tba-12-29-16The calendar is constantly changing based on the moon, dates of the month, days of the week, and when the year starts. This marble cake overlay can stretch and shrink selling periods in advance of holidays, and make certain holidays more or less significant. It can alert you in advance to labor, shipping, and warehousing shortages and challenges. And it can tip you off to selling opportunities unique to every year.

When planning anything, it’s important to first find out the things you cannot change. That precious bit of research can prevent the unpleasant surprises you should have seen coming. Also, that research can alert you to some unique opportunities that will be made available to you.

As a marketer and merchandiser, planning your new year is essential. Take a careful look at the year ahead. Identify the key annual events that effect sales. Discover when and how they fall this year. This is the first step in building a solid planning framework. By planning your year around these events, you can maximize your sales to grow your brand.

So, what are the events to look for? Get out your calendar for the 2017 and take notice of all the bank and national holidays. More importantly, notice the length of time between them and the number of days between midweek holidays and the nearest weekends. Also, identify time changes, Super Bowl, World Series, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day, schools’ opening and closing schedules, and so forth.

Now you have the skeleton for your plan. These are the bones you cannot change. Now plan your selling periods with appropriate lead times and seasonal displays.

For example, a study of the 2017 calendar reveals that this year, Valentine’s Day is the Tuesday before the Presidents’ 3-day weekend. In some years, they come close enough to create a Valentine’s – Presidents’ 3-day weekend. This year they will be separate.

This year St. Patrick’s Day is on a Friday but 4 weeks away from Easter which comes “late” this year. Easter is 8 weeks from President’s day so the market will see St. Patrick’s Day as a more important mid-way marketing day this year. In some years Easter comes much closer to St Patrick’s Day.

This year Independence Day falls on a Tuesday. So, most people will stretch the preceding weekend into a 4-day Independence Day weekend, making all of June an important sales month.

Labor Day comes on September 4th this year and it is always seen as the last possible holiday of the summer. August will be an important selling month. Columbus Day is 5 weeks after Labor Day making for a longer sales period than normal.

Halloween falls on a Tuesday so parties and “trick-or-treat” will most probably happen on Saturday the 28th.

Veterans Day will fall on a Saturday this year but will be “observed” on Friday the 10th of November in the US, making this a 3-day weekend for most people.

Chanukah falls on December 13th this year which is almost two weeks before Christmas. In other years these events can be much closer. Like this year, Christmas and New Year’s will be a Monday holiday, tempting many to take the 22nd of December through the 7th of January off.

So you might say, “What does all this mean to me?” Depending on your business, what product or service you’re selling, how far in advance you need to ask for a display, who you need to contact, or when they will be there, it means plenty!

Start with what you can’t change to discover what you can! Happy selling in this unique year of 2017!