When it comes to promotional planning for the year people usually start with the key retail seasonal highlights. Of course Christmas is a huge period for most, and the January sales, but what about the rest of the year?
Finding key promotion dates
The best place to start are the most common seasonal holidays and big retail periods; Christmas, Diwali, Valentines Day, Mothers Day, Easter holidays, summer holidays etc
As consumers come to expect deals and offers around specific holidays and therefore competition tends to increase, you may find yourself struggling to compete with the bigger brands out there. This is where knowing your customer well comes in handy, doing something different can often see you changing the landscape with what your key online trading periods actual are.
How flexible are you?
Sometimes opportunities just present themselves and it’s those retailers and their marketing teams that can make big gains here. Take the weather for example, if you have the ability to run a promotional campaign on a product (snow shovels in March anyone?) that could be unexpectedly in high demand all of a sudden, then you will likely be successful.
Ok weather is a typical one, but think of other overnight changes or trends that can happen. Some hot celeb or royal decides that he/she’s going to wear a certain style of coat, or boots or lipstick or baby accessory and suddenly demand goes through the roof.
Lot’s of businesses aren’t able to respond in the way they need to in time and will miss out. Flexibility in your promotional planning is critical to gaining advantage over your competitors.
Creating flex in the plan
Promotional planning is absolutely critical in marketing and not only helps inform the business on a number of levels, finance, product, people, distribution etc. It is also about how the budget will be spread across all the different channels used for promotion over that financial year. Our advice is to create a flex in your budget that can be used to deal with unexpected or last minute opportunities. Have plans in place should this happen so that your marketing team can react and be creative without restrictions and delays usually caused by process. Talk about it with your internal team or external agencies so that everyone is aware of this flexibility, communication is at the heart of all of this.
Coming up with new ideas
Aside from the usual expected key trading periods in the year, when it can also be difficult to compete, what about some new ideas? Here are a few that you can have on us:
- Choose a good cause and promote them with a donation on each sale – this is not only doing good and helping to raise awareness but can also give you access to a bigger database (if they’ll jointly promote) to gain brand awareness you don’t already have.
- Partner up with another brand – you sell hand cream, they sell gloves? double up on the database and exposure as well as sales.
- National awareness days can get large volumes of search traffic and masses of social conversations – can you align your business with one of these and come up with a good offer to celebrate? Here’s a website that has most international awareness days detailed.
- What about celebrating the opposite – Anti-Valentines Day for example?
- Align your business with a community concern, look at your customer profile – do they care about recycling? or fair trade shopping, or veganism?
- Life events – consider what is happening in your target audiences lives at specific times. Are they getting ready to leave for university, travelling around the world, buying a house/car, getting divorced, getting fit? (not necessarily in that order). Can you find out and offer something that hits the spot timing wise?
Some inspiration from the greats
Remember that Dove campaign? real women in white underwear ring any bells? It was over 15 years ago now but the impact of that campaign in identifying that women did not want to be portrayed as stick thin super models in advertising any longer is still felt today. Or the ‘Wasssup’ beer campaign that tapped into the nonsensical language we use when we’re saying hello to friends. Have a look at this site; Adage Top 15, the videos don’t appear for us but the content is great and the stories of how these ad campaigns came about are inspiring, insane and brilliant.
Don’t be afraid to try something new
Taking a new approach to promotions can be pretty nail biting. The important thing here is to remember that you have tried something new to engage your audience. As long as a campaign can be monitored closely and changes made if and when necessary then you have lots you can learn. This kind of activity can also help you open up dialogs with your audience giving you the perfect opportunity to ask for feedback and input into what they actually want from your promotions.
Other articles you may be interested in:
We talked to one young person to find out what inspires and motivates to buy online.
A guide to using influencers to promote your brand
Making sure you do whatever you can to make your visitors have a positive experience with your brand
Understand what makes your customers tick/spend