Fall seasonal marketing: A guide to the (other) most wonderful time of the year
It’s finally fall–time for pumpkins, apples, hayrides and Halloween. But the first day of fall is more than an excuse to break out your cardigan collection. It’s an opportunity to leverage seasonal marketing to connect with your audiences. Bringing a little autumn coziness into your marketing strategy is a great way to keep your content fresh and engaging. We’re breaking down key fall trends so you can get inspired for #pumpkinszn.
The pumpkin spice stronghold
You can’t talk about fall without pumpkin spice. The blend of cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg shows up everywhere as soon as the temperature drops. Pumpkin spice has defined fall for hundreds of years–even making an appearance in the first-ever American cookbook in 1796. In 2003, Starbucks released the classic Pumpkin Spice Latte, creating a new generation of pumpkin spice enthusiasts. Merriam-Webster even added pumpkin spice to the dictionary this year.
We added pumpkin spice to the dictionary. Now you can add it to your mug collection.https://t.co/JZrR3eK1AR words pic.twitter.com/uMR6HV9Jhh
— Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) September 9, 2022
With nearly 20 years of pumpkin spice frenzy, it’s natural to wonder if the trend is dying down. We used Sprout Social Listening to gauge public opinion on the flavor. In short, it isn’t going anywhere.
In 2021, Tweets related to pumpkin spice garnered 2.29 million engagements in August alone. This year, engagements hit 2.73 million for a whopping 19% increase. In September 2022, there were almost 4.4 million engagements, making for a 29% increase from September 2021’s numbers. Overall, pumpkin spice engagement is set to hit 15.5 million engagements in 2022. And, sentiment about pumpkin spice is 69% positive. It’s definitely not too late to jump on the pumpkin spice bandwagon.
Capturing the magic of fall: Building your audience’s fall faves
Pumpkin spice isn’t the only thing people love about this season. Fall is a full vibe, with clothing, music, activities and most importantly, emotions attached to it. Tapping into the connection consumers have with the season can yield incredible results. But in order to do that, you have to figure out just what your audience loves about fall.
Anyone else?! 🎃
The aesthetic appreciator
Autumn is undeniably beautiful. Fall scenery Instagram photos basically take themselves, and warm color schemes make everything feel a little cozier. For some audiences, fall is all about visual cues.
With their photos of autumn leaves on the golf green, Golf Digest encouraged audience engagement. Golfers replied with their own fall golf photos and mentioned members of their foursome to reminisce about past games or express excitement about upcoming ones. Golf Digest leaned into the visual aspects of the game to create buzz.
Fall golf is finally here. 😍
(📸: IG/ ohiojohnny) pic.twitter.com/7iyd95ch0K
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigest) September 22, 2022
Since fall marks the beginning of the school year, the aesthetics of academia and autumn have a lot of overlap. The University of South Carolina showed their audience how the changing leaves complement their campus views. Connecting the university with the nostalgia and transitional feelings of fall targets both prospective students and alumni.
It's the first day of fall on the most beautiful college campus in the world. 🍂 pic.twitter.com/kEAdw1mQPv
— University of South Carolina (@UofSC) September 22, 2022
Fall isn’t just about the outdoor views. The indoor ones are just as exciting. The oranges, yellows and reds showing up in nature also show up in the home decor aisle. #FallDecor has over 8 million views on TikTok. Consumers wait all year to decorate their homes for fall, whether they prefer spooky Halloween vibes or wholesome nature nods. Michaels Craft Store joined in on that anticipation and excitement with a TikTok announcing their fall decor drop.
It’s the little things in life 😍✨ #fall #falldecor #makeitwithmichaels #fallproducts
The experience seeker
For some audiences, fall comes with a “must-do” list of pumpkin patches, corn mazes and apple orchards. Tapping into the experiential side of the season is a great way to connect with more active audiences.
Fall leaves make for scenic drives, but they can create magical hikes. Leaf peeping–the term for going to look at foliage–is popular nationwide, with enthusiasts traveling across the country searching for the perfect vista. REI curated a list of fall gear for their audience that’s ready for autumn hikes.
