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The following is my 12-month promotional marketing calendar. Keep it handy, as you’ll need to refer to it throughout the coming year when forecasting your promotional messages. By no means is this list exhaustive. In fact, you should add to it based on your industry-related activities. There are many holidays throughout the year that may be a natural tie-in with your product or service, such as National Book Week in January, if you’re an author or editorial-related service or American Heart Month in February, if you sell health-related services or products.
My calendar list focuses on the major holidays when most Americans have been trained to spend extra money or participate in a ceremonial activity. Generally speaking, you want to link your marketing promotions to a time of year when customers have their wallets out. Thus, you’re simply positioning your product or service as the perfect gift or solution for the celebrated event.
You can never be too early in preparing your marketing campaigns. For example, in order for the typical small business owner to prepare for a Valentine’s Day direct mail campaign, you’ll need to get most of your materials printed and ready to go by the third week in January and in the mailstream by the last week in January, certainly no later than the first week in February. I recommend you plan two months in advance. Thus, you should start planning your Mother’s Day campaign in early March. Obviously, the more involved the campaign, the more lead time. What’s more, some advertising vehicles have extensive lead times, specifically magazines that need your camera-ready ad approximately 6 weeks [possibly more or less] before publication, and newspaper inserts also require a reservation approximately 6-8 weeks before publication.
Your promotional angle is the key to standing out from your competition. People are going to buy gifts at Christmas, without a doubt. But what makes your service or product so interesting, that shoppers should hand over their money to you instead of the myriad of other stores? Find a creative answer, and you’ll grow your business.
– Valentine’s Day — Launch your marketing messages the last week in January. **Popular Gift- giving Time**
– April Fools Day
– Daylight Savings Begins
– Easter **Popular Gift-giving Time**
– Mother’s Day — Launch your marketing messages approximately 3 weeks before. **Popular Gift-giving Time**
– Father’s Day **Popular Gift-giving Time** Launch your marketing messages approximately 3 weeks before.
– Independence Day
– Dog days of summer
– Back to School — Marketing messages can continue through the first week of September.
– Labor Day
– Columbus Day
– Halloween **Popular Gift-giving Time**
– Thanksgiving **Popular Gift-giving Time**
– Election Day
– Christmas Day **Popular Gift-giving Time**