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Beyond the Tie for Father’s Day: Yogi, Betty and Jack, a Father’s (and Mother’s) Day Story

May 2012 By Barry Tanenbaum
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“Ninety percent of this game is half mental,” Yogi Berra once said, and it turned out to be apropos even though I wasn’t talking baseball with the dealers I called recently. My conversations were about Father’s Day promotions, but at least half of what we talked about was the mental game: the psychology of the buying habits of men and women and their timing and giving of gifts on the Mother’s Day and Father’s Day holidays.

I add Mother’s Day because although I set out to explore their promotional plans for Father’s Day, most of the dealers inextricably tied mom’s day into those strategies.

In fact, Mat Inkley, at The Imaging Depot in Ogden, Utah, combines mom’s, dad’s and grad’s days under one umbrella when it comes to promoting the Depot’s cards, wraps, photo books, prints, calendars and other products, services and ideas for photographs.

“We look at the entire season as one event, one campaign, with different key components,” he said. “We’ve found that if we try to do just a stand-alone Father’s Day event, we really don’t see much uplift.” The sales benefit comes when he ties it all together and gets his customers thinking about needing cards and gifts for mom, dad and grad. “Sometimes dad gets the short end of the deal after the moms and the grads,” he added, “so that’s another reason we combine his day with the others.”

The branding is consistent throughout. “We ran a promotion last week for 20% off graduation cards,” Inkley said, “and next week we’ll run a promo focused on Mother’s Day, and if you look at the ads, there’s no question they came from The Imaging Depot. It’s just that the inside contents will be a little bit different.”

He expects a popular choice for dad’s gift to be a print on metal. “It was a hit last year, and we’re seeing a lot of continued success with it. We also sell a lot of the traditional Father’s Day photo gifts that everyone seems to love—the ties, the mugs, those types of things. And we plan a big push on the message, ‘Come in, bring your picture and we’ll put it in a keepsake frame.’ So it’s not just order a print and you’re on your own; we’re going to put together a nice framed piece as a gift for dad so he can put in on his desk or hang it on the wall. We expect that’s going to be a big seller this year.”

Promoting cameras and photo gifts for Father’s Day can drive June profits. Some key retailers share their most successful promotion ideas and marketing strategies.

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