Tips on Marketing Planning from Deborah Sexton

If you read my blog regularly, you know I sometimes invite others to submit their thoughts and comments, like the 2011 predictions posted recently by Josh Ellsworth. I actually have a few more of his predictions that I am going to post, as well as some other exciting heat printing information from Brent Kisha of Stahls’ Decorating Fulfillment Center, but I got carried away with all the excitement going on in the pro sports world with the NHL All-Star Game, the NFL Pro Bowl and now the Super Bowl is coming up this weekend. Did you know that Stahls’ Transfer Express created the full color digital transfers for the Super Bowl patches that will be heat printed on commemorative jerseys ordered on There I go again…but another purpose of this blog is to provide you with ideas about how to make your businesses grow and prosper (with heat printing of course), but Deborah Sexton has written up some ideas that can be helpful to any business. So if you have a little down time before the game, you might want to consider putting some thought into your marketing plans for the upcoming year. Here’s what Deborah Sexton, former editor of Impressions Magazine and well-known imprinted sportswear industry writer, has to say about 

Deborah Sexton shares some ideas on what to consider when planning your marketing calendar for the year ahead.

Using Slower Months To Create A Marketing Calendar

The first quarter of the year is historically slower time for decorated apparel shops and there may be no better time to start working on a marketing calendar that you can use to help boost sales for the coming year.:

 You may want to put together a simple version that will serve as a reminder for the coming months or it can be more comprehensive and include actual deadlines for projects to be done. What markets you serve will determine what you include in your calendar, but here are some ideas to get you started.


So many decorated apparel shops serve schools and that’s a great place to get started. Most schools publish their school calendars online. Print out a copy of any school calendar that you serve or would like to serve. On it you will find dates for upcoming sports, events, performances, and more. Make note of events that provide you with an opportunity to sell decorated apparel. Maybe a school has an annual spring carnival or hosts a state tournament. You might want to set up a booth at the carnival to offer personalized school shirts. Or be the first decorator to present some new design ideas for a carnival event shirt. Graduation shirts are annual opportunity that you may not have capitalized on in the past. If the school has a homecoming, all kinds of opportunities present themselves to supply homecoming shirts to students. Make note when the various sports start and plan on sending either promotional materials or make a call to the coach to get uniforms ready for the coming season. Booster clubs also should be contacted for the band, cheerleaders, etc. All these dates should be noted on your calendar as well as the correct contact person and their contact information.

Local Events

Local events also present opportunities for apparel shops to supply shirts. A great example is tasting festivals where local restaurants are invited to have booths and concerts are held in the evenings. Arts and craft fairs, outdoor concerts, Fourth of July celebrations, there’s an endless list that you can research online. Be sure to check the local chamber of commerce Web site, business journals, local newspapers, and similar publications and Web sites to search for upcoming events that you may want to solicit.

Current Customers

If you take the time to go through past orders of your current customer list, you also will see patterns of when they order. If a customer has a local annual event, why not consider contacting them early rather than waiting them to contact you? It might be a 5k road race, an anniversary celebration, a golf tournament, etc. Put the dates on your calendar and then count back however many weeks before the event that you would like to start contacting them about the order. Be prepared to offer some new ideas in terms of products and designs, and you may find yourself with a bigger order.

Once you have your dates down, decide when you want to initially contact each opportunity and how. Then come up with a reminder system. Maybe it’s your e-mail calendar, a big calendar in your office, or some other method. Regardless, with some advance planning, you will find yourself better prepared for upcoming opportunities and hopefully capture some new business.

Thanks for your input Deborah. Looking forward to hearing from you again this year.

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