How to find receptive buyers with Occasion-based Marketing

in General Business Marketing

Most businesses and marketers want to improve their marketing response and conversion rates – i.e. the number of responses to a marketing campaign and subsequent conversions to a sale. There are many ways to improve response and conversion rates with research, analysis and targeting including the use of demographic and psychographic segmentation, value propositions, irresistible offers, emotional appeal, etc.

But many marketing campaigns don’t reach prospective buyers when they’re most receptive to buying. That’s where occasion-based marketing comes into play to boost response rates. The most common use of occasion-based marketing is holidays – we’ve all seen the special offers for Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, etc. People are more receptive to buy something related to a particular holiday in the weeks leading up to the holiday than any other time of the year.

There’s much more to occasion-based marketing than just doing promotions around holidays. Think about the definition of occasion in broader terms:

  • A particular time when something happens.
  • A chance or opportunity to do something.
  • A cause or reason for something.
  • The need for something.
  • The need to do something.
  • An important or special event.

Using these broader definitions, think about what occasions would make your prospective buyers more receptive to buy and/or respond to your marketing campaigns:

  • News – look at current news topics and who is paying attention. Is there any relevance for your offer and the audience that you can leverage? For example, if a group of businesses or people are paying attention to carbon tax legislation, do you have relevant products or services to position and offer to take advantage of this news and attention?
  • Events – there are all sorts of events happening all the time – which of these events may make buyers more receptive to buy or consider your product/service/solution?
  • Holidays – as previously mentioned, the most frequently used occasions for marketing promotions. Are any relevant for your business that would make buyers more motivated or receptive? Avoid just jumping on the bandwagon unless it’s relevant and motivates buyers.
  • Associative – we drink orange juice with breakfast, wine with dinner at restaurants and sports drinks when we exercise or play sports. Why? Because marketing has made us associate these products with these occasions. A marketing opportunity is to create an association to an occasion for your product/service/solution. Another is to expand an established association – e.g. don’t just drink wine with restaurant dinners, drink this affordable wine with dinner at home.
  • Life Cycle – if life cycle occasions such as Birthdays and Anniversaries are relevant to your business, then doing a targeted promotion to those prospects and customers on their special occasion can yield good results. Just acknowledging a customer’s life cycle occasion is good for building customer relationships and awareness for your business.
  • Business Cycle – businesses have cyclical occasions that present occasion-based opportunities if you market and sell to other businesses. For example, when they do budgeting is a good occasion to get an allocation for your product/service/solution in their budget for the following year.
  • B2C Customer Occasions – for individuals, occasions such as buying a house or car, moving to another city, etc. put them in the market to buy specific things like window treatments or car care products that may be relevant for your business.
  • B2B Customer Occasions – if you sell to other businesses look out for occasions such as management changes, mergers, acquisitions, new product introductions, business expansion, etc. for which you can position and offer relevant products/services/solutions.

This is not an exhaustive list of all occasion-based marketing opportunities. The key to successful occasion-based marketing is to find targeted and relevant occasions when prospective buyers are more receptive to buy your product/service/solution and respond to your marketing campaign or promotion.

How to use this information to benefit your business

  • Consider how you can use occasion-based marketing to improve your marketing and sales performance.
  • Not all occasions are relevant to every business – identify and only use relevant occasions.
  • Identify cyclical versus ad-hoc or unplanned occasions. It’s straightforward to schedule Marketing campaigns and promotions for cyclical occasions. Do you have the means to respond quickly and appropriately to relevant ad-hoc or unplanned occasions?
  • Do a test to compare response rates between a regular schedule-based approach versus occasion-based for the same marketing campaign or promotion.
  • Occasion-based marketing is an overlay to your previously established market and customer segments – it adds a timing and positioning dimension for executing campaigns and promotions to when buyers are more motivated and receptive to buy.

Copyright © 2009 Ingistics LLC and Marketance™

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