The main factor that renders the job of the marketing manager a much complicated, at times decisive for the survival of a given business, is not the nature of the job itself. Rather, it is both the internal factors (such as the nature of the market) as well as the external ones (such as product characteristics) that restrict the ambitious performance of the marketing manager. Accordingly, a successful marketing manager is the one who manages to develop a marketing strategy, taking into consideration and working out alternatives for all the external and internal factors that would cut a product’s lifecycle short. For example, marketing products that are highly seasonal set a number of challenges in the agenda of the marketing manager. The aim of this paper, thus, is to shed light on the major challenges induced by the external factor, namely, product seasonality, highlighting the example of Christy Sport Business and the strategy the latter followed to keep en vogue.
Generally, Marketing Seasonal products are those products/services whose marketing depends on a specific time/ circumstances/ or events, such as holidays, religious/social/political events/ winter-spring. For instance, Christmas tress, post-cards are highly seasonal product which witness high consumption during Christmas event. Marketing theorists refer to this pattern- the sales increase of post-cards and Christmas-trees during Christmas holidays- as a predictable seasonal pattern. Being as such, seasonal products set strategic as well as financial constraints on its companies which are obliged to figure out alternative products, market, and marketing strategies during low-sale seasons. Put simply, in order to pay the bills of the low-sale seasons and keep its status within Markets, the marketing manager needs to adopt a transitional strategy by introducing new seasonal products lines, convenient with their season. However, coming up with hankered-for alternatives is not an easy matter, for it entails developing a whole marketing strategy.
The marketing manager has to design not only alternative products, consistent with its season, but also compatible with the location of the company/market, the nature of market wherein the product is to be sold, the characteristics of the customers, without neglecting the already existing markets. Among the advantages of introducing a new seasonal product line which can be categorized under the same range of the company’s industry is that the former may save the business life and foster the customers’ awareness of the given product/market. But in order to reach this point, efforts still need to be done at the level of market segmenting, communication along with distributing channels. Relatively, effecting these efforts requires a well trained work-force who must be acknowledgeable with all the seasonal products of their company. Needless to say that these measures require heavy budget and sharp timing, especially for big businesses. An example of a company for successfully managed to introduce a new seasonal patter is Christy Sport.
The company faced a discernable challenge when it switched from skis and snowboards products marketing to patio furniture. Indeed, it was a great challenge, considering that both products are not in the same range.After becoming the sole owner of Christy Sports In 1985, Van Velkinburgh grew his ski retail business to 18 stores; and in1995, Christy Sports merged with another ski retail operation – SportsStalker – and gained another 18 stores. However, like all seasonal companies, Christy Sport faced challenges and decided to figure out some solutions by introducing a number of products that might fit the same demographics, from camping equipment to fishing to tennis to swim gear. Depending on locations, some of the stores still carry the above items. After years, Christy Sports switched into mountain biking, and, although revenues increased in the summer months, it fell short of meeting the needs. In 1982, Van Velkinburgh had an idea to pursue patio furniture and all the accessories. Hence, the company witnessed large consumer demand for outdoor toys like barbecue grills and patio furniture, and there was no specialty store supplying the products. Christy Sports became the specialists in outdoor fun and recreation, from furniture (the niche is a high-end, quality patio product ranging from about $299 to $4,000) to umbrellas to hammocks to all kinds of outdoor games. “The timing was good,” said Denny Bride, director of marketing for Christy Sports. The new direction sustained Christy Sports in the summer months, especially on the Front Range, where today patio sales remain consistent.
In short, the marketing of seasonal products is much complex market, requiring much craft from the marketing manger, especially when it comes to unpredictable patterns or event, be they political social or economic. Seasonality, in this case, dictates a cogent marketing strategy, relevant selection of seasonal patterns, and exact timing, among other things.