While many experiential marketing agencies are busy during the holidays, the end of year is usually a slower time for us. Many health-minded CPG brands slow down their demo programs during the holidays. We understand – more people are buying pumpkin pie than protein shakes. They figure they’ll reserve their cash for January when people are ready to set their New Year’s resolutions.
But there’s a considerable downside to going dark during the holidays. You often lose the momentum you’ve been working so hard to achieve. How? Let us explain.
1. You may lose your best demo reps.
Great demo reps are the key to having a successful demo program. It’s not enough to have a great product in a high-traffic store. You’ve got to have the right demo reps sharing their love for your brand. The danger of scaling back your demo program too much is that these reps will be forced to find other work for the 6-week period they are out of a job…and sometimes they don’t come back!
By keeping at least some engagement with your demo reps during the holiday season, they’re more likely to be around when your program picks back up!
2. You lose your velocity in the store.
Store managers don’t love all their brands equally. There’s definitely preferential treatment toward brands with sales and demo reps that are consistently in their store. Department and store managers tend to feature brands that they know will execute sales-focused demos when big sales seasons come around. But when you go dark for the holidays, it’s sometimes difficult to then get a highly competitive, off-shelf placement in January. December is a great time to show the store you are really committed to them, especially in departments, like vitamins, that have lower traffic during that time.
3. You miss your chance to plant seeds that could lead to January sales.
Somewhere I read that it takes being exposed to something an average of 7 times before you make a purchase. Doing demos for health-minded brands in November and December can plant the seeds so your brand is top of mind when it’s time to fit back into your favorite jeans. Those seeds have 4-6 weeks to grow into a purchase when you start planting in the holiday season! Then in January – harvest time!
As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when determining whether to stay the course with your demo program or go dark during the holidays. We have some clients who ask if they can pull back some during the holidays without pulling the plug altogether. Of course, it’s not all or nothing here. We recommend they keep at least 50% of their demos in any given market. This allows them to stay engaged with their retailers, demo reps, and customers through the holiday season. We’ve seen success with this model.
What about you? Have you seen a payoff when demoing through the holidays?