Plan a back-to-school marketing campaign

1. Define campaign goals based on your marketing objectives and budget.

For example: Promote new products or services. Increase sales and revenue. Generate leads. Target new customers, such as moms, teachers, or students. Build brand awareness.

2. Get information about how customers are making buying decisions at this time of year and pick a buyer persona to target.

Conduct online polls or email surveys asking your users questions about how and when they make their buying decisions. Target your questions around the back-to-school season to gather data about behavior during this time of the year.  Students and parents are not the only back-to-school demographics. With the right messaging, grandparents, businesspeople, and more can all resonate from back-to-school messaging.

3. Choose which products to feature, promote, or discount based on historical data, consumer trends, and survey or poll feedback.

Look at sales data from previous back-to-school seasons to find best selling products to highlight. If your products are typically unrelated to school, choose products that can be framed as relevant. For example, if you sell blenders, create marketing material about how to make quick breakfasts for kids before school using the blender.

4. Develop messaging for your campaign that centers around the back-to-school theme.

How will the style of your content reflect the back-to-school theme? How will your content demonstrate value and relevance for the back-to-school season? For example, Bed Bath and Beyond curated their products into back-to-school starter packs for college students. The starter pack messaging is relevant to college student culture and makes it easier for students to decide which products to buy, because they are conveniently bundled together on Bed Bath and Beyond’s website.

5. Plan and create content for the campaign that offers information which would be useful during the back-to-school season.

Consider ebooks, videos, or infographics. For example, Clorox created an infographic that explains why having a clean workspace can help children work better.

6. Engage with customers and the back-to-school community using a contest, event, special promotion, or interactive content.

For example: Victoria Secret’s Campus Showdown captured attention across social media and can grow your email list. Target’s sweepstakes asked customers to enter their email fora chance to win a gift card for back-to-school. Many retailers run fundraising events for school-related charities. Clorox’s Support Our Teachers campaign promotes brand awareness and grows its email list. Danimals’s Instagram post provided instructions on how to craft using their product.

7. Plan out the content, deliverables, and resources you’ll need to turn your ideas into a marketing campaign, and create a content calendar.

Consider time and money as well as resources like photoshoots, copywriting, and graphic design. Your content calendar should outline the steps needed for each deliverable. Assign tasks to each member of your team and include workback time to stay on track for your target deadlines.

8. Decide what content, deliverables, and resources are needed to complete all aspects of the campaign by turning your brainstormed ideas into a concrete to-do list.

Consider what resources are needed for each item in terms of time and money as well as what content is needed, like photoshoots, copywriting, graphic design, etc.

9. Assign roles and set deadlines to execute this marketing campaign.

Use a shared calendar and CMS to keep track of your campaign timeline and content.