Why You Should Give Calendars Even When It Seems Nobody Cares

November 14, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

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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Printing Overrun / Underrun Policy Allowance Explained

September 23, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Folks unfamiliar with the printing industry often get confused about the process of overruns / underruns when it comes time to billing.   Essentially, an overrun is the additional calendars that are printed above and beyond what quantity the customer has ordered.   Conversely, an underrun is the number of calendars printed short of what was ordered.   Occasionally, this process is also referred to as “shortages” or “overages.”

So, why does this situation exist?   Printing is different than simply pulling widgets from a bin and boxing them to complete an order.   Printing involves creating something unique to the customer so it requires machinery to produce the goods.

Certainly, depending on the printing equipment being used, it is not always possible or practical to produce a fixed number of goods.   In fact, stopping the press is a process that will sometimes produce more or sometimes less just by virtue of how the equipment works.   Another way to think of it as like a car doing a hard brake.   If the car is driving faster or on a wet cement surface it might stop longer than it would if it was driving slower and stopping on dry blacktop.   “Stopping on a dime,” is virtually impossible in reality.

That is why the printing industry has long adopted a policy that allows for a + or – 10% factor when it comes to printing.   It is up to the consumer to find out how this matter is handled for billing.   Here at CalendarsNow.com, our policy has always been a + or – 5% overrage / underrage allowance and we bill accordingly to the product that is produced and shipped.   Every effort is made to only produce the quantity of goods that has been ordered to the best of our abilities.

Why bill for the extras when they were not ordered?   Simple.   We want to keep customer costs down and furthermore we want our customers to get what they pay for.   For instance, if a customer orders 300 calendars and our production actually produces 310…do you think most customers would rather we recycle those 10 “extra” calendars and simply build that product cost into the price of the order?   Or, do you think the customer would prefer, within certain allowances, to get everything they had paid for?   Fact is, those printers who don’t have an overrage / underrage policy are simply building this aspect of the printing job into the cost of the printing job one way or another.   We like to treat our customers fair giving them everything that they pay for.

Yet here’s another situation.   When a customer orders 500 calendars they don’t like to receive only 485 units, and we understand that, too.   It is for that reason most often during production there are overrages instead of underrages, but still underrages do sometimes occur.

At CalendarsNow.com our policy is to charge for what gets produced.   That means if you only receive 485 calendars (out of the 500 ordered) that is what you pay for.   Of course, all of this is done within the + or – 5% allowance which is spelled out in our Terms and Conditions of Sale, on our downloaded order form, and it is reaffirmed once a calendar order has been entered into our system (via an order confirmation sent to customer).   We try to be very clear and upfront about this policy.

We do accept orders from customers who state “Absolutely No Overruns.”   When this request is made, we then must tell customers that they will be accepting of an underrun of up to 10%, which is still within industry standards.

Honestly, this entire matter of production overruns / underruns can be a great source for customer confusion.   No matter how it is explained the concept is not always easy to grasp unless you can be at the factory and see how the equipment functions for each individual order.

As things continue to advance in the printing world with digital printing and other more computerized processes, these longstanding printing policies will eventually change as they become outdated.   However, some of the finest printing still to be done today is derived from equipment from an era 30-50 years ago when a human, not a computer must manually stop the press.

As always, if this blog post does not clear up your understanding of overrages / underrages as they apply to our printed calendar products, we ask you to kindly give our customer sales representatives a call to further discuss the matter.   We want you to completely understand how billing with this policy means keeping costs down and for the customer to fully get (from each order) what they are paying for.

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What Information Goes On The Perfect Promotional Calendar Ad?

September 6, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

So, you’ve decided to purchase promotional advertising calendars to market your business.   Now comes the next big decision.   What information should that advertising panel include?

