Welcome to the newest installment of our series covering promotional calendar events for a specific month! November presents a slew of interesting promotional opportunities, particularly for those businesses operating internationally, as the USA ramps up into its holiday season with full force and many countries partake in “Black Friday” sales the day after Americans celebrate Thanksgiving.
Oddly enough, there are no official public holidays in Australia during November, but there are still plenty of chances to beef up your promotional efforts with some worldwide celebrations and weeks of recognition. Although November holds some quirky days of celebration in various parts of the globe, we’re going to eschew National Plan Your Epitaph Day (2 November) and Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day (15 November) in favor of more interesting and engaging holidays. For similar reasons, we will urge you to skip over World Toilet Day, unless you happen to be in the plumbing trade (in which case, 19 November may be a great promotional opportunity for you).
In an effort to beef up the fun in your marketing and see more conversions as a result (one of the 7 Levers of Business, of course), we’ve put together this essay covering clever promotional ideas for November 2014. Without further ado, let’s get started!
3 November: King Tut Day
Okay, so you’re thinking, “a King Tut promo? How do you sell a sarcophagus?” But our promotional idea has nothing to do with the legendary Tut’s tomb, his death, or even his birth. 3 November is the day (in 1922) when King Tut’s tomb was discovered by Howard Carter.
And that makes 3 November a day of discovery for your business. Consider a promotional theme of “discovery” for your marketing materials in November that is akin to the page copy seen below, from Vitamix.
Vitamix, like many companies, obviously emphasizes product discover year-round, but you can try a few caveats to go along with the spirit of discovery in conjunction with King Tut Day.
Notice how the Vitamix site offers up ideas (the “What You Can Make” section) and showcases what celebrities and chefs are going with the product (the “Vitamix Spotlight” page)? That’s great, but for your purposes in November, try running a social media campaign that turns the focus to your audience.
Ask them how they are using your products and highlight the best ideas on your blog. Your customers will love the attention given to them and their peers – and you’ll love not having the expense of celebrity endorsements!
11 November: International Men’s Day
Okay, so no one can can possibly argue that there aren’t already plenty of celebrations of maleness, but 11 November is the official international day for the fellas. What we like is that there’s nothing overly-macho about this year’s International Men’s Day. The theme for this year is “Keeping Men and Boys Safe,” and that’s a conversation that needs to happen.
Here’s a challenge for you as a marketer:
How can your product or service help men or boys be safe?
Rather than reducing this day to the kind of purely consumerist male holiday that other days (like Father’s Day) reduced to, when the banal necktie or cliche coffee mug becomes the standard gift, try to encourage your customers to think about the safety of the males in their lives.
The organizers of the event have issued the following charge for this year’s International Men’s Day:
“People all over the world are used to relating to men as protectors and providers, but how often do we consider the actions we can all take to protect Men and Boys from harm and provide them with a safe world where they can thrive and prosper?”
That’s a great question! Why not pose it to your audience?
13 November: National Day of Listening (USA)
The National Day of Listening is a holiday that celebrates American folklore and oral tradition. From a promotional standpoint, this is a great opportunity to encourage your customers to get in the act of sharing.
This unofficial US holiday has seen increased recognition in recent years, with former US President George W. Bush recording an interview for the occasion in 2008. The idea is that Americans set aside time to record an oral history of their families, friends, or communities to be archived for future generations.
To play on this theme in your marketing efforts, ask your fans and followers to share audio or video recordings of them telling stories relevant to your relationship with them.
As an example, if you sell guitars online, you might ask your Twitter followers to share stories about the person who gave them lessons, offering a freebie or discount to author of the most-commented post.
Or, as another example, if you sell art supplies, you might ask your followers to share stories about how they discovered their love of art. The sky is really the limit when it comes to stories.
It need not be a full fledged contest. Keep it casual and encourage your customers to “listen” – all while clearly demonstrating to them that your business definitely listens, too!
18 November: Use Less Stuff Day
We had to re-read this one a couple of times to make sure it’s not “Useless Stuff Day” but, in fact, it is Use Less Stuff Day – as in, streamlining your workflow or home life in some way. And that’s a marketable proposition, indeed.
This gives you a great opportunity to take your marketing back to basics; that is, back to the unique selling proposition (USP) that underpins your business. Think back to those headaches that you first sat out to remedy for your customers.
