The Power of Occasion-Based Marketing

Daisy Rogozinsky
By Daisy Rogozinsky
June 2, 2022 · 11 min read

Marketing comes in many different channels, platforms, and activities. Choosing which ones to use for your business is hard… until one marketing style comes along, that is so effective it becomes a no-brainer. 

That’s how we feel about occasion-based marketing. Occasion-based marketing, also often referred to as holiday marketing or seasonal marketing, is the act of promoting your brand, product, or service around a specific occasion such as Back to School Week, New Year’s Eve, or Nurses Appreciation Week. 

Occasion-based marketing campaigns often offer customers special discounts to incentivize them to make a purchase for the holiday, but this is only the beginning of your occasion-based marketing options. Essentially, any content you post specifically themed around or mentioning a particular occasion falls under this umbrella. And it’s become an essential tenet of social media content marketing. 

Not only will using current events, holidays, awareness weeks, and other occasions as inspiration for content help keep you stocked with a constant stream of video ideas, but it will also benefit your business in numerous other ways.

Read on to dive into occasion-based marketing, understand why it’s so important, and learn how to do it right. If you’re not already filling up your content calendar with occasion-themed video ideas, you’ll be eager to get started by the time you finish reading this article. 

The Benefits of Occasion-Based Marketing 

Okay, so why is occasion-based marketing so worth investing in? Let us count the ways.

Higher Spending

Many holidays constitute an opportunity for customers to buy things they wouldn’t on a daily basis. Think Valentine’s Day gifts, graduation presents, and spring break bikinis. In fact, each year, Americans spend an average of $650 each on Christmas presents, over $200 for Mother’s Day, $138.97 for Father’s Day, and $76.49 for Independence Day. The bottom line? Occasions are a big sales opportunity, making them a must-have for marketing.

Make Real Connections

The internet can be a pretty disconnected, alienating place. But brands that can break through the digital barrier to create authentic, personal, emotional connections with their audience will stand out and gain customer loyalty. 

Holidays and occasions are a perfect opportunity for making connections, allowing you to bond with your customers over relatable topics like how excited you are for the first day of Spring or how much you love your grandparents. Additionally, it’s also essential to choose occasions relatable to your brand, products, and services. If you can decide on that perfectly relevant social media holiday, you can really resonate with your customers.  

In this way, occasion-based marketing allows you to meet your audience’s expectations, connect through emotions, show personality, and humanize your brand, all in a way that builds relationships and loyalty.

Create Urgency

Occasion-based marketing also takes advantage of two compelling marketing tactics: urgency and FOMO. 

Urgency marketing tells your customers that they better hurry up and make a purchase because stock is running low, the sale is ending soon, and now is the time to buy. And, due to their temporary nature, occasions lend themselves perfectly for this, allowing you to offer special sales or products that will only last until the holiday is over, creating a sense of urgency in potential customers.

A sample CTA for urgency-based occasion marketing might sound like, “Click here to shop our St. Patrick’s Day sale – only through Thursday!”

Similarly, FOMO marketing uses our natural human “fear of missing out” to help encourage customers to make a purchase. The idea is to appeal to your audience’s desire to latch onto an opportunity rather than let it slip through their fingers, especially if others take advantage of it. Again here, holidays perfectly set you up to create that FOMO.

A sample FOMO marketing CTA might read, “Don’t miss out on our limited-time Mardi Gras offer!”

Raise Awareness

Occasions present more significant cultural conversations, with people all over various social media platforms jumping into the discussion about the latest holiday or celebration. By participating in these conversations and using the right hashtags, you have an opportunity to raise awareness of your brand and acquire new customers. 

Occasion-Based Marketing Tips and Best Practices

Now that you understand how occasion-based marketing can benefit your business, let’s go over some tips and best practices to help you get the most out of it. 

Choose Occasions Relevant to Your Industry and Audience

Naturally, you aren’t going to be able to make content for every single occasion that happens year-round, as there are multiple every day. But you wouldn’t want to, either. For best results, aim to be strategic about the occasions you choose to post. Ideally, the occasion-based content you post should be:

  • Relevant to your industry. For example, back to school is a massive opportunity for educational institutions, and you may not want to miss the chance to mention the Super Bowl if you’re in the sports supply industry. 
  • Relevant to your audience. As a savvy marketer, you’ve already researched and figured out who your target audience is. Now, make sure the occasions you choose to post about matter to them. For example, if you’re targeting the politically-active Gen Z, you’ll likely want to mention Women’s History Month and Pride Month. But for that same target audience, you probably won’t need to make any particular content for National Glaucoma Awareness Month. 
  • Specific. Because you’d rather be a big fish in a small pond than a small fish in a big one, an intelligent strategy is to choose smaller occasions to market for. If you can be the only one in your customers’ feed mentioning National Bagel Day on January 15th, you’ll automatically stand out. (Bonus points if you actually sell bagels.)

Use this template

Plan Ahead

The most important thing you can do to succeed with occasion-based marketing is plan ahead. The window of relevance for these occasions is short, lasting only between a few days to a few weeks. Blink, and you’ll miss them. Or, to put it differently, fail to properly prepare your content, and you’ll lose your chance to participate in the conversation while audiences are still interested in it. 

