On my way to class the other day I stopped at Starbucks, something I rarely do anymore in an effort to avoid too many extra calories and because I seem to be running late most of the time (I tend to over commit and then end up rushing…ahem…). Anyway, as I pulled up to order I saw that Pumpkin Spice Lattes are on the menu and I did a little happy dance because that means it must be Fall, right??
As strange as that reaction is, from a marketing perspective it means they’ve trained me, using seasonality (scarcity), thereby ensuring I will find a way to get back there again for yet another of those sinfully delicious, spicy lattes. The strategy is simple, brilliant, and one that many businesses have used, with great success, through the years.
Remember the McDonald’s Shamrock Shakes? I’m pretty sure there was nothing in them that even resembled wholesome, Irish cream, or even anything from nature as we know it, but we didn’t care. As kids, when those popped up on the menu we were super excited because a.they tasted good, and b. it meant St. Patrick’s Day was right around the corner. And while we had a broad ethnic representation in my neighborhood, as far as I know there wasn’t a soul from the Emerald Isle in sight. But we didn’t care.
And then there were the seasonal flavors at Baskin Robbins – Baseball Nut. Fresh Peach. Black Cherries Jubilee. Yumminess by season primed us to pounce when the favorite flavors arrived, consume until we were (almost) satiated, then bid them adieu for another year.
As an adult, it’s been my pleasure to enjoy seasonal foods from different local restaurants, a pleasure not unlike enjoying childhood treats around seasons or holidays. With seasonal foods, of course, it’s about availability for a short time, then the item disappears until this time next year when we’ll welcome the return of said dish and enjoy it to its fullest once more.
Seasonality translates beautifully into our spa and salon marketing efforts. Through my years with SpaBoom I’ve seen an amazing number of really wonderful spa service menu items. And then we started working with salons and realized how many options there really are for hair styling and care services, something someone not natively of the business wouldn’t have immediately understood.
A few services have stuck in my mind as particularly compelling, not always for the service itself, but often for what product the service may have incorporated. There have been blue corn scrub wraps, which are about indigenous ingredients. There have been pumpkin avocado facials, cranberry salt scrubs, seaweed wraps, cucumber facials, spicy chai pedicures, coffee scrubs and creamy, milky options designed to create suppleness.
And who doesn’t appreciate a hair treat to prime for the next season, as well? Lovely deep conditioning oil treatments help repair Summer’s havoc, and amazing, rich colors manage to capture the light and infuse the hair with depths of hue that please the eye while creating softness and health in the process.
I have a point, here, and it’s really this – What is your Pumpkin Spice Latte? Do you have one? If nothing jumps immediately to mind, consider adding a seasonal option to your service menu, one (or more) that add variety while creating a sense of anticipation for your clientele. Ideally, creating four of these, one for each season, makes the most sense, and then promote them in all of your content areas – your blog, email newsletters, on your website, social media, text messaging, and, yes, as in-house signage.
Catch the eye, capture the imagination, satisfy the craving you create, then gently remove the option at a predetermined time until next year. What’s not to enjoy about setting, then exceeding, client expectations year after year?