The rhythms of business and marketing

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Most businesses follow a natural rhythm, alternating between successful periods and times of crisis. We see this in large companies, when stock prices soar and fall, or new talent is hired and fired. Similarly, new products are often released to the market in a rhythmic, cyclical, fashion.

The rhythm of business can help us identify what marketing strategies will work now and which techniques are best saved for later. It also provides clues as to how we can best manage challenging times and come back as a stronger team following adversity.

Natural vs. man-made rhythms

Before we look at specific marketing strategies, I briefly want to go over different rhythms that exist in the business world.

First, we have natural rhythms dictated by the time of day or period of the year. Some businesses thrive in a specific season, such as ice-cream vendors benefiting from the heat of summer, or ski schools earning most of their revenue during the cold winter months. Other businesses change their product range throughout the year – a classic example are clothing stores that sell thick coats and long-sleeve shirts in late autumn and stock beachwear just before summer.

We also see businesses that operate from sunrise to sunset and others that attract customers in the depth of the night. Your insurance broker and real estate company could be classic 9-to-5 services, unlike clubs, bars and entertainment that serve clients from the late evening to the early morning.

Meanwhile, some companies are set up for 24/7 access, with supermarkets, call centres and emergency support among those promising constant availability. That said, 24/7 businesses will have still peak times, and periods where demand for their services are relatively low.

Beyond these natural rhythms, businesses may see spikes or dips in sales based on man-made rhythms. Retail stores, for example, may benefit from celebrations such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and local festivities. Some of these festivities are closely linked to natural rhythms.

Synchronicity with natural rhythms

Many historic celebrations, including Christmas, date back to a time when people still observed nature and lived in closer harmony with Earthly cycles than we do today.

Christmas, for example, is celebrated just three days after the Winter solstice, the darkest day of the year on the Northern Hemisphere. And during Ramadan, fasting lasts from dawn to sunset, which is determined by the position of the sun.

From a spiritual perspective, it is however, interesting to note that there is almost always some sort of shift between the natural and man-made rhythm. For example, people celebrate the New Year 12 days after the winter solstice, which is the natural point when a new growth cycle starts.

Similarly, people only eat at night during Ramadan, which is the exact opposite of what we are biologically wired to do.

This false synchronicity can sap people’s energy and interfere with their own empowerment, making them more susceptible to buying or doing things they don’t actually need. Companies who invest heavily in marketing and sales following these man-made rhythms may see higher revenue numbers in the short-term, but ultimately, also experience the same drain in energy (= money) as their customers.

Here’s a simple way in which this can manifest: A company launches a special Christmas campaign. They are trying to get their product on the top of their customers’ minds in early December. And they compete for attention with other brands, who also want to promote their offering at this time of the year. Thanks to the fierce competition, the company has to shell out more for advertising for each unit of revenue than if they launched their campaign in a different month, for example, June, in line with nature’s rhythms.

Companies can work with in sync with the cycles of nature, and time marketing activities to match the natural flow of their brand, organisation, product and industry.

Marketing activities and rhythm

One way in which natural rhythms can support the marketer are that they can help us find a good time for launching new products, campaigns and promotions.

Marketing throughout the year

The time between the winter and summer solstice is when trees grow, flowers blossom, and nature receives a renewed sense of energy. This is ideal for promoting products that share qualities such as expansion, growth and youthful exploration. For example, communications, financial investment products, and construction or physical goods production can be marketed well during this time of the year.

The same qualities are useful for marketing activities with expansive, communicative or exploratory qualities, such as:

  • Launching new products
  • Starting a new campaign
  • Entering another market or segment
  • Interviewing customers
  • Experimenting with new communication channels

As days become shorter following the summer solstice, we see nature retreat: trees shed their leaves, and animals find shelter for cold winter nights. This energy of withdrawal and introspection is ideal for promoting products that encourage reflection, preparation and rest. Spiritual offerings, such as meditation, as well as candles, or holidays in rural nature may thrive during this time.

Businesses with more expansive, outward focussed products, can still use this time to improve or maintain existing marketing activities and strategize for their period of growth in spring and early summer. This also fits with the energetic frequency of this time of the year, which is suited for marketing activities with reflective, inward-focussed qualities, such as:

  • Reflecting on prior marketing campaigns
  • Improving on existing marketing content
  • Clearing out old marketing material
  • Planning and strategizing over future marketing activities
  • Investing in training and development for your marketing team

Marketing in tune with astrological cycles

Beyond these over-arching macro-rhythms that can apply to whole industries or sectors, we also have unique cycles that manifest at the level of an individual business. There are many ways we can find and work with these unique rhythms, but the easiest for me is astrology – or specifically looking at transits of the major planets to the natal chart of a business.

