What's the Plan?
Planning ahead is part of the job description at a magazine. We plan the stories we will write, who will travel to industry events, when the magazine will go to the printer and then out to you, when we will take a long weekend so that it does not interfere with production. We are always planning at least a month or two ahead of time. Promotional products distributors plan even further in advance by selling programs three or four months (or even a year) ahead of the event or giveaway. Anyone with a planning-heavy job knows the importance of paper calendars and planners. Technology is wonderful, but nothing will ever surpass the feeling of literally crossing something off of your calendar.
The good thing about technology is that it allows everyone to be in constant communication, which means that those planning-heavy workers have even more to plan. Good thing, too, since you have a lot of calendars and planners to sell. Here are nine things you should know before you start selling calendars and planners for 2015.
1. Remove the Dates
You are probably thinking, “What is this nonsense? Remove the dates from planners? Who does that?” Chameleon Like does, and the reasoning is sound. Pierre Martichoux, president of the Gilroy, California-based journal supplier, explained why not including dates on planners helps lengthen the use of a product. “We feel that selling non-dated planners is often a great option as they do not ‘expire’ and give flexibility to the client to give out the journal at any time of the year,” he said. If the end-user who receives the notebook wants to add a date, he or she can. “We do offer a few options of fillers, such as non-dated weekly pages, where recipient write the date for each week,” Martichoux said.
2. Compact is Key
Tammy Peters, customer service at House of Doolittle, Arlington Heights, Ill., mentioned that smaller desk calendars are trendy right now due to smaller workspaces and telecommuters. “We are experiencing growth in compact desk pads (18.5x13"), which fit in a smaller work space, work stations and the home office,” she said.
3. When It Comes to Planner Color, Basic Is Best
Martichoux noted the wide variety of color choices for planners is this: “Black, black, black … and brown.” Though this color scheme may seem simple, it opens up the options for decoration. Your client can add color or texture with interesting imprints.
4. Imprint Options are Extensive
Peters noted that digital prints and four-color designs are most popular for calendars and planners. “Customers like to create or design their own covers and calendars,” she said. Martichoux added that debossing and filling are also popular.
5. Tech Isn’t Greater Than Paper
Martichoux pointed something out that will ring true as you read this paper magazine with your smartphone nearby (for AR purposes, not games, of course). “The reality is that people now use both,” he said. Peters agreed. “A paper calendar provides the perfect backup for your electronic device in the event it is lost or encounters technical difficulties,” she said. Plus, paper still has more room for decoration. “An Outlook calendar on your cellphone will never be as ‘visual’ as a calendars on your wall,” Martichoux added. 6. Home is Where the Calendar is
Peters noted that recent studies have found paper calendars are used often at home. “There is an average of three calendars in every household, [and] 75 percent of all households depend upon a kitchen calendar,” she said.
7. Spring is Calendar-Selling Season
And we mean really early, as in shortly after the winter of the new year, sell for the next year. “We start selling calendars early in April for the upcoming year,” Peters said. Plus, as an added incentive for your clients, many suppliers offer deals for repeat and early orders. “We call on reorders, offer early order pricing,” Peters said. “We encourage the placement of early orders with special promotions, deferred billing and shipping at no extra charge for storage.”
8. Journals are Planners
We know, we know. We just blew your mind. A journal with a calendar in the front or back is a planner, and it offers a user more room for notes. Martichoux explained why this is true (and increasingly popular). “We feel that whenever clients ask for a planner, they increasingly mean blank journal, so we are usually able to sell them a non-dated solution that is more modern,” he said. “They usually are happy with a journal or notebook that includes some dated reference such as a two-year calendar insert at the beginning or end of the journal. The rest of the journal is a blank space for their note taking, sketches, etc.”
9. USA-made and Eco-friendly Paper Products Exist
“House of Doolittle produces all of its products in the USA,” Peters said. The company not only sources locally, but also ecologically. “We print on paper with 100 percent post-consumer content [and that is] 100 percent recycled and FSC-certified.” The company’s commitment to sustainable products is so high that even the wire binding on planners is made of 90 percent recycled wire.