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Marketing Moments | What is Your Favorite Day of the Year?

Marketing Moments
April 13, 2022 11:00 AM

Sales and Marketing

Marketing content shared with Michigan Business Network by:

Bonnie J. Knutson, PhD

The School of Hospitality Business

Broad College of Business

Michigan State University


It seems everyone has a favorite day of the year. For some, it is a holiday; for others, it is an anniversary, and for still others, it is a birthday. Like many of you, I love the festivities and joy of the Christmas, Hanukkah, and the Kwanzaa season. And being born on Flag Day, anything that has Red, White, and Blue connected with it is at the top of my list --- July 4th, Patriot’s Day, Memorial Day, and Veteran’s Day, which of course began as Armistice Day, marking the end of World War I on the 11th day of the 11th month, at the 11th hour.

But I also have another favorite day – June 9th because it is National Donald Duck Day. I have always loved Donald because I related more to that feathered character than to his legendary colleague, Mickey Mouse. So you can imagine how happy I was to learn that Donald is honored with his own national day, and with his own star on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame in 2005. Plus it has given me an opportunity to host a unique party that family and friends look forward to because it is fresh and fun. In the marketing world, we call it breaking thru the clutter. As Michel Roux, often called “The Godfather of Restaurant Cuisine,” purportedly said, “If you are not breaking through the clutter, you are contributing to it.”

To get your break-thru-the-clutter juices going, the educator in me has an assignment for you. Take some time to scroll through https://nationaldaycalendar.com/calendar-at-a-glance/. This is a website that lists hundreds of national days, weeks, and months and it is a gold mine for ideas that you can use to refresh existing marketing strategies and/or develop new ones to generate interest and excitement in your target market. For instance, if you have a food and beverage operation, you can use it to build an annual theme for events/menus. Winter could feature Hot Pastrami Sandwich day (January 14th) or Soup day (February 4th). You could even have a fun day with Ice Cream for Breakfast day (February 5th). Spring brings opportunities for New Beer’s Eve (April 5th) or Make Lunch Count day (April 13th) and Eat What You Want Day (May 11th) when customers can justify indulge themselves. June gives an opening to celebrate

healthy eating with Eat your Vegetables day (June 17th), which also happens to be Stewart’s Root Beer Day, Apple Strudel day, and Cherry Tart Day. And in Autumn, unique openings could come from Noodle day (October 1st), Chocolate-covered pretzel day (October 7th), and a real “winner” is the day set aside to honor Pizza With the Works Except Anchovies (November 12th).

This website can generate inspiration for every business. What about celebrating January 28th with Have Fun at Work day, which is also Kazoo Day, and Big Wig Day. What an opportunity to build employee camaraderie. You can likewise take advantage of national celebrations such as First Ladies Day (June 2nd) (Don’t forget National Donald Duck Day!), Wife Appreciation Day (September 18th), and use November 1st to put a fresh twist on a traditional book or reading promotion since that combines Author’s day and Family Literacy Day.

To give you an example of how an un-heralded national day (or week, or month) celebration could be utilized in your business, consider Grandparents’ Day. Virtually all businesses pay homage to Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Very few celebrate Grandparent’s Day.

Did you even know there is an official Grandparents’ Day? This year’s is September 11, 2022 (Sunday). Marian McQuade of Oak Hill, West Virginia, is recognized as the founder of National Grandparents Day. It was her goal to educate the youth in the community about the important contributions seniors have made throughout history. She also urged the youth to "adopt" a grandparent, not just for one day a year, but rather for a lifetime. In 1977, Congress passed legislation proclaiming the first Sunday after Labor Day as National Grandparents' Day, and, on August 3, 1978, then-President Jimmy Carter signed the proclamation. The statute cites the day's purpose: "...to honor grandparents, to give grandparents an opportunity to show love for their children's children, and to help children become aware of strength, information, and guidance older people can offer".

A Song for Grandma and Grandpa by Johnny Prill is the official song of the U.S. National Grandparents' Day holiday. The flower of the U.S. National Grandparents Day is the forget-me-not.

The beautiful part about capitalizing on these national celebration days, weeks, and months, is that they give you the opportunity to take advantage of three pillars for building excitement, engagement, and positive advertising – Secret, Story, Surprise.

The Secret: When you know something that others don’t know, you feel special, more in-the-know, more connected with what is happening. When someone can pass this nugget of information along to others, it strokes his/her ego. And when you can stroke consumers’ egos by letting them in on a secret they can share, you are giving them a no-cost gift. (i.e. The song and flower for Grandparents’ Day.)

The Story: Marketing guru, Jon Spolestra, reminds us that the next time you get asked what is new at your business, your answer can be, “A lot and it is exciting!” When something is new, it becomes a story to tell – by you, your staff, and your customers. This creates radial advertising via word-of-mouth, public relations, and social media. (i.e. How the day was started by Marian McQuade and institutionalized by Congress.)

The Surprise. This is my favorite way of spawning excitement, engagement, and value. The concept of the surprise is embodied in the marketing term, lagniappe. This is the idea of the baker’s dozen, where you get a 13th cookie when you only buy a dozen. Surprise has often been called the foundation of delight. It is the unexpected. It is the Deliver+1 that is talked about in the book, Raving Fans. (i.e. An unexpectedly fresh approach).

So when you are looking for inspiration, complete the assignment I gave you and spend some time scrolling through all the possibilities you and your team can find and develop from the vast catalog of our national days of celebration. I’m sure you will have an endless list of ideas.

Your bottom line will thank you!

Marketing Moments, hosted by Dr. Bonnie Knutson. With her wit and entertaining style, Bonnie, a frequent speaker at business and association meetings takes her perspective and brings it to our broadcast platform. She shares decades of knowledge and brand awareness, and gives us all a new lens on marketing for business.

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