Summer gets a bad rap in business circles. Many businesses turn off their marketing engines -- marketing directors ignore summertime promotions, advertisers stay out of summer issues, businesspeople omit summer meetings. You may be light on orders, phone calls, and appointments during this sunny season. However, studies have shown that businesses that maintain or increase their marketing during slow periods wind up outselling competitors that cut back. You can, too.

Here are three ways to turn up the heat on your marketing.

  1. Conduct a one-question poll. Call all your customers during a designated week or month. It'll serve a few purposes. You'll probably catch many folks in a summertime lull; they may be more available to talk. You'll gain some valuable feedback about your service and get a head start on developing and offering new solutions (i.e., products or services) to their problems. It's a way to touch base, and many of the conversations will lead to a project that your customer has been meaning to call you about.
  2. Help others, help your business. Pondering how to give back to your community? Now is the time to launch your "civic marketing" program and find ways to volunteer or donate to a worthy cause. Attend meetings of neighborhood associations to discover local concerns. Compile a list of organizations or annual events that may be a good fit for your business. Work on this now, and you'll have some activities lined up for the fall and next year. Be sure to tell your community and clientele about the alliance: "We're proud supporters of ..."
  3. Do something outrageously odd. The Blaze Co., a marketing and public relations firm in Venice, Calif., sends out stationery whose edges are burned with a torch to create the "blazed" effect. Another attention-getting idea: Enclose a $1 bill with a note to your clients asking them to call you just to say hi. Try it; you'll be surprised at the response you get.

Copyright © 2000 Kimberly Stansell. All Rights Reserved.