Why You Should Give Calendars Even When It Seems Nobody Cares

For nearly a decade Steve handed out imprinted promotional calendars advertising his hardware store.   As time grew on Steve began to question the true value of distributing calendars when at times it seemed as though his customers no longer cared.

Then a few years back he decided to skip ordering calendars.   He rationalized that the calendar was no longer serving a useful purpose.   The money saved could be spent in so many more effective ways.

Unfortunately, Steve made a costly mistake.

You see, one of the customers who picked up a calendar each year and religiously used it in his shop was Larry.   Now, Larry owned a small plumbing business in town and often times didn’t inventory a warehouse full of parts.   Instead, he was a frequent customer of Steve’s hardware store picking up the supplies he needed for the day to complete the plumbing tasks anticipated.

It was early that next January when Larry had a visitor to his shop.   It was a wholesale plumbing supply rep who had been pestering Larry for years to do business with him.   As they were chatting, this rep happened to notice Larry didn’t have a nice calendar hanging in the shop yet.   What an opportunity!

As the rep went out to his truck to get the usual coffee mugs, pens, notepads, etc. this time around the rep also grabbed a calendar.   You see, in years past the rep always seen Steve’s hardware store’s calendar already hanging so he passed on leaving the gift of the calendar.   But not this time around.

It was the worst case scenario for Steve and he didn’t even realize it was happening.   Not only was his wall space that contained his calendar taken over by a new calendar, but it was a calendar from a company that could potentially cost Steve lots of money throughout the course of the year.

Oh, it takes more than a calendar to cause Larry to lose his loyalty to Steve’s hardware store, but over the course of time that calendar reminded Larry just how convenient and time-saving it would be to have supplies delivered right to his shop early in the morning.   Moreover, Larry realized after a few purchases how this convenience was also saving him money by using a wholesaler.

Of course, Steve went about his business unaware any of this was going on.   Larry still popped into the hardware store now and then, but over time Steve’s store lost out on money–enough money, fair to say, that could have easily purchased Steve’s annual calendar supply.

What Steve failed to realize is that customers don’t always show appreciation for a calendar you give them as a gift.   It’s easy to view the imprinted promotional calendar as something that a person is giving the customer.   Obviously, it is human nature to expect an occasional “thanks” when handing out calendars.   Yet, it doesn’t always happen.

What Steve failed to comprehend was how the calendar is more importantly a tool.   A marketing tool that keeps your brand message in front of lots of people.   In some cases it also keeps your competitor’s message from hanging in those key locations, as in the case of Larry.

When a business decides to give up on using calendars for marketing there can be a hefty price paid that is not easy to measure or to track.   Nevertheless, with calendars costing a relatively small portion of most advertising budgets, a single lost customer is a risk not many businesses are willing to take.   In most cases, it has taken years of continuity to gain that wall space promoting your message.   Why lose it to an opportunistic competitor who still provides a calendar to a customer you want to call yours?

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