Best Time for Back-to-School Marketing

Between new clothes, technology, textbooks, dorm supplies, and the sundry notebooks, pens and pencils, consumers are going to spend a whopping $74.9 billion preparing for back-to-school and college this year. Do you want a slice of that pie? The key is to create the right marketing for the right audience and delivering it at the right time.

Why Timing Matters

Timing is important to all marketing, but the back-to-school season is especially sensitive to swings in demand. August is the biggest month for back-to-school shopping, but it isn’t carte blanche the best time to market all back-to-school related products and services. Many clothing purchases, for example, aren’t made until September, when the weather begins to grow cooler. For more niche markets, peak demand can be a window of just a few days. Knowing your industry, your neighborhood and region, and your industry’s historical purchasing trends is imperative to maximizing your back-to-school sales.

Don’t assume trends are nationwide either. 77% of consumers plan to do their back-to-school shopping at brick and mortar stores this year, which means that demand can vary regionally.  Keep in mind that moms are the biggest decision makers when it comes to back-to-school shopping. Try to get inside their heads, and think about when they’ll be making household purchasing decisions.

Best Time for Marketing

When school actually begins is going to be a deciding factor for a lot of back-to-school shopping. So research when the schools in your area will be starting this year. This will vary from school to school, of course, but it will help you get an idea for when to best market certain things.

When certain products and services will be needed prior to the beginning of school will affect the timing of your marketing. Many people wait to get haircuts until the week before, or even the first week of school. Spending on entertainment, meanwhile, is going to take a nosedive once classes start, so it’s best to run promotions during the last few weeks of summer.

One last thing to keep in mind is whether your state has a tax holiday this year. 15 states will be forgoing sales tax in either August or September in 2015, and you can bet that’s when large back-to-school purchases will be made.

Whatever industry you are in, there is a significant market to capitalize on in the weeks leading up to the start of school. Here are some things you can do today, to help plan your back to school marketing.

Get Started Today

  • Review your historical sales information for the last weeks of July through the first weeks of August. When are your busiest times?
  • What are your biggest sellers during this time period? What demographic is buying them? Moms? College students?
  • Determine whether or not the trends from last year will repeat this year. Are schools starting on the same day? If there was a tax holiday last year, is there one on the same days this year?
  • Use this information to plan your 2015 back to school marketing campaign.