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Month-By-Month Sales Promotion Marketing Ideas

A monthly guide to events and observances
that are begging to be promoted.

JANUARY
In the depths of winter, it makes sense to look for unique promotional inspiration. The popularity of New Year's resolutions makes this a good time of year to promote self-help pursuits like fitness, nutrition and health care. Thinking along these lines, January has been dubbed National Get Organized Month. For tips, statistics and examples of related events you can hold, check out the National Association of Professional Organizers at www.napo.net

FEBRUARY
 On the 14th, Valentine's Day offers a great opportunity for companies to demonstrate how much they love their customers and their employees. Everyone gets a kick out of receiving a Valentine's Day gift - especially when it isn't expected. Present custom shaped chocolates, logo imprinted live roses or dream up your own romantic idea.

 February is also National Black History Month, a popular event for public television and other educational venues. Let's acknowledge and help celebrate the achievements of African-Americans.

MARCH
 Thirty-four million Americans - almost nine times the population of Ireland itself - claim Irish ancestry, so it's no surprise that St. Patrick's Day (on the 17th) is widely celebrated here. Last year, the Bennigan's Grill and Tavern chain promoted St. Patty"s Day by presenting patron with "Feed Your Inner Leprechaun" T-shirts, hats and glassware. It was a huge success. "We want to commemorate the day and give them things that are cool enough that they'll want to use them beyond St. Patrick's Day", says Clay Dover, Executive VP and Chief Concept Officer for Bennigan's. He adds that timing of the celebration is significant: "It gives us the momentum heading into spring and summer".

March is also National Women's History Month. Let's help celebrate the often overlooked contributions that women have made to society.

APRIL
 April is Prevention of Animal Cruelty Month. Search for for creative ideas on how to spread the word. Like minded animal lovers everywhere will love you for it!

Given the burgeoning interest in the environment, Earth Day should be big this year. Community groups, elected officials and various government agencies may be holding festivals. They can inadvertently help you to promote the cause. More eco-friendly promotional products are available than ever before. Our suppliers are adding new, exciting organic and recycled offerings all the time.

MAY
An old English May Day (the 1st) custom is to leave baskets of flowers on neighbor's doorsteps. Though May Day isn't a big holiday in the U.S., it's roots go all the way back to ancient tribes to spring like the Celtic holiday Beltane. American celebrations include "Lei Day" in Hawaii and the month long "May in Montclair" in New Jersey. Organize your own festival or view the day as an opportunity to promote your business to the various groups and communities that recognize this holiday.

The Mexican Cinco de Mayo (on the 5th) continues to grow in popularity in the U.S. as a cultural celebration. This commemoration of the Mexican forces over the French in the 1862 Battle of Puebla is now celebrated more extensively in the lower southern states that border Mexico than in the country of Mexico itself!

JUNE
June signals the start of summer. This is a great opportunity to surprise happy but hot customers and prospects with cool custom imprinted gifts. At last summer's Virgin Festival at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, Kyocera Wireless Corp. set up Refresh and Recharge Domes where attendee could cool off with water misting. As guests left the area, Kyocera reps also gave them custom imprinted towels and hand held fans. Brilliant! "The give away's we distributed at Virgin Festival really reinforce the new brand identity that Kyocera has recently launched in the marketplace," says Tom Mcguire, VP of Global Marketing and Brand at Kyocera. "Any opportunity to expose a large concentration of our target audience to our brand, particularly in conjunction with a strong carrier partner brand, can only help positively influence purchasing decisions."

JULY
 Celebrating our country's independence on the 4th is a no brainer. But did you know that July is also Family Reunion Month? Imagine combining the two holidays and the feel good possibilities become endless.

AUGUST
August marks the start of pre-season football for NFL teams, and schools typically play their first game this month, too. Sports related promotions for kids and adults alike always go over big. Not a football buff? August is also National Inventors Month, think on that one for a while and see if a light bulb goes on.

SEPTEMBER
Why not advantage of Labor Day to boost employee morale and productivity by showing appreciation to your staff? Just imagine your employees and co-workers coming back to work the day after the holiday depressed because summer is over, only to find a little gift waiting for them on their desks. "Well maybe it's not so bad working for the man, after all!" they might think.

Most schools start up again in September so Back to School promotions always go over well.

 OCTOBER
Everyone knows about Halloween but how about Oktoberfest. It's kind of like a Canadian "Halloween" for beer drinkers. Kitchener and Waterloo in Ontario, Canada are expecting 700,000 people for their week long event starting on the 10th. Join them - or hold your own local version.

Thanks largely to the passion of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is huge. Some industry suppliers even donate a portion of profits from the sale of related promotional products. You could follow in their footsteps and show you care by giving back. Women will love you for it and men all over will thank you.

NOVEMBER
November is National Adoption Month. According to the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, (established by the founder of Wendy's restaurants, who was adopted as a child) some 140,000 kids in foster home in North America are waiting for permanent families. Put your ideas for raising awareness of adoption to good use.

The Great American Smokeout takes place on the 20th. Soaring costs of health insurance have spurred a lot of companies to offer incentives for employees to kick the habit. Look to the American Cancer Society for a guide to quitting and a list of local Smokeout resources by state, so you can team up with concerned groups in your area.

Thanksgiving offers a great opportunity for you to send out holiday greeting early and stand out from the competition. Nancy Kirk, author of "The Big Little Book of Thank You Notes" says that each year, she mails her own personal Thanksgiving cards to her clients. "I sign all cards myself and hand address the envelopes, so it's clear they came from me personally," she adds. Now that's great, but very time consuming as you can agree. Fortunately, we have a way to accomplish this but in a fraction of the time AND for a lower price. It's a service we offer called Send Out Cards. Learn more about it here.

DECEMBER
As we all know, December is prime time for holiday promotion. Hanukkah is always popular. The Winter Solstice, which some celebrate as as a secular observance, falls on the 21st. Christmas follows on the 25th, and the week long celebration of Kwanzaa starts in December as well.

Cheers!

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