How to Plan for Seasonal Events

February is a busy month in Singapore with two seasonal events, Chinese New Year and Valentine’s Day (and my birthday as well :)).  In this post, I’m to use Valentine’s Day as an example to illustrate how marketers can start planning their campaigns.

What does A Marketer Need to Know?

First of all, let’s take a look at what are the things that marketers should understand to plan Valentine’s Day.

  • Opportunities. What’s in their mind for Valentine’s Day? If the campaign material are boring, it’s going to be a disaster as you will lose your audiences’ interest.
  • Time. You want to deliver your message at the exact right moment; it’s important to figure out the right moment.
  • Digital media mix. What are the channels you need to deploy and how to measure the success?

Of course, there are more for marketers to know for seasonal events campaign; but, this post will focus on the above three things.

Opportunities for Seasonal Event Campaign

Besides conducting survey and focus group, the easiest thing you can do is to check out the search queries during the same period in the past years. There are different tools for different markets; Google keywords tool should be on top of the list for your research:

Here are some example:

Search queries indicate the intent and interests of searchers, which can be used to guide your product design, marketing strategy and advertising messaging.

Time – Best Campaign Launch Period

Valentine's Day search trend

Google insights is a good tool for this purpose in Singapore market. As the search trend indicates, the earliest time you launch a Valentine’s Day campaign is about three weeks in advance, and the last one week (7-14 Feb) should be when you should focus your budget on.

You should take other holidays during this period into your consideration. In Singapore, Chinese New Year is an important event which falls on Feb 3. You probably don’t want to be actively promoting Valentine’s Day campaign until CNY is over.

Mix: Which Channels?

This depends on your product or service as well as your budget. Search engine marketing, as one of the most cost effective tactic, should be on the top of your mind.

Whichever channel you deploy, you need to make sure:

  • Set KPIs
  • Track the performance of each channel
  • Monitor the ROI

Track all channels, including both online and offline media. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate. ROI metric for social media channel is always headache for many companies. It takes experience to figure out how; you can ask your digital agency for help.

We will share a list of online tools to monitor the trends in a later post. Subscribe via RSS or email if you’re interested.

Learn from Skype how to apologize in digital age

When was the last time a company said sorry to you? How did you feel after they apologized? How did you feel if that was not the first time you got annoyed by the same issue?

A friend recently found an inappropriate charge on his phone bill; the company said sorry. What happened was, someone was charged an inappropriate amount and has to go all the way to the customer service center, queue and talk to the customer service offer simply to get the right bill.

Don’t forget the fact: your customers are now powered with digital tools and they can express all their bad feeling in any way they like; twitter, Facebook, blog, online forum, friends, …

An apology is not sincere if it can only be heard other than be felt.

How to Apologize to Your Customer

Ask yourself a simple question, what is the right way to apologize as a person? Then, you know how to apologize as a company. Last month, Skype apologized sincerely for “skype outage” incident.

  1. Say you are sorry
  2. Describe the problem so that your customer can see that you do understand his “pain”
  3. Fix the problem
  4. Make it up to your customer; it could be a gift, a voucher, a discount and etc. The voucher Skype gave is only worth $1; but it’s not about the value. What customers see is a responsible brand who is serious about any trouble caused to their customers.

Step 4 is essential for your customers to “feel” your apology. Don’t skip it. Besides, it’s an opportunity to build a strong brand and trigger positive word of mouth online.