By Jennie Wong
The Charlotte Observer (MCT)
As we put the 2012 holiday season in our rearview mirror, it’s a good time to reflect on new business growth strategies for the coming year. One such strategy you may wish to consider for 2013 is selecting a “signature holiday“ for your business.
You may recall that last December your mailbox was filled with holiday greetings. It is common practice for businesses to send out year-end holiday cards to their valued customers, but by doing so, you run the risk of getting lost in the crowd. What if you were to target your client appreciation efforts at a different spot in the calendar?
One great example of this in the nonprofit space is the Lupus Foundation of America’s North Carolina chapter and their annual Mardi Gras Gala. Why Mardi Gras as a focal point for an auto-immune disease? The original concept comes from the mask-shaped rash that some lupus patients experience around the eyes and across the nose. They theme their black-tie fundraiser as a New Orleans-style celebration complete with disguises and a symbolic “unmasking“ during the evening’s festivities.
My own Web development company selected Valentine’s Day to express our appreciation for customers and partners with an annual gift of luxury chocolates, with an implied theme of “We love our clients!“ Our February focal point is also strategically placed early in the year, when many of our long-standing clients are allocating information-technology budgets for the year.
Other examples include:
-A financial adviser who sends gifts for the Fourth of July, acknowledging that Independence Day signifies our freedom of choice and expressing gratitude that clients chose her company.
-A children’s shoe store celebrating “Back to School“ with their best promotions of the year.
-An organic catering company marketing their meal subscriptions around Earth Day.
-A portrait photographer running specials for Grandparents Day in September.
Or you can simply borrow a page from the concierge doctors at Signature Healthcare in Charlotte, N.C., who reach out to their clients for a company anniversary party every May.
Cards, gifts and events all take a significant amount of planning and execution to pull off, so why do all of that at the busiest time of year? Unless your business is strongly tied to year-end or the December holidays, consider switching it up this year with a new signature holiday.
Jennie Wong is an executive coach, author of the e-book “Ask the Mompreneur“ and the founder of the social shopping website CartCentric.com. Email her at TheJennieWonggmail.com.