A content planner is an invaluable tool for occasion-based marketing, allowing you to plan ahead for which occasions you want to create content and ensure that you are ready to take all of the necessary steps to assure that the content will be prepared and posted in time. 

And that’s not to mention that being able to look ahead to a content calendar full of unique, engaging ideas is incredibly satisfying.  

Consider Location

When choosing which holidays to market, don’t forget to take location into consideration. Many holidays are localized, meaning you can risk alienating some of your audience by posting about ones they don’t actually know about or celebrate. That’s why it’s essential to know where your audience is located and if an occasion is actually relevant to them. For example, if you’re a brick-and-mortar business located in India, it may not make much sense to post about the 4th of July

On the other hand, sending holiday greetings to the members of your audience who celebrate certain specific national or religious holidays can make them feel recognized and appreciated, especially if it’s something that they don’t usually see mentioned. 

Ultimately, it’s your choice whether you want to post only about international occasions or if you want to mention localized ones. The important thing is to make that choice strategically and thoughtfully. 

Be Creative

Unfortunately, the fact that occasion-based marketing is highly effective isn’t exactly a secret. That’s why brands everywhere, both big and small, are doing it. This means you can’t just post generic “seasons greetings” and think that’s enough. Instead, aim to be unique and not make the exact type of content as everybody else. 

Try to come up with a creative angle on holidays. Maybe on every Friday of Move More Month (April), you’ll post a video of one of your staff members doing their favorite workout. Perhaps you’ll offer any customer who tags you in a selfie taken in your store on National Selfie Day (June 21st) a 10% off coupon. The opportunities are endless; it’s just thinking outside the box.

We know that creativity isn’t always effortless. That’s why planning ahead is so important. The more time you give yourself to come up with original ideas, the better your ideas will be. And if you’re really stuck, you can check out our blog, where we post creative video ideas for major holidays, or our content calendar, which gives you ready-made occasion-based video templates you just need to customize. 

Make Emotional Connections

As we mentioned above, holidays are a wonderful opportunity to use the power of emotion-based marketing. And when we say power, we mean it. After all, as logical as we may believe ourselves to be, we humans make many of our purchasing decisions emotionally. Indeed, ads with purely emotional content perform twice as well (31% vs. 16%) compared to those with only rational content.

Of course, some ads are riper for emotional content than others. For example, making videos about how exciting it is to gather with family on Thanksgiving or creating content celebrating an underrated local Black business in your industry in honor of Black History Month can really tug on the heartstrings. The important thing is just to be genuine and authentic here. You’re not trying to create tearjerkers to take advantage of people’s emotions. On the contrary, the goal should be to make real connections. 

Care About the Cause

Not all occasion-based marketing is around fun holidays. Instead, many occasions represent opportunities to be a part of more extensive cultural conversations and shine a light on significant causes. Creating content around these occasions can be powerful and influential, letting your audience know that your business has a sense of purpose and stands for something bigger than itself. 

Donating to causes is a great way to start. And that can make a real difference in how people perceive your brand. In fact, 62% of global consumers want companies to take a stand on issues they are passionate about, and 64% believe that brands that actively communicate their purpose are more attractive. So go ahead and champion a cause you believe in. Just make sure you do it authentically and actually walk the walk.

Purposeful occasions you may consider creating content about include (but are in no way limited to) the following.

  • Black History Month
  • Women’s History Month
  • Pride Month 
  • Earth Month
  • National Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month
  • World AIDS Day 
  • Hispanic Heritage Month

Use this template

Get Interactive

To keep your occasion-based content as engaging as possible, try incorporating interactivity or opportunities for your audience to get involved in your celebrations. There are several ways you can do this, including:

  • Giveaways – In an online giveaway, audience members who engage with you through comments, shares, and the like are entered for an opportunity to win a specific prize like a free item, a discount, or a charitable donation made in their name
  • Contests – Give your audience a specific task, such as submitting the funniest selfie with their dad in honor of Father’s Day. The ones you choose as winners will receive something in exchange
  • User-generated content – Inviting your audience members to create content in text, videos, images, and reviews that you will post on your social media accounts is a great way to make them feel recognized and keep your feeds full of fresh content for the occasion. That’s what we call a win-win.

Use this template

Don’t Forget Your CTA

One final tip: in all of the occasion-based content that you create, don’t forget to include a CTA or call-to-action inviting your audience to take a certain action that will benefit you, such as:

  • Liking your post
  • Following your account
  • Buying a certain product
  • Using a discount code
  • Visiting your website
  • Subscribing to your email list

Whatever the action you’re encouraging your users to take, CTAs help you make sure that the content you’re creating actually helps push sales and boost conversions to meet your content marketing goals. 

Now Get Out There and Market Those Occasions! 

The day that we’re writing this is May 30th, also known as National Creativity Day. We’re inviting you to figure out a creative way to use occasion-based marketing for your business in its honor. All it takes is choosing some relevant occasions, producing some unique video ideas, and tracking them in your content calendar. We can’t wait to see what content you come up with.

About the author

Daisy Rogozinsky

Daisy Rogozinsky loves to use the written word to educate, entertain, and tell stories. If she's not writing content, she's writing poetry, music, and screenplays.

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