Seasonality in B2B Marketing is often overlooked, with many associating it solely with B2C enterprises. From Black Friday sales to Summer Specials, B2C businesses typically work their promotional activities around significant calendar events. Why? Because it works. According to Pipedrive’s findings, 35% of salespeople attribute their peak success to seasonality, highlighting its crucial impact.
What is Seasonal Marketing?
Seasonal marketing involves adjusting promotional strategies and campaigns to align with specific times of the year, leveraging events, holidays, or seasonal trends to engage with target audiences and boost sales or engagement.
Season-based sales coincide with occasions when consumer emotions are high. At these times, people are celebrating, taking time off work and/or getting together with friends and families. They are also more likely to be shopping. While this clearly makes sense for B2C companies, many B2B businesses neglect seasonal events, as they do not seem as relevant to them.
Yet, just like in consumer-facing industries, seasonal trends can significantly impact B2B businesses too. At the core of B2B entities, is people selling to other people. These people are all affected by seasonality.The difference with B2B seasonality is that other events will likely also affect consumer business decisions. It’s important to take note of the seasonal shifts that affect your business.
What Trends Typically Affect Seasonality in B2B Marketing?
1. Business Trips & Events
Your prospective leads need to attend business trips, meetings, and events, so it’s important to pay attention to their travel schedule (as much as is feasible). For example, research when and where big industry events are being held, or for existing clients, simply ask them about their schedule. This will give you an idea as to when it is best to get in touch. You don’t want to be one of the hundreds of emails they are likely to have backed up in their inbox when they return to work.
Holiday and school seasons are another important consideration. Many of your prospects will have families at home, and will likely take time off during the regular holiday periods. If the prospects you are dealing with are typically at an age where they are married and likely to have younger children, it also makes sense to take note of school holiday periods. This all comes down to knowing your customer and their behaviour patterns so that you can target them at a time when they are most likely to be responsive.
3. Weather & Seasons
Weather is one of the most important external factors that shape business buying decisions. Retail, mining, construction and events are some examples of industries that are highly affected by the weather. Decision-makers in these businesses have to consider the changes in seasons when planning their operations and ordering equipment and stock. If you are selling to a business operating in an industry that is affected by the weather, it’s important to ensure you are targeting them at the right time when they need your products or services.
4. Budget Cycles
All businesses have yearly budgets to adhere to. It’s important to try to predict when these budget cycles are because prospects are unlikely to respond to a new offering if their budget is already assigned somewhere else. The end of financial year is a good time to target business prospects, as they will likely be coming to the end of a budget cycle and may have budget leftover. If not, they are approaching a new year where they will likely receive a new budget and may be able to consider your offer then. Prospects are also typically more proactive at this time.
5. Regulatory Changes
Changes in regulations or compliance standards within industries can significantly impact business strategies. Be it alterations in data privacy laws, environmental regulations, or industry-specific compliance, these changes may prompt businesses to adjust their operations and investments. Monitoring such shifts can help tailor marketing efforts to align with the evolving needs of businesses under these regulations.
6. Technological Advancements
The rapid pace of technological innovations affects how businesses operate and invest. New tech developments often prompt companies to reevaluate their processes and solutions. Being aware of tech adoption cycles and trends can guide B2B marketers in offering relevant solutions or upgrades at times when businesses are considering or budgeting for tech improvements.
5. Global Events and Economic Trends
Major global events or economic trends—such as geopolitical changes, economic downturns, or upswings—can alter market dynamics. Businesses might react by adjusting their budgets, operations, or investment strategies accordingly. Understanding the impact of these events on your target industries can aid in refining the timing and focus of B2B marketing efforts.
How to Pinpoint Seasonality in B2B
1. Look for Seasonal Trends
If your business is growing, looking at data on a month-to-month basis can be deceiving. For example, your June 2023 sales are likely to be much higher than your July 2022 sales. Does this mean you should put most of your marketing budget into June going forward? Not necessarily. In order to work out which months are particularly good for sales, you need to make a ‘seasonal adjustment’ calculation in order to evaluate any seasonal swings.
2. Analyse Your Sales Data
Collect all the sales data that you have from the last 3-5 years. Process the data, put it together, and look closely at it to see your sales peaks, your best performing months and your worst performing months. This is the best way to determine your most effective revenue-generating months.
3. Be Prepared
When you have identified your most and least effective months, you need to then plan how you are going to use this information. How will you ramp up marketing efforts in the best months? How will you prepare for the slower seasons? Knowing when your sales are going to drop will allow you to make the most of the good seasons and generate enough leads and profit in this time to make up for the impending slow seasons. The key is to know your seasonality trends and ensure your business is prepared for them.
Seasonality in B2B marketing involves aligning promotions with specific times, leveraging events, holidays, and trends for sales and engagement. Various factors, including business trips, holidays, weather, budgets, regulations, technological advancements, global events, and economic shifts, play a significant role in shaping strategies. Recognising seasonal patterns and planning for peak and off-peak periods are vital for continual success, underscoring the significance of grasping and readying for these trends in marketing.
Contact The Lead Agency for more guidance on how to implement seasonality in B2B marketing strategy. We are a team of B2B marketing experts with significant experience across the B2B marketing landscape including Lead Generation, B2B Branding and B2B Digital Marketing.
Editors Note: This post was originally published in June 2020 and has been updated in 2023 for accuracy and comprehensiveness.