AMPERAGE Marketing & Fundraising

One-Minute MarketerIt’s Columbus Day Time to Have a Sale

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It’s Columbus Day Time to Have a Sale

October 10 is Columbus Day. Do we care? Well, if you are a retailer it helps because it gives a reason to have a sale. But why do we need to have a reason?columbus-day

Camping World had a “Back to School” sale. Not sure how that fits a company that is “a leader in all things RV.” A local grocery store had a “Tent Sale.” Yet, when I went to the store there was no tent, it was only in their newspaper and TV ads. A local car dealer was still running a “Labor Day” sale ad 7 days after Labor Day.

I’m all for themes for sales, but it seems like we’ve become lazy. The theme should relate to a consumer benefit, not a date on a calendar or an overused sale cliché. The “Half-Off sale” made more sense to me on end-of-season lawn and garden sale than the “Columbus Day Extravaganza Sale.”

When you name something it should meet a base-line criteria:

  • You name should be trademarkable
  • You should be able to secure the URL
  • It should be memorable
  • It should sound cool
  • It should be unique
  • It should have meaning and move people emotionally when they understand the meaning

A Presidents’ Day Sale is just an attempt of naming a sale in the least thought-provoking way. It doesn’t tell anyone even when it is (most of the sales are all week long, “Presidents’s Week Sale?). And, it doesn’t provide any real, tangible benefit to the consumer (who is not likely to search “Columbus Day Sale”).  And in this highly personalized age, the “It’s Mark’s Birthday Sale” would really speak to me–like Starbucks does every January.

Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.