Marketing By Number

We live by the calendar.

Our year is marked by signposts.

Dates on the calendar around which we plan our annual journey.

In the USA, some of the major calendar signposts include:

•    New Year’s Day
•    SuperBowl Sunday
•    Valentine’s Day
•    St. Patrick’s Day
•    Easter
•    Memorial Day
•    Mother’s Day
•    Father’s Day
•    Independence Day
•    Back to School
•    Labor Day
•    Halloween
•    Veteran’s Day
•    Thanksgiving
•    Christmas

There are many others, of course, and your list will vary depending on your cultural and religious background.

The point is, the major signposts are easy to identify. And easy to construct a marketing calendar around. What’s the point of that?

We copywriters talk a lot about “joining the conversation already taking place in the prospect’s mind” (a phrase borrowed from Robert Collier).

When you tie your marketing efforts to major mindset changing calendar dates, you go a long way toward “joining” that conversation.

John E. Kennedy identified the power of “reason why” copy: prospects are more likely to respond if you give them a reason why they should. They’re more likely to pay attention to your promotion if you give them a “reason why” you’re doing the promotion to begin with.

Retailers have done this so long (and with so little imagination) we’ve grown accustomed to it. (“The January White Sale”… “The Sweetheart Sale” for Valentine’s Day… “Saving the Green” sales for St. Patrick’s Day… etc.).

The good news for your online business is that all of these “old school” ideas work very well online. And if you can get a little more creative with them (for instance, having a “Click Your Treat” promotion around Halloween) they work even better.

The point is: give your prospects and customers a new reason to visit your website at least once per month.
Planning your promotional calendar becomes very easy when you adopt this model. The list above is not a bad start.

If you’re more ambitious, you can select from hundreds of “reasons why” at 2010 Holidays & Observances Calendar … and have a reason to do a promotion 52 times per year.

Need ideas about what sort of promotions to do? Borrow ideas from the businesses that have made an art form of this method: brick & mortar retailers. Car dealers, big box stores, and grocery stores in particular will supply you with a rich “swipe file” of ideas.

Just visit your local library (yes, they still exist) and get the back issues of your local newspaper’s Sunday issues (it’ll have the most ads) for the last year. You’ll have 52 “mini-swipe files” to build your library of promotions from.

What do you suppose might happen to your sales and profits then?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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One thought on “Marketing By Number

  1. This is very simple advice, but it's always the simple stuff we look over. Very logical, but its true that the internet offers new and inventive ways to tweek old, offline themes. In my estimation, I think this is where a lot of businesses miss the boat; they get so caught up on jumping on the latest trends that they forget about the staples companies have been using for decades. Part of this, I must say, is due to the proliferation of “gurus” (yeah, I know this is a topic you've already touched on but it bears mentioning). This internet marketing space is becoming so crowded and filled with so many voices that it gets very confusing, and before you know it you're trying to keep up with the joneses for fear of falling behind. When all that really ends up doing is putting you further behind because you never took the time to asess your unique situation and determine what the best course of action is. Maybe that PPC campaign money would have been better spent on an ad in a trade journal. Bottom line: the things that have stood the test of time are effective for a reason. Use technology as a tool, but the best of tools is your mind. Use it!