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Calendars and Planners

Can you think of a way to spend your promotional dollar and be guaranteed 365 days of ad exposure?

Consider imprinted promotional calendars.
Advertising calendars definitely provide some of the best bang for your buck – a year's worth of bang. Look at it from the recipient's perspective: You're at your desk every day and you check and recheck your calendar (or calendars). You look up appointment times/dates, as well as reminders for special days. You might even use a combination of styles; wall calendar, day planner, desk blotter, electronic and day-by-day. At home, you probably have more than one – in the kitchen, office, garage and basement.

Calendars make great promotional products because people and businesses need them. "They're a necessary part of the day-to-day operations of a business," says promotional consultant Mary Woodason. "People appreciate calendars and tend to consider them as gifts rather than an advertisement." Counselor Mark Woody adds: "The daily exposure provided by a calendar provides great advertising value."

Ideas To Count On
Calendars work well in promotions, as year-end gifts or to mark milestone events for a number of reasons. One is their appeal to collectors. "What we're promoting is that calendars are going to be collected as keepsakes," says Phil Martin, promotional consultant. That was certainly true of 1999 and 2000 calendars.

If you're buying calendars because of keepsake appeal, here are some suggestions:

Order a custom calendar. To increase the value to a collector, consider using a calendar that's truly special and unique. Custom-made calendars can include graphics and company-specific copy. Incorporate your own literature, products, building/offices, special dates and people into the calendar. "Don't just give them a stock item," says Christine Smith, promotional consultant. "Give them something that's going to differentiate [your company].

Make the calendar functional. Think of topics specific to your company-goals, events, dates. What do you want to accomplish with the calendar? For example, schools want to include things like school-closings, in-service days, holidays and mid-term/final examination days. A bank might want to include dates it's closed due to federal holidays or information regarding vacation and Christmas clubs. Other things to think about putting on a calendar are price and/or service specials, annual clearance sales – you get the idea.

Retail Or Not?
Retail calendars are a growing trend. Look around at your local mall. There are big calendar displays in bookstores and even free-standing calendar kiosks. Can your firm hope to compete with all the swimsuit pin-ups, film tie-ins, animal photos and sports/music personality pictures they sell? In a word, yes.

"The promotional or advertising calendar is sold as a vehicle to transport and display a specific message to a mass market," says promotional consultant Dan Hall. "The retail calendar is bought individually, according to individual taste." Gary Haley, a promotional consultant, agrees: "People buy calendars from us to promote their business. People buy calendars from a kiosk because [they] like kittens."

Imprinted calendars also offer the opportunity to purchase affordable larger quantities. In addition, they can be ordered in several different styles – cars, scenic, art from Norman Rockwell, – within a single order to satisfy the varying tastes of all your customers.

Further, as your order size increases, your cost-per-piece generally drops, which in turn makes your cost-per-impression (CPI) better. For example, if you purchase a $5 calendar that's looked at only twice a day, your CPI for the year is 0.6 cents – it costs you less than a penny a day to advertise to your clients.

Case By Case
Here are just two examples of the kind of popularity calendars can generate:

About five years ago, near-panic ensued among recipients when Snap-On Tools, Inc. replaced its highly popular, annual pin-up calendar with ones featuring photos of hot rods and classic cars. Societal pressure and an increasing number of women auto mechanics in the workforce fueled the change, but traditionalists were up in arms.

A manufacturer of electronic circuit board in Warrington, PA, got calls every January from customers it had removed from its yearly calendar mailing list. (Usually the company removed non-active customers.) One particularly irate person called the firm every year for five years. Though he never did business with the manufacturer, he enjoyed receiving the company's calendar.

While the circuit-board manufacturer sent out the same style calendar each year – "seasonal landscapes" – you may want to try a new or different style. Perpetual calendars can be used year after year, doing away with the old necessity of transcribing important dates onto a new calendar each year. Some interesting products combine a perpetual calendar with a picture frame.

There are other special pieces, such as time-capsule journals for parents, newlyweds and students. If desired, these can be imprinted – as can any other calendar – in a retro style, which is very popular right now.

But don't get totally stuck in yesteryear or you'll never be able to see what's on the horizon. As more and more computers get plugged in and turned on in homes and offices around the world, calendars are being modified to fit in, on or around them. One such calendar is a thin strip that adheres to the side of the monitor. It has a film cover that, when removed, exposes a reusable sticky surface suitable for posting notes.

Electronic calendar products have also been developed in several formats. While the established products are being modified, your counselor can show you the next wave. Promotional consultant Jeffery Stiers notes that, "the computer desktop will ultimately replace the office wall or traditional desktop as the number-one place people turn to check or utilize their calendar."

And don't forget that many other styles of calendars are available. There are calendars that can be affixed to the face of a watch, others made to go in briefcases and purses. There are wallet calendars covering one, three or five years.

There are write-on/wipe-off calendars. Historic reference calendars. Industry-specific (dairy, electronics, marketing, to name some) calendars. Foreign-language calendars.

Graphically, calendar trends include the use of more color, Morgan says. And as mentioned earlier , there's currently a big push for personalized and fully-customized calendars.

Calendars are regarded as a standard for a simple reason – people depend on them. That alone should be enough to make you consider them as part of your next promotion.

COPYRIGHT © 2002 The Advertising Specialty Institute. All rights reserved.

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