By: Jeanie Hendrie

As the holidays come to a close, excess of all varieties gives way to tighter purse strings and new work out regimes. Merchants everywhere are discounting their red and green and bearing down for a historically difficult month in the world of retail. We’re telling our consumer selves to stash any leftover cash in the freezer, while our marketer selves are out there pounding the pavement to get anyone and everyone back into stores and restaurants for round 2.

Here are a few tactics to give your brand a boost during those cold winter months:

  1. Leverage holidays and events: New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and the Super Bowl beg for those snippy in-and-out guerilla tactics. Couples deals and 2 for 1s are always popular around February 14th…but how about something less conventional? A few years back, Altoids embraced anti-Valentine’s Day spirit, launched their Dark Chocolate Dipped Mints with a series of pop-up retail booths where the “love-sick, lovelorn and Cupid-wary” could gather to engage in Therapeutic Crafts for the Broken-Hearted and pick up a free ‘Love Stinks’ needlepoint kit.
  2. Cross-promote with brands that resonate during Q1: Time to work off that turkey hangover – cross-promotions with health and wellness brands (gym equipment, fitness clubs, healthy food and drink) are popular around this time of year. Or, for those who prefer to do their exercise in a warmer climate, Virgin Mobile Members can redeem a $100 coupon for a Caribbean vacation to beat the winter blues.
  3. Extend holiday programs to January and February: Promote an attractive discount during the holidays that isn’t redeemable until January or February. Last year, when Swiss Chalet rolled out its ‘Festive Special’ promotion, feasters received an additional coupon for a buy 1 get 1 free quarter chicken dinner, redeemable in January.
  4. If you can’t discount, add value: Discounting isn’t always the right strategy. If this is the case for your brand, think about how to demonstrate your value compared to the competition. Back in November, Heinz used Facebook to enable fans to send a personalized tin of soup to friends suffering with a cold.
  5. Integrate mobile marketing: Mobile usage spikes around holidays and special events – consider these days for promotional message blasts. When’s the last time you wished your brand buyers a Happy Valentine’s Day? You’re in a relationship with them, after all. Show ‘em the love with an SMS or make like Altoids and embrace the Cupid-wary with a “no commitment” offer.