Dealing with dates and how to pick the right one

Posted on August 10th, 2015 | Tags: Promotion

There is more to coming up with a deal for a promotion. There is chosing the right type of design to highlight the deal the best light and to match it to the target market. You should also be considering how many of the flyers need to be printed and how the deal gets distributed to your potential customers. Finally you really have to consider when the promotion is to happen and when it gets out to the potential customers, because picking the wrong dates can kill your sales or affect how timely your promotion is. This article is all about picking the right times for your promotions and how to plan for them.

Timing promotions is all about matching you to your customers needs. The classic examples of this is promoting gardening products in Spring, or ‘kids are half price’ deals during the school holidays. So heres a few common dates to be aware of when planning your promotions

The Christmas-New-Year shut down

For those of us old enough to remember when stores didn’t open on the weekends, the Christmas & New Year shut down was a month long period where the large numbers of business were closed. In the 21st Century 7 day a week shopping environment, this largely a thing of the past, but with both Christmas and New Years both being 2 day public holidays a lot of the non-retail business are closed for those two weeks as it’s not economic to be open. If you are a supplier to many of these business allow for those two weeks. I would also recommend allowing a week or two before and after this period as most business start winding down before the holiday and it takes time to get back up to speed after it. If you are a retailer, in entertainment or a service industry, then this is a time to really promote yourself as people will be looking for things to do and are still in the spending mood post Christmas.

Statutory Holidays – floating

When I talk about floating holidays, I am referring to holidays that are tied not to an exact calendar date but a given period, ie Labour Day always falls on the fourth Monday in October. These are: Good Friday, Easter Monday, Queen’s Birthday, Labour Day, and all Provincial Anniversary Days. They always give people a long weekend so it’s a good time to do promotions that make use of that leisure time. With Provincial Anniversary Days, the public holiday only applies to that province, so unless you are planning nation wide marketing, only the local one will affect your business.

Statutory Holidays – fixed

Fixed holiday always occur on a given date. This means that the day of the week where it falls varies from year to year. Under the current labour laws, they also have a ‘Mondayised’ version depending on how they fall. This means that if the holiday falls on a weekend then the following Monday/Tuesday becomes a public holiday. These days are: New Year’s Day, Day after New Year’s Day, Waitangi Day, ANZAC Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day. There are special rules about how each of these days are applied in an employment sense, but in marketing terms: run a one day promotion if they fall on a Tuesday-Thursday, otherwise plan for a long weekend.

School Holidays

While not public holidays, parents’ spending changes markedly by the effect of their kids being out of school for two or more weeks. The nature of the business you are in effects what amount of marketing you should be doing. If you have kid/family friendly services then you should have been heavily promoting up to and including the school holiday. If you are a B2B business you might find it is worth while to scale your marketing back during this time as many small business only spend on the essentials during those times. Having said all that, you will often find that these holidays will have public holidays within them, so it’s still worth while to plan marketing for those days alone.

National Events

There are quite a few national events that will have people celebrating and spending money, so you should be planning marketing for it if the event relates to your business. While they are not holidays, many people treat them as such so it’s worth exploring them. Three examples are the: Field Days in Hamilton, which is the go to place for primary industries to do business, the Rugby 7’s in Wellington, and Matariki – Māori New Year which is becoming a big cultural event. There are many other cultural festivals, some are religious and others relate to nation/ethnic/social group. If you want to do marketing for these sort of ‘holidays’ is a personal choice but it’s worth spending an hour or two researching them to see if there’s opportunity to do business.

Local Events

Not holidays as such but they can have an effect on your business by either drawing customers away from where you are located or bringing them to you. If you are a retailer, it’s a good idea to know when local events like street fairs are taking place to plan for the extra foot traffic. If you are someone who sells products direct, it can be worth while setting up a booth or stall at an event where you can demonstrate your product/service to potential clients, get contact details to follow up afterwards, and even make a few sales.

Other ‘Events’

Things like Daylight Savings changeover, the start of each season, even things like the start and end of sport seasons, they can have an effect on what sells and what you should promote.  Sometimes you can even just have a made up holiday like ‘Mid-winter Christmas’ to tie a marketing event too. It’s about doing something memorable so they think of you when they think of that product or service even if you don’t make the sale with that promotion.

This is just a starting point on how to pick the right dates for your promotion. We have had experience here at Copy Express in the art of tying promotions to events in the calendar so why not contact us to give you advice on when is the best time for you marketing.

Where to find important dates

  • NZ public holidays – the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment has a web page devoted to when every national holiday falls and is when it is observed for the next four years.
  • School Holidays are listed on the Ministry of Education website. This is a general guide as schools have flexibility of when their semester dates apply so contact your local schools if you are planning to target them specifically.
  • To find out what local events are happening in your town or district, visit either the city/district council websites or the local newspapers websites.