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a blog by Chris Barrow

Make sure that you don't get lost in the noise as we approach Christmas

In anticipation of Boris's new tiered lockdown system, it seemed as if the world was out yesterday (Sunday), either taking a walk in the Autumn sunshine, queueing for drive-thru food, eating al fresco or shopping.

I took a 40 km bike ride that included navigating past more pedestrians on the tarmac road through Cheshire's Tatton Park than I have ever seen before. Through Hale, Knutsford and Wilmslow, pavement cafes were packed.

That was after a trip to the local retail park to pick up some dog food, delayed by the simply enormous line of traffic waiting to get into McDonald's.

The crowds inside The Trafford Centre were the equivalent of days before Christmas and The Manchester Evening News reported visitors concerns around lack of social distancing and cleanliness, as well as significant numbers choosing not to wear masks.

It's going to be very interesting to observe the levels of compliance around whatever The Prime Minister announces next and perhaps more importantly for you and I, the levels of consumer confidence as we move into a winter of economic challenges.

The surge of spending on dentistry appears to continue unabated and my clients are reporting record sales. We have discussed already the re-directed holiday cash, finding a home in your dental chairs as elective procedures, as well as the unmet needs of those on plan and with functional requirements or even a desire to get booked in for a good hygiene visit.

The question remains as to whether that will continue, especially in the face of what is likely to be a mammoth attempt by the retail sector to encourage Christmas shopping.

Back in the days of Boots Dental Care, I remember being privy to some interesting sales information that upwards of 50% of their annual store sales took place in the weeks leading up to 25th December. I was assured that this was true for most of the high street.

The race will shortly be on (if not already started) to capture that valuable cash.

Before Christmas, of course, we have Black Friday, this year scheduled for 27th November. Again I'll be fascinated to see what steps are taken by retailers to get us either in-store or online for that event.

The chart below shows what happened in 2018 (a.k.a. ancient history).

It strikes me that we are lining up for quite a war for the consumers attention against a backdrop of local restrictions on movement.

In which case, you had better make sure that your own marketing messages are clear enough, attractive enough and LOUD ENOUGH to get noticed, otherwise there's a risk that you will get lost in the noise.

A theme upon which I feel motivated to write more over the days ahead.

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