Back to school: More than just a season

Have you missed the opportunity to talk to students?

With students well into the new school year, some marketers may believe their back-to-school job is done. We’d argue the opposite: now is an opportune time to not only gather learnings, but consider the myriad of opportunities that are right around the corner.

While the back-to-school timeframe is the second biggest driver of sales for retailers outside of the holiday season, school-related purchases and business decisions occur all year-long.

When planning your yearly calendar for engagement, there are prime moments to influence students, teachers, school administrators and parents through trusted resources like news outlets, social media influencers, and peers.

  • New Year (January): There is a natural opportunity to reach students and teachers after the holiday break when everyone is revitalized and ready to start the year off right. For example, PepsiCo Recycling’s Recycle Rally (a free nationwide program that provides incentives and resources to help make recycling easy, fun, and rewarding) often sees a surge in engagement in January, so campaigns are built to address specific needs teachers may have during this time.
  • End of School Year (May): Many local news outlets celebrate students’ achievements at the end of the school year. Companies can build off this by finding ways to spotlight students and teachers in their local communities from awarding scholarships to students to donating to schools in honor of exemplary teaching efforts.
  • Back-To-School Season (July): Now is planning time, so it’s also time to think about when your brand can be part of conversations. Widespread national media coverage begins soon after Fourth of July. Brands should time campaigns and launches with this in mind.
  • First Day of School (August): Social media conversations skyrocket closer to the first day of school as parents and teachers fill in knowledge gaps. Teachers as Consumers findings show that teachers tend to be most active on Facebook and Pinterest, and visit both sites more frequently than the overall population. When considering social efforts for 2019, companies should leverage this tight window to monitor for conversations and insert themselves authentically through a combination of organic and paid social media posts.
  • Holidays (Halloween, Earth Day, Valentine’s Day, Pi Day, Teacher Appreciation Week, and many more!): Schools love celebrating holidays, but holidays can be stressful for teachers and their students with added expenses and pressure to outdo other classrooms. Companies can provide content or products to make celebrations easy, but finding authenticity to your brand matters most.
  • Conferences (Throughout the Year): Through our work with Project Lead The Way, (a transformative learning experience creating an engaging, hands-on classroom environment), we’ve learned that the top ways education professionals gather trends and program information is through conferences, which occur throughout the year. We recommend quality over quantity and zeroing in on attending the right conference(s).

In our work with relevant clients like PepsiCo Recycling, Project Lead The Way and Wiley Education Services, we’re always looking to reach students, parents and teachers year-round.

To learn more, feel free to contact the author, Carly Rotman, Account Director, carly.rotman@olson.com.