Planetary cycles in business astrology

In astrology, each planet passes through the zodiac in a certain period of time. For example, Jupiter takes approximately 12 years to come full circle, Uranus needs 84 years, and Pluto tops the list at 248 years.

The placement of each of these planets in a company’s horoscope and especially the transits to the planets in the “birth chart” of a company allow to us to understand what cycles a company is currently going through.

For example, OpenAI released its new bot service ChatGPT to the market on November 30, 2022 just four days after transiting Pluto formed a perfect trine with the North Node in OpenAI’s founding chart.

The symbolism here is clear: Pluto, the planet of complete transformation works in a structured, systematic way (in Capricorn) to strengthen the North Node (=mission, destination) of professional accomplishment and service (Virgo).

And indeed, we are already seeing some of this potential. From writing code and sales page copy to taking on mundane tasks and creative pursuits – technology such as that provided by ChatGPT can be of great service to people (North Node in Virgo) and complete change the structure and rules (Pluto in Capricorn) in the workplace (Virgo).

Jupiter cycles

Jupiter, the planet of expansion, spends about 1 year in each sign of the zodiac. Here’s what you might expect or be able to do marketing-wise when Jupiter transits each sign:

Jupiter transits Aries

When Jupiter transits Aries, you can be more actionable with your marketing. This is a great time for being bold, launching new campaigns and strengthening your company’s identity.

Jupiter transits Taurus

When Jupiter transits Taurus in your company’s chart, you may see a change in your marketing budget and the resources you have available. Regardless of the financial situation your business is in, this time is great for strategically investing money in ideas that worked well in the previous year and building marketing assets (e.g. presentations, sales page copy) that are meant to become lasting money drivers.

Jupiter transits Gemini

When Jupiter transits Gemini in your company’s chart, you might start communicating on new channels, or become more playful with your language and house style. You can also use this period to invest in learning and upskilling the team, or communicating with other people and teams to take your marketing up a notch.

Jupiter transits Cancer

When Jupiter transits Cancer, you might emphasise nurturing relationships with prospects and customers in your marketing activities. You can use this time to create a new email funnel for existing newsletter subscribers, host a webinar, or do anything else that helps bring you and your (potential) customers closer together.

Jupiter transits Leo

When Jupiter transit Leo, you might wish to act as a thought leader in your industry, by sharing new concepts or ideas with prospects and customers. A Jupiter in Leo transit is suited for all promotional activities where your brand or company is in the spotlight. I do recommend being mindful of how you enter that spotlight – do you do so from a place of love and appreciation for the people you work with?

Jupiter transits Virgo

A transit of Jupiter in Virgo is great for activities that involve cleaning up, organising or structuring information. You can use this time to reorganise how you store sales copy, fix design files, clear out old marketing materials or improve the quality of your lead lists.

Jupiter transits Scorpio

A Jupiter in Scorpio transit is a time of deep analysis and reflection. You might wish to use this transit to review the performance of marketing projects or dig deep into the psychology of your customers to expand existing marketing research. This is also a great time to let go of marketing concepts and activities that don’t benefit your business.

Jupiter transits Sagittarius

Jupiter in Sagittarius transits are great times to travel. Why not use this to invite customers to come to your office for an event? Or let your team visit a conference so they can explore what is happening in the marketing world? Beyond physical travel, transiting Jupiter in Sagittarius also encourages philosophical conversations with colleagues – perhaps allowing you to develop a new vision for your brand.

Jupiter transits Capricorn

During a Jupiter in Capricorn transit, you can work on long-term projects that require persistence and focus to pull off. At this time, steady and consistent growth in a few areas of marketing is better than dabbling with 20 ideas at once.

Jupiter in Capricorn allows you to lay the foundation for future growth – for example, by defining rules, procedures and ways of working that can serve you and your team long-term.

Jupiter transits Aquarius.

Aquarius represents revolutionary ideas, and marketing at this time improve when you go beyond conventional wisdom and explore unchartered territory. This may involve experiments with novel marketing tech – from filming equipment or software to new digital distribution channels.

