognizable product that becomes a sign of the season.

Offer products or services for a limited time only: When you do bring back products, make sure customers know that they’re around only for a limited time. While it might seem like a popular product would make money year-round, sometimes a limited time frenzy creates more value. Forbes estimates the PSL alone now makes Starbucks $100 million each fall.

Come up with innovative seasonal promotions: Attract new customers and keep loyal ones around by offering related seasonal discounts and promotions.

Seasonal marketing campaigns aren’t just for seasonal brands. Even if, unlike Starbucks, you sell the same products year-round, customizing your messaging based on the current season helps you relate to your customers and keep your products front-row-centre in their minds. Do you have an example of an amazing seasonal marketing approach? Share it with us in the comments below or via @TACK10Strategy on social media.