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A Powerful Marketing Advantage: Your Company’s Anniversary

Successful companies have long realized the value of advertising their anniversary.

Every year, over two million companies have the opportunity to celebrate a business anniversary, yet only a small percentage realize what a powerful marketing tool an anniversary can be. Whether your firm is 5 or 105 years old, a business anniversary offers opportunities to promote your company, improve employee morale and boost sales.

The most powerful benefit is the confidence your anniversary generates in current customers and prospects. People like to do business with successful companies, companies they believe will be around to back their products and service, companies with the experience and know-how to get the job done right.

Advertising and promoting a business anniversary need not be limited to retailers or consumer goods companies. As you’ll see from the following business-building techniques, companies in the material handling industry can also use the celebration of their anniversary to increase awareness of their company and build sales.

Your anniversary is a time when you have something your competition can’t match. When you feature your anniversary announcement in your ads, you have the advantage. And think about this: you even have an advantage over a company that’s been around longer than you, if they’re not promoting their years of service.

Successful companies have long realized the value of advertising their anniversary. Here are some slogans used by well-known companies. Use them to generate ideas for your own anniversary advertising campaign:

  • “A Golden Past, A Gleaming Future” (Sheraton Hotels)
  • “Some Things Just Naturally Get Better With Age” (McCann-Erickson Advertising)
  • “Here Today…Here Tomorrow” (Cross Pens)

If you don’t have the budget for an entirely new ad campaign, you should at least make mention of your milestone year in your existing ads.

Remember, by mentioning your anniversary in your advertising you are reminding everyone—customers, prospects and suppliers—that you’re successful, you’ve stood the test of time, and you’ll be around when they need you in the years to come.

Free Publicity
A well-promoted company anniversary can generate valuable free publicity. It’s easy to send a press release announcing your achievement. Make your release interesting enough and you might get coverage from the wire services, like the makers of the world-famous Twinkie did. They had a Twinkie cast of solid gold, worth $50,000, and gave it away to a customer during one of their anniversary promotions.

Too rich for your blood? How about simply baking a pie? The Florida resort of Captiva Island celebrated its 15th anniversary by baking a 15 foot key lime pie. It was big enough to get into the Guinness Book of Records—and generate plenty of free publicity.

To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Maytag conducted a search for the oldest working Maytag washing machine, offering $1,000 and a free new model in exchange. The story was all over the radio generating free, national publicity.

What can you do to announce your success and remind people of the business you’re in? How about donating 15 automobiles full of cash to your local library for your 15th anniversary? Well, that might be a bit too extreme, but you get the point!

Send your press releases to industry publications that your customers and prospects might subscribe to and don’t forget your local papers, too. Use some creativity and try to make it interesting enough for publication. Simply mentioning your anniversary probably won’t do the trick, but a historical tie-in might help. For example, “Acme Heavy Industries is celebrating our 25th anniversary” is not as attention-getting as “Back when the first rocks were coming back from the moon is the same year Acme Heavy Industries started moving rocks of a different sort!”

Don’t limit your anniversary announcements to your advertising. For the entire year, everywhere people see your company name, they should be reminded of your anniversary. Print special anniversary letterheads (or use the attention-getting foil seals) and business cards, or print “It’s Our XXth Year!” on your brochures, price sheets and quotes.

Anniversary announcement cards or letters are the perfect way for you to contact customers and prospects during the year without seeming to sell. “It’s our 10th Anniversary and we’d like to Thank You for your support. We couldn’t have done it without you!” is a nice message that is sure to make people feel good about your company. It also reinforces the message that you’ve got a strong track record of success.

To build good will and meet your prospects and customers on your own familiar turf, consider an anniversary open house. Send announcements inviting them and don’t forget local politicians. This is a good opportunity to show off your facilities and “bend a few ears” while you have a captive audience under friendly, non-selling conditions.

Boost Employee Morale
Don’t miss this opportunity to add a little swagger to the step of your employees. They’re proud to be a part of a winning team. How about special anniversary T-shirts, caps or jackets? Customers will also love them and everywhere they’re worn, they promote your company and your success, all year long.

You might also consider using this special time to give recognition to your employees. Let them know you appreciate their contribution to your success over the years. Reward them with certificates or special awards commemorating their contributions and years of service.

Sales Contests
Your anniversary offers the perfect theme for a sales contest while keeping your record of success in the minds of your sales people. Anniversary number tie-ins are commonplace: e.g., 25th anniversary…the first salesperson to reach $25,000 in sales; 8th anniversary…first to generate eight new accounts.

The most important thing to remember is this: Your anniversary lasts 12 full months. Don’t make the common mistake of only announcing it early in the year and then forgetting about it. Each time someone notices how long you’ve been in business (even if it’s in the last month of your special year), they hear a powerful message. Try a number of promotions throughout the year to get maximum impact.

And if 10, 15 or 25 years are important, what about 11, 16 and 28? Smart companies know they simply can’t afford to wait another five years to start reminding their customers of their track record of success. So they advertise their years in business each and every year. Some companies report that announcing an “odd year” anniversary is even more effective because it attracts attention. Who wouldn’t stop and think for a moment when they see 14th or 23rd year announcements?

Material Handling Equipment Distributors Association
  Meet the Author
Stephen G. Fossler is president of Stephen Fossler Company in Crystal Lake, Illinois.

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