Jupiter in Aries also puts communities and teams in the spotlight, allowing you to work with a wider network of different people, or find new, better ways of collaboration.

Jupiter transits Pisces

A Jupiter in Pisces transit brings metaphysical elements, spiritual experiences and ‘hidden’ ideas into focus. This time lends itself well to marketing communications that resonate with customers’ secret dreams or are somehow connected to the subconscious realm. Values such as empathy, peace and compassion may be at the forefront of marketing messaging.

During this transit, you may also wish to reflect on previous marketing campaigns and their emotional impact on your audience. This allows you to move forward with a clearer sense of direction once Jupiter moves into Aries.

Saturn cycles

Saturn, the planet of rules, structures, and a higher order, spends between 2,5 and three years in each zodiac sign. When Saturn transits a particular sign, it tests how well companies embody the underlying principles of that sign in their operations.

For example, a Saturn in Virgo transit may ‘nudge’ a company to be more meticulous in following government rules, or set up healthier corporate structures.

From a marketing perspective, Saturn calls for an honest evaluation of whether communication about the area, through which the planet transits, matches with the company’s values. Any misalignment may need to be corrected at this time, while sincerity and down-to-earth communication is rewarded.

Uranus cycles

Uranus, the planet of innovation, technology and community, spends around 7 years in each zodiac sign. A Uranus transit invites companies to free themselves from structures and ways of working that have outgrown their purpose in the sign and house where the transit takes place.

A Uranus in Gemini transit, for example, can be a great time for a marketing department to move from its legacy tech stack to more efficient technologies. The same transit could also manifest as an invitation to experiment with new communication channels or content formats.

Case study: Transit Uranus in Taurus trine Sun in Virgo

I used to work with a medium-sized software company, where Uranus in Taurus trined Sun in Virgo in the company’s founding chart. Generally, a Uranus in Taurus transit invites companies to change how they create value – for example, by offering more practical, up-to-date solutions for customers and taking pragmatic steps to innovate.

Sun in Virgo in this company’s chart suggests that corporate identity centres around reliability, and is supported by a highly analytical team. In fact, after just a few years of operation, the company hired a core team of three business analysts tasked with consistently reporting and evaluating performance of systems, people and processes.

The aspect between Uranus and the Sun shows that during the time of this transit, the company could change its value creation process to reinforce core strengths such as reliability and helpfulness. And indeed, the company decided to create a new product development team, to rebuild core services from scratch in such a way that they can scale efficiently while maintaining its 99% uptime guarantee.

Neptune cycles

Neptune is ruled by Pisces, the sign of reflection, spirituality and transcendence. The planet takes around 14 years to pass through each zodiac sign.

The Neptune transit in Pisces (2012 – 2026) invites us collectively to sharpen our senses, develop our intuition and bring forward real peace. It can however, also make us more susceptible to manipulation and addiction.

How this transit manifests in your company depends on which house transiting Neptune falls in and what aspects it makes to planets in the founding chart.

Pluto cycles

Pluto has a slow, elliptical orbit, and takes anywhere between 12 and 31 years to pass through a zodiac sign. In that sign, Pluto brings a profound transformative energy and challenges us to confront changes in structures and power dynamics.

The Pluto transit in Capricorn (2008-2024) put leadership and influence in government institutions, businesses and large-scale organisations into focus. We’ve seen wealthy individuals and politicians enter the spotlight to control people’s day-to-day routines, as well people empowering themselves to make decisions that challenge central authorities.

How Pluto transits manifest at the company level depends again, on the house they fall in and the aspects to planets in the founding chart.

Case Study: Transit Pluto in Capricorn conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn

To give you an idea of how to analyse a Pluto transit in business, let’s look at the founding chart of BioNTech, the pharmaceutical company that developed a vaccine that was promoted against COVID-19. I’m using the chart of December 11, 2008, when the pharmaceutical company adopted the name BioNTech AG.

Using this chart, we can see a Pluto transit conjunct Jupiter in Capricorn from early March 2020 until about October 2021. One manifestation of transiting Pluto conjunct Jupiter is extreme growth, accompanied in this case by a rise in power and authority (Capricorn).

Indeed, during this transit, BioNTech partnered with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer to sell and distribute its mRNA vaccine. The company’s shares were publicly traded and reached a peak just above 300€ per share in the fall of 2021.

Alongside the financial success shown, the pharmaceutical company also held unprecedented influence over public health and policy during this transit.

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