Does Your Company Have Seasonal Competitive Advantages?

December 20, 2010 at 1:21 pm | Blog

Some businesses are seasonal – Christmas tree farms, pool maintenance (in colder weather climates), lawn care and landscaping, pest control, fireplace sellers, resorts, boat rentals, Halloween costume shops – depending on what you sell, there might be certain times of year where business is incredibly busy or completely slow.

There are also seasonal aspects to year-round businesses. FedEx and UPS and the Postal Service have to deal with shipping packages for the holiday rush. Accountants serve clients year-round, but April 15 is the biggest deadline of the year.

As part of thinking about your overall marketing strategy and evaluating your key competitive advantages, your company needs to keep in mind the “seasonal” aspects of what you do. There might be certain ways of serving customers, or certain opportunities, that only arise at certain times of year. How can you work this “seasonal” competitive advantage appeal into your marketing message?

We recently recommended to a pest control company that they change their marketing message on their website to correlate with the peak activity of certain critters. For example, there might be times of year where ants are an issue – and other times of year when termites are a bigger concern.

So an example of a competitive advantage they could use during termite season is: “In the past 5 years, 100% of our technicians responded within 24 hours to requests for a termite inspections.”

Here are some other examples of “seasonal” competitive advantage statements that companies might use:

  • An apple orchard: “90% of our fall crop of apples is ready to pick by October 1.”
  • Companies that deliver packages during the holiday rush: “Holiday packages are delivered on time, 100% of the time – or your money back.”
  • An accounting firm: “In the past 10 years, 95% of our clients’ tax returns were filed by April 15, and for the remaining 5%, 100% of their extension requests were accepted.”

Even if your company’s “seasonal” competitive advantages are common in your industry – something that “everyone does,” you should definitely still communicate it in your marketing message. Even if other orchards have ripe apples by October 1, or other pest control companies respond within 24 hours, your customers might not have heard it from them.

Sharing these competitive advantages helps to remove your customer’s perceived risk in the buying decision – it gives your prospective customers a reason to order from you, instead of your competitor. And that is always a good idea, no matter what the season may be.