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Manager's To Do

Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day Are Prime Marketing Opportunities for Sign Companies

Your peers share tips for taking advantage of February’s biggest occasions in this month’s manager’s-to-do list.

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JAN. 29-FEB. 4

PROMOTION Jake Zani of Rule Signs & Graphics in Randolph, VT, reports that he will be sending a Groundhog Day marketing plan aimed at spring sports field sponsor signs.

MARKETING “Finish up with our new website and add some new things for our customers such as PPF and ceramic coating,” are among the items on the to-do list for Kevin Mead, Kolor Werx Creative Services (Portland, OR).

FEB. 5-11

OPERATIONS With the seasonal rushes, holiday distractions and year-end breaks behind us, Thomas Turner and Bakers’ Signs & Manufacturing (Conroe, TX) will look to update and refresh the company’s brand assets. “This includes adding any changes to the facilities, equipment and fleet to our website and promo videos,” Turner says.

FEB. 12-18

MARKETING Mallory Lynn from Signarama Brighton in Brighton, CO, plans to promote event signage, as tradeshows are in full swing. “Post photos of your staff in jerseys for the Super Bowl,” she suggests. Also, don’t forget this week: “Love is in the air with Valentine’s Day, so showcase some of your most beloved sign projects.”

SHOP LAYOUT “Improving workflow by rearranging our production room, building more tables and reorganizing our inventory” rate this month’s checklist for Frankie Markasovic, Graphic Image Corp. (Orland Park, IL).

FEB. 19-25

ONLINE Seth Vargas from Sleight of Hand Signs in Oakland, CA will be focused on web strategy: Maintain good standing with the company’s Google listing and bolster Instagram presence by posting Instagram Reels.

SYSTEMS “We need to revise SOPs and marketing plans,” says Alexandra Lund, Bismarck Sign Co. (Bismarck, ND), “ and look at equipment that needs to be added.”

FEB. 26-MAR. 4

MANAGEMENT Have your 2023 growth plans developed and rolling by now. “Keep in mind,” advises Adam Brown, Sign Effectz (Milwaukee), that “sales and production capacity growth plans need to run in parallel to ensure one does not overtake the other. Great sales could have negative effects if you can’t get the work done.”

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Monthly Project

Ready for a Recession — SOURCE: Frank Murch, Signs for San Diego, Oceanside, CA

2022 was unstable and 2023 will very likely be unstable and a recession year. My company is small enough that we can go up when the economy, as a whole, is going down. It really comes down to a few things:

  1. Talk to existing customers and try to be more accommodating to those whose 2023 planning still looks strong. Pay particular attention to large customers that are recession proof, the military and government in general, large utilities, schools, hospitals and long-term construction projects — and less on discretionary retail services like restaurants and tourist-dependent businesses.
  2. Buy inventory carefully. While inflation is still here, price increases have slowed and some things have dropped (wood and clear acrylic). Raw aluminum costs are down but fabricated aluminum isn’t, but could drop soon. Bulk purchasing helps against inflation and shortages, but ties up cash. I would hate to be long on plywood now.
  3. Be prepared to hire carefully. When COVID started, finding great employees became difficult. During a recession, there are layoffs (you can see it in the news now) and sometimes a great sign employee suddenly becomes available. We have always hired great people the moment we can find them, then make a job around them. If there is a recession, unemployed tradespeople will be everywhere. We have room for a couple of the best if they become available.
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