Small Business Marketing US Calendar Checklist

Large corporations like Macy’s, Target, Walmart, etc. have figured out what to market, when, where, why and how. Unfortunately, small-medium businesses aren’t always as focused. I love checklists, they make my life so much easier. Here’s a month-by-month list of events to consider when marketing your business in the US.

January

  • New Year’s – ex. A new year, a new you! Services that cater to new year’s resolutions would have
  • Dr. Martin Luther King Day – Can you market this one? If you can, is it a good idea?
  • Presidential Inauguration – Every 4-8 years. Similar to the new year’s resolution campaign, how can you broadcast your new agenda?
  • Football Playoffs – Is the local team in? If so, how can you leverage the fan base?

February

  • Valentine’s Day – Self-explanatory.
  • President’s Day - A lot of circulars always come out this time tying the visual of presidents on currency (Jackson, Lincoln, and Washington) to sales savings.

March

  • St. Patrick’s Day – Everything is green this time of year.
  • Easter – Could you do a promotional event where customers find Easter Eggs filled with sales or free trials?
  • Spring Break – Everyone wants to cut loose after a long winter, not just coeds. How can your business tap into this mindset? Could you sponsor a contest with a week-long vacation as your prize?
  • March Madness – 64 teams whittled down ever closer to the Sweet 16, Elite 8, and the Final Four before the championship. This should be a slam dunk.

April

  • Tax – Competition for potential tax refunds becomes intense these days. How do you get prospects to spend their refunds at your business?
  • Spring Cleaning – Does your product or service make things easier for people to organize or reduce clutter. Perhaps a campaign on a clean, fresh start would be in order?
  • Earth Day - Has become more & more popular (and relevant).

May

  • Memorial Day – Long the province of car dealership sales, here’s another one I am not so certain one should try to monetize. Perhaps discounts or freebies for veterans?
  • Mother’s Day – Is your product or service gift-able?
  • Cinco de Mayo- Interesting addition.

June

  • Start of Summer - The weather is nice and everyone is wearing less. Sounds like the ideal time for gyms, tanning salons and personal trainers to be marketing. Can you create a campaign centered around getting people out doors again?
  • End of School – School Days are over and the kids are back home – probably driving Mom nuts. How can you help her out?

July

  • Independence Day – Let freedom (and cash registers) ring. Common tactics include phrases like ‘freedom from x, y, or z.’ Words like ‘explosive’ evoking imagery of fireworks also is prevalent.

August

  • End of Summer – Can you cash in on everyone’s hopes to extend the season? Also, it tends to be brutally hot.

September

  • Back to school – The kids need new backpacks, clothes, shoes, etc. Many adult learners head back to the classroom as well. Maybe it’s time to re-educate your prospects on what you do and how you do it.
  • Football Season – Kick off your sales with allusions to blocking and tackling or incorporating the local team into your efforts.

October

  • World Series – Despite a waning fan base, baseball is still lodged deep in the American psyche. Could imagery alluding to a simpler time in our nation’s history work here?
  • Halloween – Trick or treat? This holiday provides all kinds of marketing opportunity goodies. There’s the either-or, carrot-stick option in trick or treat. Many business’s opt to try out the frightening aspects of not using their business; ex. Mechanics stating ‘Avoid ghoulish expensive future repairs with maintenance today. I wonder why I don’t see more dentists advertising their services immediately after this holiday.

November

  • Day Light Savings – Hackneyed ‘savings’ abound now. What about using something tied to the earlier sunrise?
  • Thanksgiving - Visual imagery of a cornucopia – the horn of plenty, turkeys, and pilgrims become rife these days. What else can you do to differential during the media shotgun blasts as all brick and mortar types strive for the Friday-after sales?

December

  • Christmas, Hanukkah, etc – The season of gift giving is already a marketer’s playground. Tis the season for gift cards.
  • Year-End – For many businesses, the year is coming to an end both seasonally and financially. Can you make spectacular business-to-business deals at this time?

That list was off the top of my head. There’s much, much more out there. Tell us below. What have you done? What worked, What are you planning to do, What can you not believe I left out?

Other Suggestions by guests:

Michael Albert

  • Lunar New Year
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Dragon Boat Festival
  • Persian New Year
  • Moon Festival
  • Earth Day has become more & more popular (and relevant).

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Susan Kishner November 9, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Well said? Great information, keep up the great work!

Reply

Meredith Gould November 10, 2008 at 12:40 pm

Good list!
Another great resource for finding special holidays and dates for promotional tie-ins: Chase’s Calendar of Events. I routinely scan through these to come up with ideas for clients. Note: promotional efforts need to be planned 3-6 months ahead of time!

Reply

CWD November 11, 2008 at 7:34 am

Thanks, Mike and Susan. Much appreciated!

Meredith,

Thank you for for the suggestion and the reminder to get started EARLY on your marketing efforts. In addition to starting 3-6 months ahead of time, advertisers should remember to stop on time as well! I always find it odd that companies will run commercials stating a sales deadline (ex. Labor Day weekend only) after that date has already passed.

On another note, if you run communications for your church, definitely check out Meredith’s new book The Word Made Fresh: Communicating Church and Faith Today!

Reply

Lorraine Ball November 15, 2008 at 2:12 am

In addition to looking at what is going on regarding holiday’s and seasons, think about the cycle of your own business.

For example a heating and ac company is slow early spring and early fall, while a small business consultant is slow in november and december, so add these natural cycles into your business planning

Reply

CWD November 15, 2008 at 7:24 am

Great ideas, Lorraine. Slow periods are great times to work on building your competitive advantage. With intelligent marketing and sound business planning we should be able to avoid cyclical slowdowns.

Maybe an additional article or thread should focus on secondary or one-off business practices to smooth cash flow through out the year.

Ex. HVAC companies changing to a maintenance business model in early spring and fall from the bread-and-butter service calls in the hot or cold seasons.

Reply

Dan November 19, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Great checklist.

If you would like a tool to manage your small business activities and Projects, you can use this web aplication:

http://www.Gtdagenda.com

You can use it to manage and prioritize your Goals (for business but also in other areas of your life), Projects and Tasks. It has a Checklists section, for the routines and repetitive activities that any business has to do. Also, it features a Schedules section and a Calendar, for scheduling you time and activities.

Some features from GTD are also present, like Contexts and Next Actions.

And it’s available on the mobile phone too, so you can access it from anywhere.

Reply

CWD December 3, 2008 at 9:46 am

Thanks, Dan. I had read a lot about GTD but haven’t tried out any tools to the effect. I’ll test it out.

Reply

Mira Inc December 13, 2008 at 3:19 pm

I’ve written a marketing and promotional calendar e-book for 2009 that you may be interested in seeing. It is downloadable and printable and there are two parts to this e-book:

1. Monthly calendars in linear format so a retailer or business owner can see a “snap shot” of their planned marketing activity for the entire month. There is a comment section under each activity to allow for feedback regarding each marketing or promotional strategy. This provides a “look back” element to determine the most successful and least successful activities.

2. Also included are monthly, weekly, and daily observances to help a retailer boost their creativity throughout the year. Visit http://www.2009promocalendar.com for more information.

Reply

CWD February 4, 2009 at 9:02 pm

Thanks for the tip. The book looks interesting! I never knew January was National Break up month! Imagine the marketing fun you could have there!

Reply

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