There are many Pros & Cons when it comes to marketing seasonal products in the DRTV, International and retail spaces. By seasonal, I mean products that have a defined high and low season; such as upside down tomato plants in the gardening category (think Topsy Turvy Tomato) is Spring and Summer, comfy poncho’s in the clothing category to stay warm (think Snuggie) is stronger in Winter, etc. I have a great deal of experience in this area and can speak to the inherent issues and blessings of seasonal items with knowledge hard earned through trial and error and sweat equity.
Our fishing item, Mighty Bite Fishing System, www.buymightybite.com is a good example to use on this subject. The fishing market in general and on DRTV and retail in particular, is certainly seasonal. In broad strokes, there’s a testing season in March through early April and our high or peak season from mid-April through the end of August. The fishing season both in retail and on TV slows down in the fall. People concentrate more on their jobs, students go back to school and the weather turns colder in the highly populated North. The Christmas season has a flurry of sales as well, particularly if your item (like Mighty Bite), makes a great gift for a loved one.
Product inventory needs to be ordered throughout the year but the bulk of it needs to be firmly in place for the high season, media both paid and PI needs to be booked with this seasonal peak in mind, etc. These can be considered the challenges and at first there’s a learning curve for those accustomed to year-long, rolled out campaigns with no real seasonality.
The advantages of a seasonal product, however, can often outweigh the disadvantages. In our case with Mighty Bite, the product visibility is greatly reduced in the fall and throughout winter, and then is re-introduced each spring in a big way. Over time, I’ve come to believe this is a net postive because the show and product seem new each year. Offers can be tested in the off months and the tests confirmed during your testing season, so you’re ready to saturation bomb during your peak season. The life of a working, older show can be extended greatly. Instead of many DRTV shows hitting it big for a year or two, this slow and steady approach can build a brand and extend profitable sales for many years.
Seasonal direct response products in the gardening, apparel, yard care and hardware areas have found similar results. Items like NEI’s Water Jet Power Washer and AMG’s Topsy Turvy and Snuggy are great examples.
So in the end is it worth producing long and short forms for seasonal items? I say yes, because the lifespan of the product is generally longer, as long as the show works in the first place. Seasonal product owners would love to sell as many units in the low months as the high months, but in general, the challenges can be surmounted with strong international sales and targeted retail. With Mighty Bite, we’ve enjoyed this ebb and flow, with a strong domestic and international sales history (millions of lures sold over 8 years). We found ways to make the business profitable and the offer successful year after year, but as with most things worth doing, it wasn’t easy!
In the end the pros outweigh the cons as long as you have a great product, a well produced show, the patience to stage inventory smartly and the nerve to hit it big in season!
Written By: JOHN BRICCETTI
Owner of DEG Productions, DEG Direct Response and Deerfield Education Group & Partner of Future of Fishing, Inc., www.buymightybite.com
Contact John @ firstname.lastname@example.org