When the big ball dropped in Times Square at midnight, we were all supposed to toss away our 2010 calendars and replace them with the latest and greatest. For well over a century, shopkeepers, business executives, mechanics and, yes, even New York’s taxi drivers, have relied on “freebie” promotional calendars for that ever-so-basic bit of information.
But as this increasingly digital age continues to take hold, the idea of a physical calendar – a booklet, a page-a-day or even a magnet ready to be attached to a refrigerator – is becoming more and more archaic. Paper calendars are beginning to feel like something out of the past, a relic of an era where typewriters and secretaries got things done, where going on vacation truly meant you were impossible to reach and where airport security was a breeze.
But several factors have killed the ubiquitous promotional calendar, a tool that was, until as recently as a year ago, so useful for getting your message out on a daily basis to your clients, your potential clients or even just your friends.
The digital edge
Synchronizing calendars on work computers, home computers and mobile phones used to be such a laborious effort that it was best left for computer geeks. The latest innovations – especially Google’s tremendous degree of integration – have made synchronization a no-sweat job hardly worthy of being called an “effort.”
With one Google profile, a user can schedule a meeting on his Android-powered Smartphone that will automatically show up on any computer or Smartphone he signs into. “The cloud” is hard to imagine, but we can all agree that it rocks.
Apple takes a slightly different approach, but its system is just as intuitive – and that’s something that more businesses are realizing as the Cupertino California, tech giant continues to lure businesses into its web.
Smartphones are so intelligent these days that some will automatically link to a car’s infotainment system to store calendar and email data. Integration is so simple on cars with Ford’s much-ballyhooed Sync system or BMW’s advanced Blackberry-supporting system that it’s almost impossible to be uninformed for long.
International compliance efforts are putting companies on the green track in an effort to reduce consumption of the earth’s limited resources. As a result, many companies seeking various degrees of ISO certification levels take an aggressive stance against paper products.
Limited printing from a corporate-owned printer is only half of the battle; some of the most cutting edge firms are limiting the number of non-essential paper products entering their offices.
A promotional calendar suddenly seems less than forward-looking.
Everyone is looking for every way to trim costs in this economy, and promotional tools without an obvious way to track their effectiveness are the first on the list.
As a result, these promotional calendars are being replaced by totally different, often less expensive campaigns.
What this means to you
Sometimes it’s good to get back to basics with a simple promotional tool that doesn’t cost much to make but reaches a wide audience. Promotional calendars aren’t dead, but they’re on their way out.
What will be the next obvious choice for daily exposure marketing devices?