The Secret Weapon of Market Leaders

When I ran radio stations, we used a secret marketing weapon to tap into public trends. This secret weapon enabled us to “read the minds” of clients and listeners. As a result, we sold millions of dollars worth of advertising to our clients. And they sold hundreds of millions of dollars of goods and services to their customers.

This secret weapon is free and available to anyone. Yet few businesses use it.

Copywriters talk a lot about “joining the conversation already taking place in the prospect’s mind.” (This is a phrase loosely borrowed from Robert Collier.) And that’s what this secret weapon allows you to do.

What is this “secret weapon?” The calendar. Tie your marketing efforts to major calendar dates. This will take you a long way toward “joining” that conversation.

People live by the calendar. The year is full of signposts, celebrations, and deadlines. These dates on the calendar drive our decisions and mark our progress through the year. We live from signpost to signpost.

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

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

There are many other signposts 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 it's easy to construct your marketing calendar around them. You want to do that to give people a “reason why.”

John E. Kennedy identified the power of “reason why” copy. They’re more likely to respond to your promotion if you give them a “reason why.” Prospects are more prone to buy if you give them a “reason why.”


Retailers have followed this pattern for so long that we’ve grown accustomed to it. (And they do it with so little imagination!)  They promote: “The January White Sale,” “The Sweetheart Sale” for Valentine’s Day, “Saving the Green Sale” for St. Patrick’s Day, etc. Walk into your local grocer and their displays will tell you what the next holiday is.

The good news for your online business is that all these “old school” ideas work quite well online. And they'll work even better if you can get more creative with them. (For instance, run a “Click Your Treat” promotion around Halloween!) The point is, give your prospects and customers a good reason to visit your website at least once per month.

When you adopt this model, planning your promotional calendar becomes easy. The list above is not a bad start. But if you’re more ambitious, you can select from hundreds of “reasons why” at 2016 Holidays & Observances Calendar.  If you want to, you can find a reason to do a promotion 52 times per year!

You can also borrow ideas for promotions from brick & mortar businesses. These retailers have made an art form of this method. Look at auto dealers, big box stores, and grocery stores in particular. They can supply you with a rich “swipe file” of ideas.

Just visit the website of some of your favorite stores. I guarantee you'll find sales linked to the nearest holiday or calendar signpost. You can also peruse your local newspapers online. Or go to your public library and glean past issues of newspapers. This will provide “swipe files” from which you can build your storehouse of promotions.

Anyone with an online business can use this “secret weapon” to boost promotions and sales!

Which calendar signposts will you use to put this “secret weapon” to use?

Ray Edwards is a world-renowned copywriter and communications strategist, writing for some of the most powerful voices in leadership and business including New York Times bestselling authors Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup for the Soul) and Tony Robbins. Ray is a sought-after speaker and author, hosts a popular weekly podcast, and blogs at