Book Marketing, Author Publicity, Branding

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Guest Post: Harry Potter Just Made $476 Million – And How is YOUR Business Doing?

Call it what you will – the summer doldrums, the dog days of summer, the summertime blues. It really doesn’t matter what you call it, but most all of the statistics show that businesses slow down during the summertime.

Now, if you’re content to follow the crowd, by all means, feel free to follow suit. But, I certainly can’t run my business based on seasons of the year – and as a marketer and CEO, I can’t understand why other businesses would, unless they’re seasonal in nature. So, if you’re able to disagree with the crowd logic (or as I see it, “illogic”), then while everyone else is following the trend, you could be spending your time and energy transcending it.

But, don’t take my word for it. Just ask Dan Fellman, head of domestic distribution for Warner Brothers. Just last week, the latest Harry Potter film chalked up a record-breaking $476 million for its opening weekend. And, Warner Brothers is also spending advertising dollars promoting its summer 2012 blockbuster The Dark Knight Rises, the last chapter in director Christopher Nolan’s Batman film trilogy. The release of the trailer trended high on all the news search engines over the last two weeks, and according to some fans, added more reasons to see the Potter opening weekend debut.

Granted, summer loves the movie industry, but it’s not so much about the industry as it is about one glaring fact: people and businesses don’t stop spending money over the summer. So, in defense of summer, let me offer a few important reasons why now is the perfect time for a full-court promotional press.
  • People Still Spend Money - According to the U.S. Census Bureau, retail sales rose .01 percent in June, maintaining a 20-month streak of monthly increases in consumer spending. In fact, despite a lackluster recovery, the U.S. is barely .02 percent away from breaking the record for consumer spending in a single month. That’s not half bad for the summertime. And wait until they calculate a few hundred million dollars worth of movie ticket sales for July.
  • Opportunities Abound - While others are sitting back, you could capture the spotlight. One of the truisms about the media is that it never sleeps. It never takes a single day off. And, with iPads and smartphones enabling people to take the news with them, the media is more and more becoming a moveable feast. Consumers don’t have to be home anymore, listening to the radio or sitting in front of a TV, to receive your message when it’s delivered by the media. If things actually do slow down for your business during the summer, then factually, the only answer to turning them around IS promotion, promotion and more promotion.
  • Planning Smart - In the event that the summer isn’t a good time for you to promote, it is still a good time for you to prepare to promote. One of the pitfalls in promotion is that you don’t realize you need to do it until it’s too late, and then you’re constantly behind the 8 ball trying to get it done. You wind up behind schedule and you settle for something less than perfect because of the short timetable. Whether you are actively promoting or simply using the summer months to prepare to promote, one thing is for certain – summertime can be the most productive time of the year for your marketing effort.
The summer doesn’t have to be slow. It can be a time when you recharge your promotional efforts and move yourself forward. But feel free to take a break to go see Harry Potter, so you can see how the big boys use the summertime to do more than just take in a little sun.

Marsha Friedman launched EMSI Public Relations in 1990. Her firm represents corporations and experts in a wide array of fields such as business, health, food, lifestyle, politics, finance, law, sports and entertainment. Some of the more prominent names on her client roster are Sergeant’s Pet Care Products, Former National Security Advisor Robert McFarlane and the famous Motown Group, the Temptations.
She consults individuals and businesses on a daily basis and is frequently asked to speak at conferences about how to harness the power of publicity.

Outside of the office, Marsha is a mother of three and a grandmother who also raised one of her grandchildren. She is also the founder of a non-profit organization called the Cherish the Children Foundation. In 1996 the White House recognized her charity which sets out to raise awareness of the plight of underprivileged and foster children.


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