Cheers To A Productive 2019!
I can’t believe 2019 is already here and I hope you enjoyed a successful and happy Holiday Season.
As we plan the year ahead, I wanted to share one of the tools that my clients all find valuable and priceless in it’s accuracy.
In this business as in life, timing is everything. It never ceases to amaze me how taking specific actions in specific months, can impact the volume of placements in the year ahead.
So let’s begin our spirited journey!
After a very hectic and often stressful December, January is the month to assess what is necessary in your process to meet the needs of the next holiday season. I know that is likely the last thing you want to do right now, but trust me. Putting this off is not a good idea. Take a couple mental health weeks, but then buckle down and assess how you can improve on the last holiday season while it is still fresh in your mind.
Is your brand geared more toward on or off-premise? In February, there is certainly enough time to take the 50/50 approach if you’re not entirely certain. But start building a solid account list and approach with your sales team. Many accounts are likely still on a major Holiday hangover and are not yet in full buying mode. But they are looking and planning their inventory for the year. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t get too many sales now, you are not wasting your time. Trust me.
I feel that March can bring anything. In both sales and weather! With weather often affecting sales, depending on where you are and what you are selling. If you are presenting brands in on-premise accounts, March is typically when they are getting ready to print their Spring menu. So get in there as early as possible, particularly if your brand is geared toward Spring cocktails. You really don’t want to miss this because if your brand does well on the spring menu, there is a good chance it can also make it to the Summer menu.
April & May:
April & May are typically good placement months in off-premise. Most of the stores you’ve been presenting to in February and March will likely start to buy now in preparation for Summer. But depending on where you are located, this can be a very short window. In cities like New York, where Memorial Day at the end of May marks the beginning of Summer, many people flock to summer homes outside of the city. If you are in the South or West, you may not experience this mass exodus, but it is definitely a factor that we have to keep in mind in the North East. Now buying is more focused on the shores than in the cities. (Depending on where you live, make sure you know when to make the shift).
June, July & August:
If you live in the South or West, or anywhere near the water, you should absolutely be doing your happy dance! There is nothing more satisfying than a cocktail on a Summer day. In the cities, this is a good time to present for the fall and the holidays. I know thinking of winter when you’re laying on the beach isn’t exactly front of mind, but it is necessary if you want to finish strong. It is also the time to be clear about what your budget is for the holidays and secure your promotional materials. Particularly if you are presenting a brand that has never been on the shelf. It’s now or never.
All hands on deck! What happens in September would likely set the pace for how you close out the year. That also depends on the spirit you are selling. Clear spirits like Gin and Vodka typically see a downturn in colder atmospheres where as Whiskey and Bourbon would generally see an uptick. However, in warmer locations, there may be consistency right through allowing a strong holiday showing.
October, November & December:
Otherwise known as OND. Once OND comes around, most retailers are no longer willing to take in brands they have no sales history with. They simply want to sell. They are not interested in experimenting and educating people on brand facts. That’s why in October is when you begin to hear those dreaded three words. “No new SKUs”. What I would suggest is if you are able to get your brand in, get on their tasting schedule immediately and see if you can secure as many dates as possible through December. October is not too early to get on a December calender. Many experienced Brand Ambassadors know this and use this as a tool often so their brand has a strong holiday showing.
Of course none of this is written in stone and there are always variables that would make these points different from country to country and state to state.
But in general, they are things to keep in mind as we prepare for the year ahead!
As always, if you have any questions at all, I am here and always happy to help!