Here in London, Ontario, I think most would agree that, even by our hearty Canadian standards, this has been a relentless grind of a winter.
In business, we’re feeling it, these last eight weeks especially.
When terms like “Polar Vortex,” “Snow Squall” and “Special Weather Statement” are heard (and then experienced) so consistently, the collective energy of the people grows weary. I can scarcely recall a time when so many seemed so universally worn down as they do right now.
Heck, at the suggestion of a friend, I even looked up details about the phenomenon called “Mercury Retrograde” (and found a great article about it by Gala Darling here ) just to see if there was any further explanation for this current, collective malaise. And it’s interesting.
But I digress.
These kinds of times affect business in a number of ways. We, as consumers, are tougher to reach. We’re staying home. We’re tired. We’re putting off more proactive decisions and dealing more exclusively on matters more urgent to our current day-to-day life.
Idle foot traffic is flagging; we’re moving about by appointment only, and in little mood to browse, or even get to our vehicle and back in such bitter ice, cold and wind.
For retailers, restaurateuers and many other businesses, this is incredibly frustrating.
But, as marketers, we’ve got to look ahead.
This weather will not last. To every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. We just haven’t see the reaction yet.
But it’s coming.
Right now, people are down, cold, weary, and tired. But the flipside of it all is the great likelihood that, once the weather breaks, we will see people out and about in droves. People are aching to get back out and do the things they enjoy, go to the places they like, and buy the things they want.
My question to you, as a business owner, is: Are you preparing for that, or are you moping through the final stages of winter like everyone else?
Now’s the time to get your plan in place. When the surge hits, the greatest percentage of the spoils will go to those who are prepared and have laid the groundwork in advance.
Those who are consistently marketing during these dark, colder times are building their brand and investing in their future. They’ll be top-of-mind when the consumer is finally ready to make a buying decision, or even just that first exploratory internet search. If you’re in this category, good for you. You have a head start on your competition.
But even if you’ve battened down the hatches this winter and have been largely silent, you can still put a plan in place and be ready to invite people to your business for the times when you’re pretty certain they’ll be looking to come out.
So, what’s coming up? Take a look ahead, and think about how your business relates to the many benchmarks we’re about to encounter. To generate some positive momentum, we’ve got to get ourselves into a better head space.
March Break will soon be here. For those who will be traveling with their kids, they may need to have their vehicle serviced before they go away, and may even require the purchase of other essentials (swimsuits, luggage, summer clothes) before they set out. If you’re in those fields, are you talking to your potential customers now?
Many more will stay at home and will be looking for things to do with their kids during the break. Others will finally break out to their favourite restaurant, pub or bar to enjoy St. Patrick’s Day or to watch the annual NCAA basketball tournament.
Are you inviting these people to come see you?
Easter is not far off. Family gatherings will be held in abundance. Many forms of retail should see new activity as well.
In the sports world, golfers will be aching to get on the course, especially with The Masters tournament coming up soon. Baseball players are already in spring training, and the Memorial Cup should have our downtown core abuzz later in the spring. We’re also soon to see the NHL Playoffs begin, and if the Leafs, Canadians and Red Wings all make it in, there will be excitement; a “buzz” that will make these frozen days of February feel like a long time ago .. once they finally get here.
A few weeks after the snow starts to melt, just watch the “for sale” signs pop up on neighbourhood lawns. Who’s getting the listings? And who’s showing the new homes?
After this harsh winter, it’s a good bet that many people will be in need of home improvement and other contract work to touch up whatever’s being hidden by the ice and snow currently. Driveways will need repair. Eavestroughs will be replaced. Roofs will be re-shingled, decks will be built and pools will be installed.
Those who enjoy their garden will be starved for their favourite pursuit more than ever.
We’ll trade snow shovels for garden hoses, sidewalk salt for lawn fertilizer, and boots for shoes!
Anyone who enjoys fashion will surely love to explore some new looks for a new season, completely over-tired of being bundled in scarves, hats and mitts for these last many months.
Once the salt and grime come off our vehicles, we’ll see a lot of scratches, dents and dings that local body shops may wish to be fixing. While many of us will finally do those repairs, others, having finally arrived through the other side of winter, will decide to start anew and will finally go and look to test-drive (and maybe purchase) something new.
Tax return refunds will begin to arrive.
Eight weeks from now, wedding season will be ready to begin. Golf will be in full swing. Patio furniture, barbecues and other outdoor accessories will be flying off the shelves.
It feels better even just thinking of those times, doesn’t it?
