The year 2012 is a Leap Year, an oddity that adds one day to our shortest month to make it ... still our shortest month. Leap Day, of course, is necessary to ensure our calendar system stays in tune with the Earth's astronomical position; if we didn't add it, over time our traditional dates would not align with the seasons they're currently associated with – that is to say, we'd be celebrating Independence Day in snowsuits.
When I was a kid, we loved Leap Day. It was a hot topic of discussion in school, and though the thrill has subsided somewhat in my adult years, I still think it's fun to say. Marketers love Leap Year, too, because we love any special event that lends opportunity to cash in. To that end, I offer five fantastic Leap Year marketing ideas.
Leap in for sales
Have a special Leap Day sales event in which you offer steep discounts for that day only. Make sure customers know that “time is running out” when you print your posters, flyers, banners and other marketing materials to promote your special Leap Day sales event.
Leap for savings
Another play on this concept is to actually have customers physically leap to determine their discount. Print a series of stickers with lines and discount amounts – the farther the leap, the greater the discount. Send press releases printed on official letterhead to get media to help you promote your event – if you're lucky, you'll get newspaper cameras and television cameras rolling during your event – especially if you make the largest leap a major discount for a big ticket item.
Leap from shop to shop
Partner with two or three other, non-competing businesses who share your customer base and offer a special promotion in which customers receive a discount or freebie if they shop at all of your businesses on Leap Day.
Leap Day contest
Have an essay or video contest in which customers submit their ideas for how they can change the world or make it better with the extra 24 hours afforded by Leap Day. Make it somehow relevant to your business, and present the winner with an award. This is another great idea for generating free PR.
Leap Day greeting cards
Unexpected greeting cards are always appreciated, and because they catch customers by surprise they're more memorable. Send your best customers Leap Day greeting cards with an invitation to enjoy a special sale.