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Time Your Promotional Activity for Maximum Impact

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Today is a bank holiday in the UK, but the advert I saw on TV last night may have come a little too late to reap the benefit of a possible tie-in. A new adaptation of Wuthering Heights was being broadcast, and in one of the later ad breaks, there was a 30-second slot promoting Yorkshire as a destination for a long weekend. The county is the setting for the Brontë novel, so at first glance the ad was a good idea.

Only we are at the end of a long weekend now. If people had been thinking about getting away for the bank holiday, it’s too late to select Yorkshire; everyone is due back at work tomorrow. And the next bank holiday is not until Christmas, when most people tend to see family. I suppose that it’s conceivable that people may want to visit for New Year’s Eve, but will all of the attractions highlighted in the ad be available then?

Now, I’m not saying that the Yorkshire advertisement was a bad idea. Selecting a slot during 90 minutes of programming set in the region makes sense, and if viewers were impressed with the cinematography they might think about visiting Yorkshire to explore the area for themselves. The regional tourism body didn’t have any say over when the program would be broadcast, so they have obviously made the best of the circumstances.

Nevertheless, I can’t help feeling that they could have started promotion sooner. The broadcaster has been trailing Wuthering Heights for months; I barely watch that particular channel, and even I could have told you when it would air and which actors were in the cast. A better approach for the Yorkshire tourism marketing department may have been to start their advertising push when the trailers for the program first appeared. All it would have taken would be a change to the voiceover, and Yorkshire, “setting of Wuthering Heights,” would have been in viewers’ minds while it was still possible to make plans to visit over the bank holiday weekend.

If you’re planning on promoting your business (or your local area), any events or dates that could bring an increase in customers should be an important part of your marketing planning. It isn’t enough, however, to start promoting the day – or even the week – beforehand. While impulse buying has a role to play, sectors such as tourism are far more dependent on consumers planning ahead and making plans in advance. Most people don’t buy their Christmas decorations and presents on Christmas Eve, so why expect anything different at any other time?

It takes a bit of time, but you can keep track of all sorts of holidays and big events quite easily once you’ve got the hang of it. Personally, I use the calendar view from the OANDA currency trading website. At the end of each month, as I have already done today, I check for important dates in the next two months and update my calendar with anything that I need to take into account. If there’s a date I or one of my clients needs to plan around, it’s then a breeze to start planning what sort of marketing activity needs to take place and when it should start. I also pay attention to the local listings in my area and keep an eye out for various trade shows and conferences, but not everyone will want or need to do the same.

If there is a public holiday that might be a good time to do some selling, before you start doing any marketing, it’s always a good idea to make sure that you’ll be able to cope with higher than usual demand. If you provide a product, check with your suppliers to make sure you can increase your regular order; if you provide a service, make sure there are enough staff to cope with a busier time. Unless this is something you do regularly, you will have to make a educated guess as to how much extra stock or people you will need. For first timers, I’d suggest erring on the side of caution: you don’t want to be left with piles of stuff you may not be able to shift easily.

The Yorkshire tourism board had the right idea in tying up their advertising campaign with the Wuthering Heights program. It’s just a shame that a) it came too late for anyone to start planning a bank holiday getaway this year, and b) if they don’t keep it up, it may have been forgotten by the time people are thinking having a long weekend somewhere different. The second half of the Brontë tale is this evening. While others wait for the culmination of Heathcliff and Cathy’s doomed passion, I will be watching for more missed opportunites to market God’s Own County.

[Image by MonkeyC.net]

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