Are you ready, or just waiting?
Like the old song says, the sun will come out tomorrow (well … maybe in several more tomorrows, but it will be back sooner or later). My suggestion: put some thought to how you may best take advantage of what’s coming, and put your plan in place now.
When the rush hits (and it will), you’ll be glad you did.
We’ve almost put January astern and I can scarcely recall any of it. Seems a blur to me. And as I stand at the doorstep of the first weekend in many weeks that does not include work, big events or the like, I hardly know what to do with it. Though I know what I’d like to do:
For a long time.
It’s been over a month since KG and I last recorded anything. But the heart of the project is still beating (much like the “Heart of Rock ‘n Roll”) and I can sense an upcoming return that will bring renewed vigour and momentum to see it through to completion. Right now I’d be happy just to get back out to see Kev again and hash out some songs, as it’s difficult to fall victim to life’s perceived burdens when you’re singing.
Still, whenever I’ve been able to steal a few minutes, I have been playing guitar and creating concepts in my mind over the last few weeks. But when I grab a guitar, it’s been the electric 6-string (rather than the acoustic), and I’ve been dusting off some rock material that I’m excited to work on. Burying myself once again under a mountain of my own expectations, I’ve already told KG that the minute we’re done recording the acoustic album, we’ll get to work on the rock project! Haha.
I’m my own worst enemy. I know it.
At this point, what I need is some rest. We’ve been through a time of very high intensity with my company, CPT Entertainment, and we’ve come through it with some success, more knowledge and more firepower. Of course, as you grow, it all becomes more to manage; an art in itself.
There has been no rest in the radio work either. Hosting a weeknight show, regardless of the fact that it’s pre-recorded, tethers you to a regular routine whether you like it or not. Even though your body and mind cry out for a rest on a Monday after working a trade show all weekend, you still need to find the energy to prepare and perform on the air even if you’d really rather tell people to go listen to something else for a day or two.
I am not complaining. The great news is that all this work was expected. And I am lucky to have the opportunity to do it. Embarrassingly fortunate, really. And on top of that, there is much to look forward to.
This coming week, I’ll be escaping for a few days to do nothing but be with my wonderful wife and two great sons. We are headed to the Sunshine State, hoping it saves for us some of what the state was named for. But if not, that’s okay too. We’re just excited to be together without all the day-to-day distractions life requires. And we know that after a few days away, we’ll be aching to get back home, which is part of the fun of going away.
I’m excited that the Daytona 500 is coming up. I’m excited that the golf season is getting into full swing (with or without you-know-who). I can see that spring is not far off, and that’s a nice thought too.
I’m pumped up about where CPT Entertainment is headed. We have worked tirelessly and in a constant state of change for about three years. We are finally starting to see the roadmap of the future coming into focus. That’s exciting and empowering.
I’m very excited about where Kevin Bulmer Enterprises is going, and you can expect that I’ll be putting more of my time and effort into that in the coming months and years, especially after the “No Schedule Man” CD is ready. Songwriting, performing, speaking and writing: those are my passions. I have promised myself I will make those things a part of each day in some way, even if it’s only a few moments’ thought.
Off the top of my head, some other things that are happy thoughts:
David Francey told me the other day that he was working on a new CD with Keiran Kane. That is very good news!
Extreme fans are impatiently awaiting the upcoming live CD/DVD and, possibly, a chance to see the band live again this year. That’d be really exciting.
Will Kimbrough’s new CD, “Wings” is due in the latter half of February
Jimmy Buffett has announced that a new Margaritaville restaurant will open in Niagara Falls, Ontario, by this summer!
Looming on the horizon: the Masters, the US Open, the British Open and the Ryder Cup; four events that are about the only things that will keep me in front of a TV for more than an hour anymore
NASCAR’s season and the inevitable (and enjoyable) chatter among friends that goes with it
Spring training is around the corner. Tigers baseball will be on the air again soon.
The A-Team movie is due to hit theatres in June. I love it when a plan comes together.
Above all else, my wife and kids are healthy and happy. I’d trade all of the above and anything else in order to be able to continue saying that. After all, what else is there?
As for the whole reason for this journal – our recording project – well, we’ll be back on the “No Schedule” schedule soon enough. And when it gets closer, I’ll put my nose to the grindstone and make lots of noise about it.
But not today.
Gotta have some things to look forward to.
PS – Just “cooked” myself a couple of corn dogs (Pogos) for lunch. Now my office smells like a fall fair! See you at the Tilt-a-Whirl.