March 03, 2019

The Anniversary Program

I had to confirm that the numbers were truly that stunning. But they were. Oh yes, they were that stunning.

I came to Nordstrom via Eddie Bauer and Lands' End. You couldn't sell anything in July or August at those two companies.

But upon arriving at Nordstrom, I looked at daily sales numbers (that was my job, of course).
  • We sold as much merchandise on July 25 as we sold on November 25.
Turns out that if you never discount and can count the number of sales you have on one hand, you can do Christmas level business in late July by offering 20% off on the newest fall styles.

Oh, we promoted the living daylights out of this. You can promote the living daylights out of something if you limit the number of events you have. There's a reason sports and entertainment focus on Anniversary Events ... some sports use media to promote a big event (Wrestlemania for instance), and then via FOMO the customer spends $59.99 (oh wait, high definition is $69.99 ... ok, sign me up). Look at what the NCAA does with Men's Basketball ... a four month lead-up to the announcement of 68 teams, and then you fill out your own bracket to see if you can outperform millions of other people (which means you likely pay attention to the games which gets everybody paid, one way or another).

I was in a meeting at Eddie Bauer back in 1998, when business was awful. We had something like 30 week-long promotional windows. There were (are) only 52 weeks in the year. I remember our CEO telling the folks in the room ... "we've only got room for a few more events before they all lose their luster." 

Oh, they'd already lost their luster.

There's a reason the NFL doesn't host a monthly "playoff" leading to a monthly "champion".

And in business, there's a reason you create an Anniversary Program ... an event so big and so crazy that your customers have no choice but to shop.


My Influences, To Date
  • Audience = CMO Nordstrom.
  • Awareness = Duluth Trading Company.
  • Acquisition = Jim Fulton and Eddie Bauer Home.
  • Welcome Program = Eddie Bauer Home, B2B Brand With A Great Program.
  • Anniversary Program = Nordstrom Anniversary.

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