Marketing During the Dog Days of Summer
Unless you’re in the tourism or ice cream business, the months of July and August can be a slow and confusing time for marketing.
National and international B2Bs are hesitant to spend marketing budget on advertising or direct mail when a large portion of their target audience is on vacation. They also struggle to get much done from a strategic planning standpoint because key internal stakeholders are less available. Meanwhile, local businesses catering to consumers experience a drop in volume as everyone leaves town for the beach.
Albeit a slow time, it doesn’t make sense to “go dark” completely with marketing during the summer months. Sure, a lot of people are on vacation, but at any given time, a lot of people are also working and just wishing they were poolside. Why not give them some relevant content and offers to help them pass the time? Additionally, summer is a great time to get your house in order internally to set your business up for a successful fall.
Here are a few marketing opportunities to consider during the Dog Days:
Simple, flexible offers.
There’s a reason Starbucks does the Treat Receipt deal in the summer (bring the receipt from your morning beverage back after 2 p.m. the same day and receive any Grande drink for just $2). Customers don’t have to wait or earn points. All they have to do is visit Starbucks later the same day to get a great deal. This approach is effective when customers are juggling busy summer schedules because they don’t have to plan in advance. So, whatever it is you’re offering this summer, remember to keep it simple.
Take advantage of big media savings.
Whether it’s a prime piece of advertising or a top-notch email list, great deals are available during July and August. Instead of leaving a big hole in your advertising and direct mail calendar, negotiate media discounts to keep your brand recognition strong throughout the summer months.
Keep the content coming.
It may be ambitious to hope your customers would read your content on vacation, but remember the ones who aren’t on vacation and continue delivering relevant content. During the summer it’s perhaps more important than ever to focus on strong information design and variety in your content strategy. Look for ways to incorporate infographics, imagery and video into the mix to keep your audience engaged.
Focus on employees.
Your employees are the most important component of your customers’ experience with your brand. Happy, knowledgeable and engaged employees make for an excellent experience, but the opposite is sure to lead to a negative experience, no matter how good your products and services. Take advantage of the summer lull to check in on how things are going internally and invest in improvements to training, processes and morale as needed.
This list is a great starting point for your marketing plans to make the most of summer. And, as an added bonus, do you know the origin of the phrase Dog Days of Summer? It actually has nothing to do with real dogs! The phrase comes from the ancient Romans who marked the hottest days of the year as the time when Sirius (the Dog Star) rose in conjunction with the sun.