Tis the Season If you work in advertising

So the kiddies are back to school and Halloween which is the second biggest holiday as far as retail sales are concerned is just around the corner but for an advertising rep regardless of what media you work for the Holiday season starts now. Selling a monthly direct mail product like I do I am always a month ahead so for me it is already October. For most reps in my industry they just sell for today. What I mean by this is picking up ads for next week’s paper, selling 50 more radio spots, locking their client down for another 20,000 impressions for this month’s renewal on their online campaign you get the idea. The Christmas holiday season requires proper planning if you are going to find success so you need to be thinking at least 3 months ahead. What most media reps will do is hit the street in November or even December and start selling their holiday promos such as special sections, holiday greetings, Boxing Day promos the list goes on and on. This is after all the busiest time of the year for the retail industry so you want to grab every penny you can especially since we all know what happens in the first quarter which begins in January. In order to get your fair share before the competition does you need to hit the ground running in the first part of September which is right now. The timing is perfect, the dreadful July and August in terms of sales has come to an end business is picking up and virtually all retailers and business owners know the cash flow is going to increase significantly. This is the perfect time to go out and get it. Top advertising managers who have known this for years start this process in the summer (July) when things are slow and brainstorm product ideas, prospect lists, deadlines, rate cards etc. So once September hits they have their plan in place all they need to do is execute. While their reps are on the streets selling their holiday advertising most other managers are just starting to think about Christmas with the plan of having their attack ready for the streets in November. Well I am sorry to say the big advertising dollars are already spoken for and all you are going to get are the scraps such as holiday greetings.

As an advertising rep you want to get a significant chunk of holiday budgets not the leftovers. How many times in November do you hear “this is a great idea but my Christmas advertising dollars are already spent”? Get out on the streets this week and start presenting your holiday promotions to your top customers with the largest budgets so you can beat the competition to the punch. And If you are a business owner and haven’t started thinking about your holiday advertising  you are about to as I will be knocking on your door this week.



Have local business interests? Get involved in the community

Being less than a week away from my favorite local event the Limestone City Blues Festival I felt it was the right time to write about the importance of getting involved or more involved in the community you live and work in. Whether you are a media rep, a local business owner, a manager or just work in the community I can’t stress how important it is to get out there and get involved. In my case dealing with advertisers which most businesses are there isn’t a better way to establish and cultivate relationships than attending a backstage party at an event like the Blues Festival. Of course opportunities like this come along for me as a former business owner. Owning FlyerMail I had a vested interest in sponsoring many other high profile local community events, such as FebFest, Movies in The Square and April Fools Comedy Festival to name a few. My goal was to raise the level of my brand in the community as well as create more contacts so I could put more advertising in my packages which in turn made my product more appealing to consumers with more variety. For me the other advantage was and still is distributing the official handbill for the event inside the packages and even branding the covers such as the photo illustrated above. This of course is one way to do it if you happen to be a business owner or a senior manager but there are many other ways. I got my start with the Blues Festival involvement from my good buddy and mentor Jeff Dillon when I was a young newspaper rep who didn’t give me a choice; he said “Digger we are selling bracelets at Blues Fest this weekend”. (Digger is a sales nickname I can’t seem to shake with a few in the industry who have worked with me since my early 20’s) From that point on I realized the importance of doing this type of charity work in my community. The event organizers appreciate it, you meet many people including business owners and decision makers as a result and you create a profile in the community. From that point on I volunteered for Santa Claus Parades, various festivals, feel good events like pitch in Kingston you get the idea. Of course there are other ways to do this I have also sat on committees with the local University Hospital foundation, been on boards such as the local chamber, been a chair for events such as Pitch In Kingston and much more.  In a nutshell  as busy as I am I always make time to get involved when I have the opportunity to make a difference in my community.

If you want to grow your business portfolio in your community I suggest you get involved. Having a strong community presence makes it much easier to climb the corporate ladder, raise brand awareness and increase sales if you are into that like I am. Oh yeah and you will always feel good about the time you spend so pick the right cause to support with the right people and don’t forget to have fun.