In 1980, EDC’s vice president Bud Dillard decided the company should allocate some of the marketing budget for promotional items such as caps, t-shirts, pens, etc. He came up with the idea to print wall calendars to send out to the company’s most important clients as holiday gifts. Bud originally wanted a 12-page Norman Rockwell version with heartwarming illustrations. Unfortunately, the price was too high to print the number of copies he wanted, so he settled on a less expensive wall calendar printed with the company’s name and contact information. Bud and the EDC team distributed all 150 copies in the first printing for the calendar year 1981.
Call the wall calendar design decision either dumb luck or good fortune, but the calendar program is still extremely popular at EDC. Fast forward 38 years and the popularity has been so great that EDC has capped printing at 5,200 copies for 2019. “We could probably distribute about 20,000 calendars if we wanted to – they are very popular with our clients,” said Bud. “We have kept the calendar printing cost proportional to our revenue, so the program has grown along with the company.”
EDC employees tell plenty of anecdotes about the popularity of the calendars. “One gentleman visits us in the office each year and asks for a calendar using sign language. We are happy to oblige him,” said Bud.
Sending out 5,200 calendars is a large undertaking each year for EDC. “Every year, as the calendar mailing project is in full swing, I swear this is the last year, never again, and it’s not worth it,” said Bud. “Then, within a couple months, someone says to me, ‘Hey, I saw your calendar! Jeez, your calendars are everywhere!’ Then I think… Hmmm, maybe one more year. I am presently in the never again mode.”