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Fun Between the Lines

A marketing and communications company grabs the attention of its clients by turning its annual calendar giveaway into an interactive campaign.

Each new year is like a blank canvas, to be filled in and crafted as the days unfold.

And H.O.T. Graphic Services—a full-service, marketing communications provider in Northwest Ohio—brought this blank canvas idea to life. It expanded on the uber-popular adult coloring craze with its 2016 promotional calendar, accompanied by its own canister of colored pencils with a handy sharpener in the lid.

“When our marketing team brainstormed ideas for our annual calendar [that we distribute to clients], we wanted to do something fun and trendy to celebrate our 40th anniversary. So we thought, why not a color calendar for adults?” says Cindy Hauff, marketing director and communications consultant for H.O.T.

Hauff, who is a coloring enthusiast herself, says H.O.T.’s annual calendar, which is used to promote the company’s printing and marketing services, is the most customer-anticipated marketing piece each year. The calendars are given out by the sales and customer service teams to current customers and are also used by the sales team throughout the year to promote the company capabilities and services.

“Our initial marketing goal was to promote printing as an integral part of an overall marketing campaign while increasing awareness of our own Facebook page and encouraging customers to engage via social media,” Hauff says.

To get the results the company was looking for, H.O.T. crafted the #realHOTimpressions campaign that included monthly coloring contests on the company’s Facebook page, T-shirt giveaways, gift basket offers, and more. Each month, H.O.T. sent email reminders about the promotions to keep customers engaged and coloring. People were also able to download blank calendar coloring pages via a QR code.

The multifaceted marketing approach worked, and it helped to increase awareness of the company by about 15 percent, Hauff says. In addition, the H.O.T. team was recognized for the calendar project with a Gold Addy award from the American Advertising Federation, Toledo Region.

“The AAF Toledo is highly recognized and respected in our community and by our customers, which also elevated our reputation and status,” Hauff says.

By Kathryn Will