The Olive Way E-Newsletter 

December 2008


Half Calendar Luck


These days as “Jingle Bells” fills the air, companies are losing no time to reach out to their customers and suppliers. 


I am always amazed by the number of calendars received and their designs.  It is often difficult to determine which one or two to hang up or to place on my desk.  One calendar, however, never gives me that kind of “headache”.  It is so creative that I know exactly what to do with it: straight to recycling.  Why?  Because the calendar goes as far as mid-year and is filled with information that I don’t care about.  


It appears that I am not the only one that would send this calendar to where it belongs.  Once criss-crossing Southeast Asia with the “half-calendar” client, I soon saw promotional materials from its competitors wherever we went.  And when you heard how the customers liked those beautiful posters, and how they, their customers and even their families loved to have the calendars, all from your client’s fiercest competitor, you got the message loud and clear of how seriously wrong the client’s marketing had gone. 


The reasons for printing this half calendar are quite simple:


The company’s fiscal year ends mid-year, and their calendar follows their fiscal year.  Fair and nothing wrong with that.  But who cares?  Except for the company and its stakeholders, most people go by the calendar year which ends in December, not June, July or any other month. 


Why then does the company not print a calendar-year calendar just for its customers?  Why not omit the dry and boring information that is of no concern to its customers and add something of interest to them?  “Well, we do not have the budget for it.”  I see, a common problem that is only going to get worse under current trying financial situation.  But wait a minute, that is only an excuse, is it not?  The budget is readily available, but is used to demote when the whole idea should have been to promote.


One size fits for all, what a bad idea!  Today we “have no budget”; tomorrow we need a bigger budget to fix the problems as a result.  Can you afford to do it wrong when the budget continues to tighten at current economic time?  In marketing, if we cannot do it right regardless of the reason, just don’t do it.  Ditch the half calendar and the like, and give our customers something they can remember us in a positive way.  If you can’t afford the right present, do not even bother and send them the wrong one.  It is really too expensive! 


Ever received gift cards?  Ever bought a gift only after checking the list your friend had supplied to the store?  Ever just given money in lieu of gifts at a wedding or a baby shower?  Ever thought about why people choose to do these?  If we can answer those questions right, and if we could apply the same concept in our marketing - give our customers what they need and love to have, not what we would prefer them to have or what we think they should have, then our efforts would bear the right fruits.  


Happy Holiday Season!  



Letter to the Editor


Re “The Green Hat Lesson”, November 2008


Jacqueline, Thank you so much... The article is extremely well written and very interesting…  How right you are, that all we have to do is ask those in our midst or read to keep from offending our neighbours and friends.  Especially, now with so many businesses interacting with people around the world.


I find cultural differences and idiosyncrasies fascinating…  I know in my mother-in-law’s culture which is Irish, a female visitor must not pour tea in another woman’s house - otherwise, she would fall pregnant.  Of course if one is trying to get pregnant then I guess she would offer to pour it.


Caroleen Whiteley, Toronto, Canada



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