The Herald Bulletin

October 2, 2013

Susan Miller: To every marketer, a season

The Herald Bulletin

---- — While the saying, “seasons come and seasons go” may apply to nature, fashion and sports teams, most businesses realize that it’s always marketing season. In a competitive marketplace, it’s vital to have a marketing plan perpetually in play.

Marketing during the “busy season” is easy. New model rollouts, back to school and Black Friday present ready-made marketing opportunities. But what can businesses do to stay in front of their audience between the big stories of job creation, groundbreakings and new smart phone models?

Savvy businesses know how to integrate their organization into a bigger picture, based on what’s going on in the news cycle or on the calendar.

For example, you were probably overwhelmed by the deluge of stories about the federal government shutdown. Herald Bulletin columnist Joe Clark leveraged that news cycle to share his expertise on how the federal budget might impact local investors’ retirement savings in a televised interview.

A quick Internet search will reveal what is “trending’ on major news outlets, providing your business with an opportunity to be the local expert source. Look for an opportunity to connect your business with these topics. Is there a connection you can make with the Affordable Care Act, World Series playoffs or a new sitcom?

Changing demographic trends provide more marketing opportunities. Next year, the youngest of the baby boomers will turn 50, presenting a marketing opportunity for builders of empty nester homes. A builder targeting first-time home buyers might direct its messages to the many young people who have been living with their parents since the Great Recession began.

Don’t discount pop culture for anniversary opportunities. In 1983, Stephen King's novel "Pet Sematary" spooked a nation. As a news hook, a pet crematory might note that three decades later, pet funerals are so mainstream that the International Cemetery, Crematory and Funeral Director Associations recently held a conference tract related to pet funerals.

Take a tip from the Boy Scouts and host a camp. A typical networking function is synonymous with schmoozing and collecting cards. Contrast this level of energy with a "camp" focused on experiences. A career college might host an open house where participants are able to see and touch high-tech training simulators or create a signature chef’s recipe. A creative agency might let camp attendees "drive the Mac."

Speaking of events, don’t discount sampling opportunities. Let’s say you make an organic chocolate. How about donating samples for attendees’ swag bags at a local gala or awards event?

Finally, take a cue from poet Robert Frost, and choose the marketing road less traveled. While everyone is promoting Columbus Day or Halloween sales, don’t overlook today’s observance.

Oct. 3 is Techie’s Day, a day set aside to honor the office techie who can “cure” locked up keyboards and come to the aid of possessed printers.

National Techie Day is proof that just as it’s 5 o’clock somewhere, there’s a marketing opportunity if you’re willing to look for it!

Susan Miller is owner of Ewing Miller Communications, an Anderson marketing firm. Her column appears the first Thursday of each month. Contact her at