Grab your layers, liquid-holders and loveseats to enjoy the best season. 🍁
— REI (@REI) September 22, 2022
Fall is a time for comfort. Fuzzy blankets, warm drinks and an excuse to use the fireplace are autumnal mainstays for a reason. And curling up with a good book falls right into that category. As readers begin to build their fall bookshelves, Goodreads provided a list of recommendations that pair well with a pumpkin spice latte.
Grab that pumpkin spice latte and curl up with these autumnal faves from past seasons! 📚 🍁 https://t.co/XqkWshPsov pic.twitter.com/D5wxZf4MP3
— Goodreads (@goodreads) September 22, 2022
When the temperature starts dropping, it’s time for comfort food. Fall comes with a designated menu and home chefs are eager to start preparing their favorite dishes. The Kansas Pork Association found a way to tap into their audience’s fall cravings with a relevant chili recipe.
It's the first day of #fall! That means we're cooking black bean pork chili to satisfy those fall food cravings. 🍂🥣🍁
Recipe: https://t.co/LEim7zJaWa#eatpork #fallcomfortfood #fallvibes pic.twitter.com/COgxzQ85ao
— KS Pork Association (@KansasPork) September 22, 2022
The pumpkin connoisseur
As we said before, pumpkin isn’t going anywhere. Whether they’re at a patch or in a pie, people can’t get enough of them. Pumpkins are a fall category of their own. Something about them captures our attention, like the man who claimed a world record this year by paddling 38 miles in a pumpkin boat or the TikTok account where almost 340,000 people watch the process of growing giant pumpkins. Whatever the reason for our pumpkin obsession, pumpkins are a great way to market to your audience this fall.
still growing: 1300 lbs and growing 40+ lbs a day 🎃🕡 #giantpumpkin #timelapse #gardening #plants #garden #halloween #fyp #plantsoftiktok #learnontiktok #pumpkin
It seems like everything has a pumpkin spice edition now. With so many products on the market, it’s hard for consumers to keep track of the seasonal versions they want to try. Target helped out by posting a video overview of the pumpkin spice items available in their store, cluing customers into what’s in season and what’s new.
I’VE BEEN TRYING TO CATCH YOU BOYS ALL DAY 🎃 @bridgetlucille1
When something becomes popular, some people will undoubtedly dislike it. While most consumers think pumpkin spice embodies fall, some people find it overrated. Dunkin’ addressed the pumpkin naysayers in a TikTok that validated everyone who has felt the need to defend their pumpkin love.
How tho?🎃 #pumpkin #pumpkinszn #fall #dunkin #pumpkinspicelatte
Novelty products are nothing new and the pumpkin scene has its fair share. For every coffee creamer or donut flavor, there’s also something unexpected, like a pumpkin spice Cup O’ Noodles. The Washington Post took a humorous approach to covering another oddity, pumpkin spice Spam. They leaned into the absurdity of the product by showcasing a member of their social media team eating it directly from the can.
Is this how ASMR works? #helloautumn #cursedtiktoks #pumpkinspice
Seasonal marketing falls together
Embracing the spirit of fall can have profound impacts on your brand. Associating your brand with fall trends and traditions can turn the emotional ties consumers have with fall into emotional ties with your brand. Seasonal marketing isn’t just about keeping your content calendar current. It’s about relating with your audience’s pre-existing values, interests and sentiments through content that matters to them.
Interested in exploring seasonal marketing? Check out Sprout Social’s free Social Media Holidays Calendar, with details on the most popular hashtag holidays.
Spotify Wrapped: What marketers can learn from the viral campaignPublished on December 7, 2022 Reading time 3 minutes
Data-driven marketing strategy: Why social insights are keyPublished on November 14, 2022 Reading time 4 minutes
Surprise and delight: What it is and brands who get it rightPublished on October 17, 2022 Reading time 7 minutes
10 social media monitoring tools to inform your campaignsPublished on August 17, 2022 Reading time 6 minutes