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It’s October. Things are starting to get busy for everyone. Daylight Savings has started so people are spending more time outside while it’s light. The weather is starting to get warmer as we run into summer. Labour Day, the last public holiday before Christmas, will be here before you know it. And the last semester of the school year is about to start so the older kids are studying for exams and are out and about in town when they aren’t. Some shops are doing Halloween and others have already started doing their run up to Christmas. This is also the last month to get your marketing sorted not only for the run up to Christmas for the new year and beyond, and I’m going to tell you why.
Why should you be planning for 2016 when it’s still a ¼ of the year away? Because the next five months are both the busiest and quietest times of the year for a lot of small business.
First and foremost you are going to be busier as Christmas comes closer. If you are in retail you will have more people coming in spending money filling up your day (if you have done your marketing right by following the advice in this blog.) If you are in the trades, this is where you start winding up contracts before the Christmas shutdown, and everyone starts wanting these last little jobs tied up before they go on holidays. Even in white collar jobs you will get busier as the holidays come and your clients want to wrap things up before the December wind-down. If you are busy dealing with your day-to-day business operation you won’t have the time to deal with your marketing, so it makes sense to prep it all now while you still have time to spare for it.
Printing companies get their busiest for the run up to Christmas. Everyone is doing the most heaviest marketing at this time and that means lots of flyers, cataloges, calendars and even good old fashioned Christmas cards. While we all try to get people’s work done as fast as we can, there are always cues that this time of year which can result in longer than normal production time. This means that you have to wait longer that could spoil your marketing, pay a steep markup to have it rushed, or not even be accepted as they are at full capacity and can’t take on any more work. If you want to avoid all of this plan your marketing with a greater lead in time to allow for the delays you may have in getting things printed.
Want to have things sent to customers by post (permit or otherwise) or have things delivered to mailboxes? Things will get busier as we reach peak postage season, especially when the Christmas cards start flying. Also bear in mind that the majority of public and regional holidays happen between October and February, which will delay post and deliveries even more.
People with kids will start cutting back on non essential spending from November onwards. It’s not just saving money for gifts, they need money to pay for kids activities to keep them busy when the schools start shutting down. This cut back will run till the end of January so plan for that to remind people to spend money with you, especially if you are in an industry that is kid/teenage friendly when you should be advertising the most you can.
Then there is the big one. The Christmas shutdown, where most businesses close for at least two weeks; from Christmas eve to the Monday after New Year’s Day. A lot of places close for three or even four weeks still, just out of practicality. Unless you are dealing with a retail or service industry, most places are going to be closed or maybe operating on a skeleton staff during the period, so if you want to order printing, promotional items or get marketing done, you may be out of luck. When the businesses start back up again there’s normally a 1-2 week period where things aren’t operating at their full capacity as it takes time to get systems up and running again. A lot of businesses take this period to do improvements in their operations and equipment during the ‘quiet’ time so they may be limited in what they can do for you.
So I’ve talked about why you may be limited in your marketing options for the next 5 months, now I need to talk about how to deal with it. Simple: plan now and book early. You are far more likely to get your marketing ready on time and out to the public quickly if you plan and start it now. It could mean printing your flyers a month early and sitting on them till the time you have booked the distribution. It may mean planning promotions that have a summer-long deal period, so you have flexibility of when they go out if you can’t get a guarantee of a particular day. If you want to tie promos to certain days, be mindful of where they fall, for instance Boxing Day falls on a Saturday in 2015 so there’s a mondised public holiday that follows on the 28th so setup the event for a 3 day weekend and make sure you have them out to everyone by the 21st. Internet based promotions aren’t tied to physical limitations of the real world and can be preprogrammed to go out months in advance. It can be as simple as few well timed emails or detailed as a full promotional campaign. (We use this quite a bit ourselves so we help you if you are interested in setting up a system for your own, call Copy Express to find out more.) This is just a start, if you want to know more have a read of these other articles we have written on marketing, or contact us at Copy Express and we can help you plan for the busiest and quietest time of the year.