Well, we’ve done it. Another holiday shopping season has come to an end, and aside from a few last-last-last minute shoppers, discount deal hunters, and people who never let a gift card get cold in their pocket, things will be a little calmer for the next few weeks for most businesses. That makes it the ideal time to work on your 2017 plans.
Creating Your Promotional Calendar: What You Need To Know
An effective marketing campaign takes six to eight weeks to resonate fully with your existing customers and to do what it can to attract new buyers to your brand. In the course of a year, that means you have enough time for six full sized campaigns. Block out your holiday campaigns as well as any annual events you have now; this will leave most established businesses with between 4-5 slots to fill.
It’s a good idea to review any annual campaigns your partner vendors participate in. Leaving space on the calendar to promote those sales events allows you to benefit from their creative efforts and reduces the amount of messaging you will need to create on your own. For example, in October, numerous brands in every industry will participate in Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns. Knowing this allows you to block out that time on your promotional calendar – even in you don’t have specific event details available yet, you have reasonable confidence they will be forthcoming and can reserve space for them.
After this stage, you may have 3-4 slots left available for your own unique campaigns and promotions. There are two routes to creating campaigns to keep in mind here: the shiny and the substantial.
Shiny campaigns focus on what’s new, hot, and exciting. Apparel, jewelry, and media stores can all benefit from shiny campaigns: if your customers are trend watchers, plan on scheduling events around new line launches, seasonal changes, and film, book or album debuts. Event marketing works really well for shiny campaigns: people enjoy being part of the excitement. Invite customers to an in-store costume party, host trunk shows, bring rock star authors in – these campaigns definitely take a lot of work, but when well-promoted they can be well worth it and play a vital role in transforming individual businesses into destination locations.
Substantial campaigns address the tried and true essentials of your business; those products and services that transcend trends and fads, remaining always desirable. Sometimes these categories get taken for granted. Reminding people of the full scope of your offerings, as well as compelling details about each, can result in increased sales. Make full use of the power of content marketing during your substantial campaigns: today’s customers value genuine expertise, whether that’s shared via blog articles, social media posts, videos and more.
The decision to host a shiny or substantial campaign depends largely on your business type and brand personality: we’ve found a mix of both to be most effective for most B2C businesses. B2B tends to skew more substantial in nature. Work with your team to determine the remaining 3-4 campaigns you’ll run during 2017.
At this point, you have a first draft of a year long promotional calendar. Nothing is ever fixed in stone, but it’s very helpful to have a loose plan to get started with. Taking the time to do even minimal planning now will help streamline content collection and creation for all needed marketing materials in the year to come!