Preparing Your Business For January
Why Worry About January During the Holiday Season?
Over the first couple of weeks of December, I have been in meetings and had telephone discussions with clients who have no interest in targeting their promotional efforts for the holiday season. They have, instead, chosen to focus their efforts on promoting websites during the month of January.
At first, I found the logic very confusing based on a common misconception. Why market during the month of January? Most people tend to have a “post-holiday hangover”. They’ve spent hundreds, and in many cases thousands, of dollars on presents. They’ve spent time with their loved ones. The parties have come and gone.
Upon thinking about the logic from a different angle, a unique opportunity for the savvy North American marketer revealed itself.
The month of January presents a unique opportunity for intelligent entrepreneurs. Because of the increase in business that the holiday season provides, most businesses tend to neglect or reduce their marketing efforts throughout the winter months, electing to focus their energy on the spring and summer months instead.
Many companies will launch new campaigns during the Super Bowl in order to take advantage of the international mass exposure created by the annual NFL football climax. However, this is a highly expensive proposition and as a result of the budgetary constraints and risk such advertising presents, these companies will often elect to minimize or halt all other advertising efforts until the Super Bowl itself.
Since the Super Bowl occurs on either the final Sunday in January or the first Sunday in February, a huge 4-week marketing gap occurs for a company that chooses to take advantage of it.
Companies with business-to-business products and services can take advantage of the month of January to release these products and services as well. Many companies and organizations, such as school boards and some manufacturing plants, give their employees a paid 2-week Christmas vacation. As a result, these employees return to work rested, alert, and more receptive to new ideas and ways to better improve efficiency. In fact, many companies use the winter months for the purposes of making their operations more efficient and profitable.
This article will focus on two companies as case studies. The first company, Hibiscus Florals, is an online silk wedding florist targeting North American brides-to-be. The second, Innovolve, is a Canadian conference, event, and association management company specializing in sustainable business growth.
Hibiscus Florals co-owner Mark Morkowski has been an extremely busy man during the last few weeks. “Many of our brides begin preparations for their weddings just after the holiday season,” says Mark. “This means that the first three months of a new year are a peak season for our silk wedding flowers, and it is crucial that we are prepared to both attract and accept the potential business that can be generated in this period.”
“The month of December is being used exclusively to prepare for the New Year.”
Some of the things Hibiscus Florals are doing to prepare include:
Online marketing and promotion. “We’re doing everything in our power to make sure our website is visible in as many ways as possible,” says Mark. “Our market has such a large geographic base that we cannot possibly reach all of them via conventional offline means.”
“We have customers from all over Canada and the United States, from Hawaii to Newfoundland, and our website and email marketing efforts are crucial to our overall business plan.”
New products. “We’re in the final stages of preparing some unique new collections for our brides. We’ve decided to create more silk flower wedding packages, based on the feedback we have received and some commonalities among customer requests.” Visiting suppliers. “Many of our suppliers have beautiful new products that are now available to us, and we need to stock up as much as possible to ensure that we have enough supply to service our customer needs over the next few months.” Updating prices. “Fluctuations in the base cost of our products, such as the rising costs of natural resources and transportation, have led to the need to adjust our prices for the 2006 year.” A Christmas vacation. “We want to be well-rested and alert for the New Year, so we’re going to take some time off ourselves to recuperate our minds and bodies and be better able to serve our customers.”
“A rest at Christmas time isn’t always for businesses to recover from their holiday rush. It’s for businesses to prepare for a rush as well.”
It looks like Hibiscus Florals will be very well-prepared for January.
Dr. Anthony Watanabe is the president of Innovolve, a progressive young conference management agency. The month of December is being used as a reorganization and preparation month for Innovolve, in order for the company to be prepared for their upcoming conferences and other projects.
What types of things are Anthony and Innovolve doing to prepare for January?
Rebranding. “We’re redoing all of our marketing materials, such as our logo and website, to ensure that our image and core beliefs as a company are accurately reflected. We look forward to the launch of our new-look corporate image in 2006, and we believe our target market will be very receptive to our message.” Finishing of existing projects. “We’re in the final stages of completion on our Sustainable Business Resource Centre website, and we’ll be launching it in late 2005 to early 2006.” New and existing client preparation. “We’re going to be working on some exciting new projects involving graphic and web design for forward-thinking companies, as well as organizing unique and informative conferences in such fields as sustainability, green building, and business networking.” Marketing preparation. “When we’re done with our rebranding efforts, we look forward to promoting them both online and offline. We’re in the process of developing a campaign to that end, as well as for those clients whose sites will be completed in the New Year.”
Hibiscus Florals and Innovolve are two companies that are prepared to take advantage of the unique opportunities that preparing for January provides. Shouldn’t you be taking advantage of these opportunities as well?
Adam Senour is the owner of ADAM Web Design, a leading web design and development company in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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