There is a debate whether St. Valentine’s Day is a “Hallmark Holiday.” Some regard it as a made up holiday, much like Grandparents’ Day, Secretary Day and Sweetest Day, where companies like Hallmark commercially benefit. Hallmark denies such marketing prowess on it’s website, citing the history of the holiday, dating back to 498 AD. In either case, it should be noted – and hard to place a value on – a company is associated with several holidays.
This got your Guerrilla Marketer thinking…
How can this concept help drive your business? What “holiday” can you create which will generate buzz, increase awareness and drive traffic?
You may have already done the “Anniversary Sale,” or “Customer Appreciation Day.” Those are okay. However, I’m thinking larger. How can you turn a nationally recognized day, and turn it into your own?
For example, I know on the first day of Spring, Rita’s will give out free Italian Ice to everyone. Every year, this is their big push to let the community know they are open for business. In fact, this year is their 25th Anniversary of hosting this event – at now over 600 locations in 30 states and five countries. There will be lines of people, even in cold weather, waiting for their free cone. People driving by will wonder what is going on, perhaps noticing the location for the first time. And, for those who went last year, many will now associate the first day of Spring with this chain.
So, what holiday or nationally recognized day or date can you use to associate with your business?
Can the first days of Summer, Fall or Winter tie in to your business?
What about changing of the clocks? We all know to change the batteries in our smoke alarms thanks to great PR but, is there something that can be associated with your business? Spring Forward or Fall Back make for great sales event themes.
Perhaps every Friday the 13th you slash prices (sorry), or every February 29th your clients can leap to another level, or (for those who track their customer’s birthdays in their CRM software) every customer’s “half birthday” earns them a reward.
Are you at a loss for holidays? Don’t know when National Doctors Day or Love a Tree Day falls? Check out this site and get ideas that may tie in with your business.
Another idea is to create your own special day and give it it’s own date. Seven years ago, American Express created “Small Business Saturday” to help drive consumers to local businesses. The date? The day after “Black Friday,” which is the day after Thanksgiving. Go to the big box stores on Friday, but shop the small mom & pop shops on Saturday. By tying their promotion into a nationally recognized day, it will be easy to remember every year.
Sometimes, though, you may have such a great idea, you want to create your own holiday.
A great example of this is Free Comic Book Day. The brainchild of Joe Fields, a comic book shop owner, the first event was in 2002. The idea was to give away free comics in an effort to grow the customer base of independent comic book shops. Working with Diamond Comics Distributor and several publishers, they were able to create an event which now includes over 2,000 stores in over 30 counties. The date? The “1st Saturday in May.”
Whether you use a well-known date or establish your own, which “Hallmark Holiday” will you create? Please post your thoughts below!
Your Guerrilla Marketer,
Rick Verbanas has brought his passion for marketing to Fortune 500 companies, small businesses and not-for-profits. He strives to stay current in the latest marketing best practices, and provides a weekly roundup for your news and enjoyment. To subscribe to future blogs, please enter your email address on the left hand side of the home page.