“Happy New Year!” is something you generally hear in January. You start seeing and hearing ads for a New Year Sale, New Year Celebration, New Year; New You, etc. often on December 26th. From a timing standpoint that makes sense. Even though buyers are conditioned to understand it is a gimmick, they tend to respond like Pavlov’s Dog.
But, it is the other New Year you should be aware of. We at Good Marketing Group circle it on our calendars as “The Marketing New Year.” This is an important date. It floats slightly each year, but it is always the same time, the Tuesday after Labor Day. We have discussed this before and even wrote about it years ago, but it is always a relevant topic this time of year.
Why? Summer breaks and laid-back summer living are over. Kids have returned or will be returning to school. Extra spending on family summer vacations, ice cream and theme parks to create memories is done for this year and thoughts return to normal daily life. Purchasing schoolbooks, college tuition, clothes, change of weather, the pet’s vet appointments begin to fill calendars.
It also means target audiences are back home, approachable and thinking again about the dishwasher they hate because the glasses always have spots. And they still may think it is just the dishwasher, not the water.
Yes, the “Marketing New Year” is important. Unlike the festivities in January, which normally focus on healthy you and making change, we are saying, get back to normal and start thinking about stuff again. And most people do. For many of us, myself included, it becomes a time to address the things we went to the mountains, the beach or another place to forget.
You should have already laid the groundwork for your fall marketing campaigns. As hard as this is to write, the holidays will be here before you know it. Spotted glasses, crusty shower heads and dirty appliances can be embarrassing to homeowners hosting guests. Are you ready now to hit your prospects before they panic?
Washing machines and water heaters go into overdrive with sports, events, meetings and activities. Appliance life, detergent savings and healthy drinking water for active family members are hot topics. Then there is the inevitability of changing weather and runoff into wells and municipal water systems creating odors, discoloration and more. All of which are coming soon.
These are all great topics that most people do not actively think about, but your messaging and plan for the 4th quarter should grab them as soon as they notice and look for help. Just think about all the other messages coming at your prospects and customers when that calendar hits September. The competition for attention is high.
Here is an example of Marketing New Year planning that everyone can relate to. After the 4th of July, you generally notice a gradual transition in retailers from American flags, bathing suits and outdoor living to folders, long pants and school supplies. By August, even finding tiki torch fluid is a challenge. Retailers know how to plan. Take a cue from their well-funded marketing departments to be ready when demand hits. You should be ready to get your fall marketing flowing now.
Of course, we covered many of the standard messages above, but there are always boil alerts, groundwater warnings in the news and more. I can’t tell you what water issues will come up in the fall, but I can tell you that media companies sit on juicy stories until September whenever possible. Why? Because they know viewers are home and thinking about life again. And that means more number and more ad revenue.
It is important to consider that whether you manage your own marketing or have a professional do it for you, the right mix doesn’t just happen overnight. New or updates to your brand, creative and messaging take time along with revisions and approvals. Topics that seemed to be relevant last spring or even now may become irrelevant as fall rolls on and you need to be ready with messaging. If you didn’t plan already, that’s ok. Get on it now and remember for next year. If you have, then good job.
Always start planning for September and fall early, when possible. Creating and scheduling those campaigns, social media messaging, direct mail and even a new website roll out for fall takes time. Remember in business, there are two kinds of companies: the quick and the dead. The economy is slowing, and spending is going to become less discretionary. Be sure to be there when your prospects and customers need to spend arises. Be sure it is with you and not your competitor. I hope you have prepared or put this planning into high gear. Let’s all celebrate the Marketing New Year together.