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Opply’s Guide To: Making Your Seasonal F&B Marketing Stand Out

Last week we saw the likes of John Lewis and Asda kickstart their Christmas campaigns with the launch of their much-awaited Christmas adverts – we loved “Have your Elf a Merry Christmas!”. While larger companies often stand in the festive limelight when it comes to their seasonal marketing, we at Opply have been thinking about marketing strategies for small businesses to make their products pop without breaking the bank.

Should I invest in seasonal marketing as a small business?

There’s no doubt that the run up to Christmas feels a little different this year. As the cost-of-living crisis begins to bite, and sales of non-essential goods decrease, we’ve seen lots of brands asking themselves whether their budget is best spent on marketing when resources are already stretched and it’s difficult to know what to prioritise. 

Neglecting your seasonal marketing entirely, however, may have a knock-on effect on your sales and it’s worth doing what you can to put your brand on your customers’ radar this December. 

With that in mind, the team at Opply have put their heads together to come up with 5 top tips to make your seasonal marketing count as a small brand:

1. Stay ahead of the game (and your competitors!)

Boring though it may be, strategy and planning are your two best friends when it comes to planning a seasonal campaign, whatever the scale. Rushing in without a plan will likely leave you more stressed in the busiest months, so make sure you’re ahead of the game before festive season kicks off: do you have a clear strategy and goal? What about timelines? Is everyone in your team clear on priorities? 

If you’re fortunate enough to have a seasonal campaign or two already under your belt, then your data from these campaigns should be feeding into your strategy. Take a moment to review your findings and have a think about how you can use them to maximise your sales this year!

2. The time is NOW

When it comes to Tone of Voice (TOV), your Christmas campaign is the right time to spark a sense of urgency in your customers. Countdowns and limited-time offers are going to be especially effective in a season marked by last-minute, impulse purchasing for the neighbour we forgot about or the friend who, on reflection, deserves something a bit more special. 

Offering a discount code on your festive products or rewarding loyal customers with limited-time offers will ensure your brand is best placed to be your customers’ go-to when time is of the essence. Just be mindful of longer delivery times and plan accordingly  – you don’t want your delicious snacks to arrive on boxing day!

3. Get Dynamic With Your Content

Now is the time to experiment with super fun, engaging content to stand out from your competitors. 

The power of short videos, reels and Tiktoks has been felt across the marketing community and we’d recommend using at least some of these formats in your content strategy. Videos are proven to drive far more engagement than images, so time to hop on the bandwagon!

If you don’t have the time or you’re feeling a bit camera shy, you can always invite another brand onto your channel for a takeover (see Opply’s Instagram for a recent example of this!).

4. Put your brand out there, literally.

Even if events aren’t normally your thing, Christmas is the time to make the most of the in-person opportunities to put your brand out there. They will give your brand more exposure and provide a great opportunity for content (see above!). 

Find out what the key industry events in your space are (think food festivals, christmas markets) and, if budget and time allow, get to them. For any London-based brands, check out Bread and Jam’s Christmas Party!

Or, if registering for an event is beyond your means, then you can get creative with other ways to put your brand out there. Here are some of our favourite examples:

5. Don’t neglect your stats!

Last but not least – a seasonal campaign is valuable for the opportunity it gives you to really get to know your customers. Set up a good monitoring software and plug it into your socials; email out feedback surveys. It may feel like extra work now, but you will be thanking yourself in January when you have all the data you need to hit the ground running in 2023. 

If you need a quick-fix for your analytics, Hootsuite offer a 30 day free trial to get you from now until December! 

While you’re here: Opply have also been working hard to support brands through their seasonal ingredient ordering. Check out our *brand new* Christmas page over on the website for more tips and tricks, access to our email newsletter and resource hub (coming soon!) for businesses like yours. 

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