Do you make a product that does the job of two? Do you provide a service that lightens your customers’ workloads? Do you offer expert consultation that helps small businesses behave like big ones? Whatever the case may be, Use Less Stuff Day is the perfect chance to remind your existing customers of what you do while introducing new ones to your USP.
The idea here is that your USP makes it possible for your customers to “use less stuff” by eliminating competing products, services or processes that weigh them down, just by turning to your business.
13 November (Canada) and 27 November (USA): Thanksgiving
Although the only Aussie territory that celebrates Thanksgiving is Norfolk Island, it is a massive holiday in North America and it signals the beginning of the holiday season in the minds of American and Canadian consumers.
Celebrated on the second Monday of the month in Canada and the fourth Thursday of the month in the USA, if your business operates internationally it’s practically in poor taste not to acknowledge Thanksgiving through your marketing in November.
Thanksgiving is a celebration of the harvest and a time for giving thanks for the preceding year. Although originally thought to have been a Puritan holiday that was religious in nature, Thanksgiving has nearly universal secular appeal in the United States as of now. In Canada, Thanksgiving is a celebration of safe passage.
From a marketing perspective, though, Thanksgiving is a bit challenging. Unlike the Western world’s other big holiday, Christmas, Thanksgiving is not a gift-giving occasion. Typically, it involves a big meal, usually consisting of turkey and dressing, and fellowship with friends and family.
That makes one of the best marketing angles a “thank you.” And by that, we mean a customer appreciation promotion. Add in some seasonal imagery (keeping in mind that November is a time for fall leaves and cooler weather in the Northern Hemisphere), and you’ll be speaking the right visual language, at the very least.
Though it is a little loud for our tastes, the following car dealership commercial pretty much sums up the kind of marketing that works for the North American customer.
If you are concerned about your marketing budget, try targeting only those customers in regions that celebrate Thanksgiving with themed materials. It’s of course optional, but as we said before, if you are reaching the North American audience, you can be assured that they are seeing marketing based on Thanksgiving themes throughout November. As a result, those customers are likely to overlook ads and other materials that don’t at least demonstrate a connection to some of the culture around this crucial calendar event.
28 November: Black Friday
Hot on the heels of Thanksgiving (literally) is an event known as Black Friday. Black Friday is traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year. Held each year on the day after America’s Thanksgiving sale, Black Friday is a day when brick-and-mortar retailers open early to offer ridiculously low-priced items for legions of waiting shoppers. And, in recent years, you might say Black Friday has become something of an American bloodsport (just see the video below – which is slightly NSFW!).
Thankfully, with your business based in Australia, you are far removed from all that chaos, and instead can capitalize on the millions of American shoppers who have no interest in competing with the rabid crowds at their local malls and Walmart stores.
In short, Black Friday is a one-day-only sale of epic proportions. The trick is to leverage email marketing messages and on-page promotions in the weeks leading up to the day which your customers will see.
Bonus Promotional Ideas!
We always like to throw in some of the more obscure calendar events that, although we couldn’t think of a specific theme for them, we think might inspire you with a unique promotional idea of your own.
Here are some of the wilder calendar dates in November:
12 November: Happy Hour Day
14 November: Spicy Guacamole Day
20 November: Great American Smoke-Out (cigarette cessation, USA)
22 November: Start Your Own Country Day
23 November: Espresso Day
26 November: Cake Day
28 November: Red Planet Day
1 – 8 November is Melbourne Cup Carnival week, so if your audience is interested in equestrian sporting, you might keep that in mind. November is also Peanut Butter Lovers Month, so if you have a restaurant or food goods business, you could highlight peanut butter and its delightful derivatives all month long.
Are you making the most out of your promotional calendar?
Each month, we like to highlight the major events that you could leverage in your marketing materials. November is really the beginning of the huge, end-of-year holiday season for countries across the globe. In fact, it’s not unusual to see Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa images appearing in marketing materials as early as November (or even earlier, in some places). But, for this essay, we’ve limited the scope to include only those holidays occurring in November.
Stay tuned, though, because next month we will bring you an essay covering the panoply of events happening throughout the month of December. This time of the year is the last chance to give your business one more big push to end on a high note – and to make sure you’ve doubled your profitability, as we always strive toward.