Merry Christmas? Planning early for holiday marketing takes the Scrooge out of Christmas
Every year the holidays sneak up on me. And every year I tell myself that I am going to prepare earlier. And every year I do prepare earlier and every year it is not quite enough!
I do believe that people are going to spend less this year, but they will still spend. WHERE they spend depends on who markets and who markets the most.
If you rely on holiday income, here are a few things you can do right now:
- Look at your invoices from last year and graph that weekly income starting in October.
- Find the date where the increase begins.
- Set targets for each week for this coming season that are higher than last year’s weekly numbers.
- Figure out what kinds of specials or offers you can promote this year. They are going to have to be better than ever. Look for a loss leader (an item you can break even on or lose on in order to bring people in and get them to spend more once they arrive.) Office Depot does this with copy paper. They lose money on that item, knowing they’ll make it up with other purchases. Have a brainstorming meeting with your sales people and come up with a long list of ideas.
- Mark on your calendar when you want your last piece of promotion to hit your desired market – when you want it to arrive in their mailboxes. This should be minimally the 3rd postcard in the campaign – and the 5th if you really want to outsell your competition this coming season.
- Mark on your calendar one week earlier as your drop dead mail date.
- Do the same thing for each postcard moving backward in time – mail date and a week later hit date.
Each postcard should be ordered a full month before the mail date. Keep your attention on handling the customers stampeding your establishment instead of on whether or not your promotion will be ready on time.
If you have a B2B business that seems to only slow down over the holidays, you should also be preparing. How are you going to ensure that you don’t have another slow season?
We at PostcardMania used to slow down in December, but in the last few years we’ve figured out how to capture a large part of the business we generally wouldn’t get until January. You just need to take a look at your particular business and brainstorm with your people. If every small business owner decides that they are going to do whatever it takes to improve themselves, their work environment, their product, their service, and of course their marketing – as a group we can improve this economy.
The renowned advertising guru Ogilvy said it best when he cited American Press studies in his book OGILVY ON ADVERTISING, showing select companies over the last 6 recessions that had cut their marketing budget – in each case, they suffered lowered sales and net income several years after. Those businesses that continue to promote will pick up all the customers and prospects from their competition that has cut their marketing.