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Christmas In July

Christmas In July

By Ellen Fruchtman

This isn’t an article about creating an over-used promotion in July, but rather a notification to everyone who thinks July is way too early to be prepping for your holiday marketing plans. July you say? Yes, July. First and foremost, the summer isn’t a crazy busy time for fine jewelry. Your staff is not selling every moment of their work day. So, this is the perfect time to hold a meeting and assess what has been done and what needs to be done to make this holiday season as successful as the last.

If you work with a marketing firm, they will likely be starting this process. They will be looking at your current budget. They will evaluate where you are in spending, and should be reviewing your sales numbers. They will be internally discussing what’s working and not working so that they can pivot in preparation for your busiest and most important quarters coming up. They will have a mid-year evaluation with you as well.

If you are not working with a professional, let’s consider what can be done to conduct a true “planning session” on your own, including your staff so there’s a true buy-in to the plan and a “team” approach. By the way, this can also happen if you are working with a professional! As this article was written, well, we all know the state of the economy, the state of the stock market, and the constant barrage of news chatter entertaining the “R” word. Setting all that aside, you have a retail business to run. And part of that means you have to give it all you can give it to make the holidays successful.

Running your own planning session.

Dare I say, this can actually be enlightening and fun! First, try and hold this meeting outside the store. Book a private room in a location where you can have dinner delivered and hold a productive meeting. As an owner, you or your manager can run this meeting. Again, this should include your entire team from accounting to a store greeter. Everyone’s input is valuable.

Make sure the room has the proper set-up. You’ll want a white board for writing or an easel and large pad of paper that can also adhere to walls if need be.

Discuss sales numbers. Profitable categories. What everyone feels is missing.

Here’s a rough agenda for the meeting:

– The State of Current Business. Discuss sales numbers, profitable categories, inventory and what everyone feels is missing. This is also where you should review your marketing budget and see where you are at to date. If there are dollars you want or have to add to Q3 and Q4, this is the time.

– Review Previous Holiday Endeavors. This is where you can review old creative; promotions; what worked; what didn’t work; and more importantly, what you would do differently.

– Brainstorming. This is where you encourage everyone to share an idea. Remind them that all ideas are welcome. You may not use the idea, but this is also where even a mediocre idea can develop and marinate into something good!

– Mid-Year Awards. Everyone needs to get a boost now and then. Everyone. You can make it fun. This is not sales-based. Remember all those fun “awards” listed in your high-school yearbook? Those type of awards.

As the song lyrics go, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year”. It also needs to be the most successful. It’s July. And, yes, it’s time to get those holiday plans in order.

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