Margie’s Active Wear was a boutique clothing store which had been in business for ten years. And any store which has been in business is probably doing a few things right. Of course, the other side of that coin is that any store which has been in business for ten years is probably set in its ways to a certain extent. It may be running on autopilot. The only problem with running on autopilot is that it may be difficult to react to the unexpected. If unforeseen problems come up, there may be no one at the controls to take over and keep things on a steady course.
And that’s exactly what happened at Margie’s. The turmoil in the economy revealed some weaknesses in the controls. Because things had been steady for so long, there hadn’t been much attention paid to marketing. And so regular customers became irregular customers, and many customers stopped coming altogether. When things finally stabilized, Margie realized that she had learned a very important lesson: that it was a very bad idea to sit on one’s laurels and let the autopilot take over.
She decided that she wanted to start to build a marketing program that would be for the long haul. She called a friend to see if he could recommend someone who might have some good ideas, and she was referred to a salesman at a full service printing company which had been in business for many years. He dropped by the next week, and they had a lengthy discussion. He came to the conclusion that Margie ran her business well on an overall basis, but he had to agree that she was taking a bit of a risk by not making more of an effort to create a consistent marketing plan.
Finally, he made his recommendation. He thought that a calendar would be a great starting point for Margie to start promoting the store. In the first place, a calendar was practical. No one threw them away if they could find a place to put it. Secondly, she could put information all over the calendar which would promote her store. Each red letter day in the year – start of various seasons, the time of key sales, and so forth – would be marked on the calendar.