When To Plan Your Promotional Calendar: Now

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There is no denying the power of promotions. In 1895, C.W. Post Co. used a penny-off coupon to help sell its new Grape Nuts cereal brand. Brands, retailers and shoppers have been hooked ever since.

Even in today’s online environment, promotions rule. In fact, 74% of Americans say promotions are a top factor when deciding where and what to buy online.1 And now that gift cards are a mainstay of our retail culture, research shows brands that don’t run gift card promotions miss out on an average of 37% of annual revenue.2

With that kind of power, if you haven’t already planned your promotional calendar for 2021, read the rest of this blog and get started. Now.


Promotion Season Lasts All Year

For some brands and retailers, a promotional calendar starts and stops with the winter holidays. But there are promotional opportunities all year long, which means these brands and retailers are missing out on dozens of opportunities to increase loyalty, drive sales, find additional revenue or accomplish almost any other business goal.

The idea is to pre-plan your promotional events for the full year, which helps you in two ways: You’ll get (and stay) ahead of your company’s budgeting cycle, and you can line up redemption windows with your known slow periods.


The Big Opportunities

Depending on your industry, your brand and your customers, these are typically the big promotional calendar opportunities:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • Mother’s Day
  • Father’s Day and Graduation
  • Back-to-School
  • Black Friday and Cyber Monday
  • Winter Holidays

Look at any holiday calendar, though, and you’ll find opportunities for your brand all throughout the year. Like:

  • MLK Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Easter
  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Independence Day
  • Halloween
  • Thanksgiving

You can also find opportunities very specific to your brand or category. Are you in the energy business? January 10th is National Cut Your Energy Costs Day. Do you sell coffee? October 1st is National Coffee Day. Whatever your business or category, there's likely a bonus promotional day for you.

And since this is a Blackhawk Network blog, we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that gift cards—physical or digital or both—should be a big part of any promotional calendar. But more on this in future (and past) blogs.


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Create Your Own Promotional Holidays

A holiday calendar isn’t your only planning resource. Look to your brand's slow-moving products, slow-selling seasons and specific business goals to plan promotions that achieve results that:

  • Drive revenue during typically slow periods
  • Drive traffic at specific times by setting redemption periods on gift card rewards
  • Increase sales of specific products
  • Bring in customers who haven’t been back recently
  • Remind gift card recipients to come in and redeem
  • Remind those who have gifted your brand before that it makes a great gift


How Can We Help You?

Yes, your promotional calendar is an important part of your overall marketing plan and can make a huge difference in your annual bottom line. But don’t feel like you have to take on this responsibility alone. The promotional experts at Blackhawk Network are standing by to answer any questions, make suggestions or help run your programs—whatever you need.

If a conversation sounds like a good idea, just click here to get started or call 866.219.7533.

Happy planning!


[1] RetailMeNot Incrementality Study, March 2018

[2] CashStar Data Analysis

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