Q4 Marketing Strategy
The fourth quarter of the business year can be very profitable, no matter what type of organization you are running. The holiday season brings more spending for consumers, and the end of the year brings more spending for businesses before the tax year closes out. Are you taking advantage of Q4?
Written by Rebecca Roberts
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*Updated for 2018 calendar year
Q4 Marketing Strategy
Q4 is almost here, and with over a decade of retail sales and management under my belt, I have experienced how overwhelming, yet important, Q4 can be for a business. Q4 can make or break a retail operation for the entire year having 30-40% of business occurring in Q4, with 27% of total holiday business occurring digitally. There are so many factors to consider when entering October-January (depending on when your fiscal Q4 falls) such as busy personal holiday schedules, holidays specials and sales, holiday events, year-end budgeting and spending, as well as planning for the new fiscal year.
In order to swallow all of this and effectively execute the insanity of the holidays, retailers are planning up to a year or more in advance. I worked for various retailers for ten years and each one generally held a pre-holiday manager meeting in the summer, and then a holiday planning meeting in early October (retail Q4 generally falls Nov-Jan), trickling down information from corporate that they had been talking about since January. If you’ve lived through a holiday season before, hopefully, you have some best practices year to year that you can repeat, but if this is your first Q4, there’s no better time to start!
We have put together a Q4 Marketing Strategy that can work for any type of organization. “I’m not a retailer!” you say? No worries! Q4 and the holidays it encompasses affect every organization, and have great opportunity areas to grow your business.
These types of organizations can benefit from people being willing to (or needing to) spend some year-end funds. Most organizations are also implementing a business strategy for the next year immediately following Q4 so this is a great time to close some deals you’ve been working on.
The holidays are a great time to throw fundraiser parties and other events. People are also in the “giving spirit” around the holidays, so what better time to ask for donations? You can also do “give the gift of giving” campaigns around the holidays.
Now let’s talk calendar. We have a yearly calendar with all of the holidays that might affect our business or offer an opportunity for promotions. For example, as a B2B marketing agency, most of our clients are closed on government holidays so we take that into consideration when planning campaigns (and vacations!). We also look at major promotion holidays, such as Memorial Day, Labor Day, and the December holidays and usually promote discounts.
Calendar planning can vary from organization to organization depending on your field. At a marketing agency, ours is quite extensive as we have to consider holidays and events that might affect any and all types of clients. We include government holidays, state holidays, and other relevant marketing-worthy events, such as National Recovery Month, International Yoga Day, or International Pancake Day (these are all real things!). You can find a list of various calendar events on websites such as timeanddate.com, calendar-365.com, holidayinsights.com. We highly recommend creating your own calendar of events for campaign ideas. I bet you didn’t know that October 21st is National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day! This would be a perfect day for a bakery to run a campaign or launch a promotion!
What to Expect
Q4 is huge for us, as we are helping our clients with their next year marketing strategies, as well as picking up a lot of new clients that wish to start working with an agency and implement extensive marketing strategies.
We have compiled together all of our experience and ideas into a Q4 Marketing Strategy Worksheet that you can download here. It covers a multitude of factors to consider such as:
- Business Goals – What are your revenue goals for Q4? Year-end? Do they line up?
- Budget – Do you need to up your ad spend for holiday campaigns?
- Content – Having content ready to go for Q4 will help you stay on top of your strategy as you’ll have so much going on.
- Events – What holidays events are you attending? What events are you throwing?
- Campaigns – What special holiday campaigns are you running? Will any of these continue into the new year?
A marketing strategy can be an extensive process if done right! This will hopefully get the ball rolling for you. If you’re newer to marketing and don’t know where to start, this worksheet will help you brainstorm some ideas and get you thinking.