Chicago by the Season: How to Adjust Your Ads for Any Time of Year

In the business world, most companies go through natural highs and lows throughout the year. Usually, the peak and slow times change by the seasons. For example, it’s quickly apparent in Chicago that ice-cream shops will do a lot of business in the late spring, summer, and early fall — whereas the cold winter months will see lower demand for ice cream.

Of course, many businesses do stay open all year round. However, they must adjust their marketing to match consumer interest, which may fluctuate from one season to the next. When you optimize your ads according to the current time of year, you can expect a higher ROI from your efforts and more sustainable success for your company. The question is: How can you effectively accomplish this goal?

Understand How Seasons Affect Your Business

The first step is to discern how seasonal trends affect your business. This cadence will vary according to industry: for instance, the amount of business for restaurants often dips in the summer, while retail rises ahead of the summer.
Whatever the case for your business, it’s vital to accurately identify those seasonal trends and then analyze them for opportunities to make your marketing more effective. One way to gain such insight is to track your sales throughout the year. The volume of revenue you bring in during each season can give you valuable insight into customer behavioral patterns and critical drivers for their intent and purchase decisions. When you utilize digital marketing tools and analytics to examine the data from online transactions, you’ll gain an even clearer picture of how your consumers think and act.

Pick Topics Relevant to the Season

Once you understand how the seasons affect your business in particular, the next step is to generate content that aligns with the seasonal interests of your target audience. As a simple example, think of a coffee shop open throughout the year. During the summer, ads for the coffee shop may focus on iced coffees and Frappuccino’s; during the winter, the focus will likely shift to hot coffees and other season-appropriate offerings.

As you compile a list of relevant topics for your seasonal content, don’t forget to maximize your campaign’s impact by combining audio and digital channels. These two advertising mediums work well together for many reasons. For instance, audio ads can impart a wealth of information in an easily digestible way, while digital ads can draw consumers in at crucial junctures of their buyer’s journey.

In this vein, think of a retail store that wants to move inventory during a slower time of year. A radio ad can mention all the item categories on sale, while a matching digital ad can focus on the special discount offered (e.g., “50% off”). Both channels can work together to attract customers to the store location or the company website (depending on your main objective).

Increase Ad Frequency Ahead of Peak Seasons

Finally, it’s crucial to never neglect your advertising strategy, even during “down times” throughout the year. Why not? Because staying consistent with your advertising will keep your brand “top of mind” for your audience, so they’ll be more likely to purchase from you when peak season comes around. It’s a relatively straightforward equation: the more familiar your audience is with your brand, the more they’ll trust it. The more they trust it, the more likely they’ll buy from it.

With that in mind, you may want to develop and implement brand awareness campaigns in the weeks and months leading up to your peak season. Then, when peak season arrives, you can pivot towards call-to-action ads that will motivate consumers to finally make that purchase they’ve been contemplating for some time now.

To “soften the soil” of your customers’ minds and hearts ahead of peak season, you may need to run more radio ads than usual. You may also need to adjust your digital marketing tactics to gain more online presence (including an increased focus on SEO and SEM efforts).


Continue Adjusting Your Ads for Sustainable Growth Throughout the Year


It’s essential to understand which seasonal trends are affecting your business, choose seasonal topics for your content that align with customer interests, and increase ad frequency ahead of your busiest times of the year. If you follow this three-step process, your marketing will work for you year-round, even “behind the scenes” during periods of reduced activity. Your creative copy will be relevant and more likely to motivate customers to take the desired action.

In the final analysis, your ads will only achieve their greatest potential if you design them to match your customers’ needs and the seasonal patterns unique to your business. If you can reach both of those goals, then you’ll almost certainly enjoy sustainable growth year after year. 

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