May 15, 2011

promotional planning on rainy days

Sometimes rainy days come unexpectedly, and one must rapidly determine how to respond. This weekend was a great lesson for me and thousands of others in Blacksburg Virgina. At the Virginia Tech graduation, the initial ceremony in the large football field was curtailed as lightning and rain approached. However, spirits remained high. Some wondered if the ceremony should have been moved indoors, meaning more safety but far fewer attendees. Anyway,the next day grads got diplomas, the sun stayed around for photos, and then the rain continued off and on. At a barbecue were wetness made it seemed lost, a group of us pressed on and served up a happy lunch repast in celebration.

In business, rainy days can mean a quarter or two of disappointing product sales, and businesses should keep two things in mind:

* dig deeply into your analytics dashboards as to what the root causes are. Which customer segments are performing better than others, and in which channels? Which promotions and media are more effective than others.

* plan for efficiency in promotion, and invest where the highest sales leverage is.

* use quality and six sigma frameworks to trim the inefficiencies. However, by all means, keep investing in what has been working.