Four Elements of a Brilliant Back-to-School Campaign

back to school

Back-to-school marketing campaigns are officially in full swing. What makes an amazing back-to-school campaign?

  1. Timing. Not surprisingly, launching too early means you ruin summer and launching too late means you will miss your target customers. According to some experts, the shopping season starts as early as late June and peaks in mid-August. Much like the winter holiday shopping season, this window seems to be moving earlier and earlier in the year. Using Google data, PM Digital found that back-to-school searches peaked August 9 in 2014, compared with August 17 in 2013, August 18 in 2012 and August 20 in 2011.
  1. Positivity. Back-to-school time needs to glow with possibility. Some great campaigns accomplish this purely through the creative application of music, color, and energetic branding. Other campaigns build positive feelings by giving back, like the 2012 #StaplesforStudents campaign where Staples matched qualifying product purchases by donating school supplies to disadvantaged students. Still other campaigns focus on helping the student to be the best they can be, through curating the perfect wardrobe (e.g. PacSun) or using technology to prepare for tough new classes (e.g. Apple and Dell).
  1. Relevance. Students from preschool to graduate school need a lot of supplies at the start of each academic year. The best campaigns make their brands impossible to ignore – putting the most relevant products into the hands of the students who need them. It also means that the prices need to be “relevant,” or appropriate for the target customers needs.
  1. Trust and Convenience. Surprisingly, a new study shows that back-to-school shoppers do not shop online as frequently as other shoppers do. More often, they stick local, picking up the critical supplies they need at the last minute, somewhere close to home where they shop often.

This back to school season localized campaigns may have more impact than non-localized… findings show 66% of students and 74% of parents believe localized targeting is ‘the most impactful’ part of ad campaigns.

Still craving some more stats about the Back-to-School season? Here are the National Retail Federation’s annual survey results:

Top 10 trends for back-to-school and college 2015

Do you have a favorite back-to-school campaign this year? Share it in the comments below!


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