Depending on your industry, you probably already know that summer marketing isn’t all beach waves and fun in the sun, even when you’re marketing to families. Summer can have a huge impact on the spending decisions for families in particular, especially when you consider the kids are out of school and it’s time for a nice vacation. Is it just the time of year, or is it the heat relative to where they live? What other factors come into play? In today’s post, we’re going to take a brief look at how the summer will affect families and marketing for entertainment companies.
What Is Entertainment for Families?
It can be easy to assume that entertainment applies just to the traditionally understood entertainment industry — movies, television, and video games of all types. However, in the context of our post today, we’re talking about a much broader form of entertainment, namely the things families do to entertain themselves over the summer. That can be anything done inside, like renting movies at home or going out to see the latest blockbuster, or outside, like summer camp, amusement parks and camping or a traditional days-long family vacation.
The Impact of Summer
We all have a conceptual ideal of what summer means, both as businesses and as individuals, but both are different from how you will define and develop your summer marketing campaigns. There are important factors to consider when developing marketing for entertainment companies.
Because summertime brings a shift in schedules and priorities, you’ll need to tap into seasonal marketing to be effective. For instance, do you know how parents’ shopping habits go mobile while their kids are at summer camp? To reach them, you’ll need to alter how you market around their shopping habits.
Believe it or not, your summer marketing also needs to start taking early fall into account as well. Back-to-School shopping (and the research behind it) actually starts in mid-to late-July. Parents may be shopping to gear their kids up for fall sports and other school essentials.
Time of Year and Weather
To be sure, some of it is centered simply around the time of year — because kids are out of school, some parents will be sending them to camp, or they’ll go on family vacations. However, summer shopping isn’t just about the time of year — it’s about the weather. Part of this is going to be a matter of tracking weather patterns and using the right marketing during weather changes (e.g., home improvement centers can offer sandbags or promote tools for repairs ahead of hurricanes).
Much of summer marketing is going to just be understanding how average changes in summer weather influences the way your customers shop. Bear in mind the fact that “commercial weather” has bloomed into a $3 billion industry for a very good reason. Take Spin Neapolitan Pizza, which developed a “crummy weather” coupon that was only good on bad-weather days (i.e., gloomy, rainy days where families may need to alter their outdoor plans). It not only drove sales on days with bad weather, but the apparent sympathy also generated good will that boosted sales on days with great weather, too. Weather plays a huge part in consumer behavior. Not just in demand, but in the ways they do product research and the channels on which they’ll spend their money.
Marketing to families isn’t just about convincing the parents. They are certainly the ones to make the final call, but there’s a huge influence on that decision that cannot be ignored: their kids. Teenagers have a huge influence when it comes to how their parents spend money. This isn’t just with regards to money being spent directly on them, although that is the area that they have the most say (e.g., 32% of parents let children pick their clothes, while 37% let them pick their shoes). For 21% of families, teens actively make the choice with their parents about what out-of-home entertainment or recreation the family does, a number mirrored in what kind of in-home entertainment should be bought or rented. Another 18% help make the decision about which sit-down restaurants to go to. For 15%, they actively assist in choosing where to go on a family vacation. These percentages get higher and apply to more categories when the teen’s role is reduced to sharing their opinion for direct influence. For example:
- Where to go on vacation as a family: 48%
- What hotel to stay in on vacation as a family: 32%
- Out-of-home entertainment/recreation: 48%
- Where to shop for in-home entertainment/technology: 25%
These statistics represent a year-round perspective. Remember, American kids tend to be out of school for the duration of the summer, meaning there’s more opportunity for them to be exposed to your marketing and more contact time for them to influence their parents.
With these considerations in mind, you can audit your summer marketing strategy and determine which areas need work for your marketing to families to be as effective as possible. Remember, some of your marketing campaigns for the season should already be underway, so you should also consider whether or not this post can help you redirect what’s already going out.
Create Your Summer Marketing Campaign With These Tips
- Make sure you know your customer – There are many ways that families are influenced, be it weather or region. Know what drives your customers in order to reach the right touch-points at the right time
- Consider what are you doing to reach decision makers (parents) and decision influencers (their kids)
- Adequately differentiate your offerings for summer activities – Check out this summer marketing example
- Understand how to take all of this knowledge and turn it into an effective campaign – For instance, as a sporting goods business, you could put together a family oriented camping supplies section that has an emphasis on kids or their safety (e.g., bug spray, kids camping activities, kid-sized sleeping bags on display) and target the family as a whole with the parent as the final decision maker
- Be ready for go-to market around major weather patterns – For instance, in areas that are badly affected by fires or hurricanes, that same sporting goods store could provide survival readiness supplies and go-bags so families can respond quickly and stay safe no matter where they are
Don’t wait too long to get started. Summer will be over before you know it!