Happy Turkey Month

All my life I’ve looked to Thanksgiving as the season of turkey, cranberries, stuffing and the rest.

What started as a single meal in 1621 has morphed significantly over four centuries. Anyone who’s been paying attention has noticed that Thanksgiving slowly became a day of family, football, and leisure (except for the cook).

As our waistlines expanded, so did the holiday to cover a full weekend. Shopping slowly overtook family time as the primary purpose of Thanksgiving Thursday, Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and No-Name Sunday.

Big sales started Friday at 6am, 3am, then Midnight, before backing into Thursday night, afternoon and morning.

Then came Cyber Monday to help maximize sales during the 4-5 weeks between Turkey Day and Christmas.

Finally, with the calendar limiting the time between the two big days, some retailers started playing fast and loose about when the shopping season officially starts.

Holiday shopping creep no longer applies strictly to Thanksgiving Day as major retailers have begun monthlong Black Friday promotions.

This defeats the purpose.

Sales promotions should provide quick sales boosts. Consumers see something special and strike while opportunity beckons.

Yet a never-ending string of promotions will deliver the exact opposite effect, as car dealers have learned.

Never forget, consumers aren’t stupid, and pay close attention to your activities. Shrewd customers will delay today’s purchase, knowing desperate retailers will offer bigger discounts tomorrow.

After all, as David Ogilvy observed, “The customer is not a moron. She’s your wife.”

Should you fall into an endless cycle of sales, you’ll quickly see there’s no choice if the competition runs a promotion. Failure to run your own promotion risks losing customers’ dollars.

This deteriorating situation guarantees a race to the bottom.

As you plan the new year’s marketing efforts, use promotions judiciously and as just one portion of your marketing mix.

Regardless of what you sell, you’ll have greater long-term success marketing your business by combining benefits, location, pricing, selection, and service.

Customers must know they’re not just getting good prices, but also greater value than next door.

Because beyond lowering profits, relying only on holiday sales promotions automatically cheapens a company’s branding.

Merchants only relying on discount prices won’t be able to charge full price ever again.

I’m guessing that’s not your business plan.

With that said, I wish you and yours a Happy Thanksgiving.

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