There are actually many schools of thought when it comes to ad design layout.   Here’s how they break down:

  • Keep it simple.   Remember, less information gives more billboard advertising effect.   When your calendar is viewed from 10 feet away do you think a prospect will be able to see six lines of copy and a busy layout?   Or, will a company name and catchy web address make a better quick impression?
  • Give them all the contact information they need.   This thinking is a company wants the phone numbers, web address, everything about how to contact the company within eyesight of the prospect or customer so when they are ready to order the process is convenient.
  • Reinforce the brand image.   For some customers the single most important element of the ad layout is their logo.   Their logo speaks volumes and they want it prominent and correctly colored for customer awareness.
  • Make a statement with creative design.   Other customers use fascinating type fonts and eye-pleasing graphics to captivate the viewer and leave a bold impression.
  • Tell the calendar user about all the products/services they need to know.   This customer feels it’s important to describe all the services and/or product lines they offer for sale.   In this calendar ad layout it serves to educate and to remind the customer they are dealing with a multifaceted business chock full of capabilities.
  • Dazzle them with color.   While most of our standard calendars come with a black imprinted message, in most cases multiple or even full color can be an option.   The thinking here is color captures attention and for an ad to work it needs to be seen


These are just a few examples of the thinking that goes into how to create the best ad for your next imprinted promotional calendar purchase.   Like many facets of advertising, to use calendars as a functional marketing tool it begins with knowing what message needs to be said and to whom.

Click HERE for a page of examples and additional suggestions we offer when you print out a calendar order form (found in menu bar at top of page).   Also, keep in mind that you don’t have to be limited by just the standard ad panel on many of our standard wall calendar styles.   In fact, we can customize the entire inside and outside back cover to inform your customers and prospects about all the information they need to know.

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Choosing The Best Promotional Advertising Calendar For Effectiveness

September 5, 2013 by · Leave a Comment 

Choosing the most effective calendar for a promotional advertising campaign shouldn’t be that difficult, or should it?   Well, apparently some of our past customers have had their issues…let me explain.

I talked one day to a scratch golfer whose single passion in life happened to be golf.   Unfortunately, his career was in banking so he often melded the two activities whenever he could.   So, when it came time to order calendars to give away to the banking customers the choice was rather obvious.   That’s right…he ordered up several boxes of golf-themed calendars.

He was so excited.   Inside the calendar featured an image of one of Augusta National’s famous holes known as “Amen Corner.”   The customers will be so excited.   Trouble is…the calendars didn’t strike a chord with the largely blue collar clients who entered the bank’s lobby.   Of course, it was the calendar’s fault so they were never ordered again.

CN-1706 Beautiful America

Same holds true for the auto body shop owner who ordered all hotrod calendars.   There were gorgeous images inside featuring Pontiac GTO’s, lowboy Deuce coupés, various roadsters…the sort of cars that make many grease monkeys drool.   Contrary to the banker’s experience, these calendars flew off the shelf and were in high demand.

That is, until the year he decided to change things up and order wildlife calendars.   His customers revolted.   They had grown accustomed to receiving and using car-themed calendars.   Pictures of deer and quail just didn’t cut it, at least for most customers.

The point is the best promotional calendar for a particular customer is NOT what the buyer of the calendar likes, it is what the likes are of the customers and prospects who are intended to use the calendars.

Careful calendar purchasing begins with understanding the calendar user.   You might be a dentist with a passion for airplanes, but handing those calendars out to your patients would be a total waste of time and money.

Keep in mind that calendar users have to connect with the calendar in some manner or they won’t be likely to use it.   Remember, for most wall calendars a customer must view a picture for 30 or more days.   If the subject isn’t something they like to look at…well, it likely will not get used.

Smart calendar advertisers purchase with an eye toward their customers.   The goal is to get the calendar hung on the wall so it creates that year-long “billboard” advertising affect.   Sometimes it means purchasing calendars that a buyer doesn’t personally find appealing, yet customers will use.

As a tip, we offer this advice.   Our number one selling calendar is CN-1706 Beautiful America for a good reason.   It has broad appeal to the widest range of calendar users.   After all, who doesn’t like to look at pretty scenic pictures all year?   So, when in doubt stick with a proven winner like a scenic calendar.   However, if you are certain your customer or prospect base is better entertained by a theme specific calendar…go with that.

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