After living through the worldwide marketing blitz of the World Cup these past four weeks, many marketers are feeling more fired up than ever to add some sizzle to their summer marketing programs. But the reality is, those clever World Cup campaigns were months, if not years, in the making. And sadly, the summer clock is quickly ticking away. So what's a marketer to do? Is the summer a lost opportunity and time to just pick up your ball and start planning for fall?
Quite the contrary; if you're clever and opportunistic, there's still time to intensify your marketing game this summer to keep your brand energized and relevant during the dog days of summer.
Here are some new moves to add to your summer marketing playbook:
Build Your Fan Base with Visuals
Summer is vacation time, meaning offices around the country are a bit quieter than normal. But while consumers may be away from their desks and computers, their smartphones are still close at hand to satisfy cravings for photos and social media. Take a page from this summertime playbook, and begin capturing and sharing images (via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. ) that tie your brand to hot summer events and visually communicate your organization's unique corporate culture. These visual shares will not only help your brand stand out, but can also build company pride and serve as a recruitment tool. Check out Cisco's and Adobe's Instagram pages for a little visual summertime inspiration:
We spotted this Random Act of Creativity near our #SanFrancisco office. Share a photo of your own Random Act of Creativity using #CreateNow for a chance to be featured on our Instagram channel. Plus, surprises in store to a random few!
Embrace the Season and Its Pastimes
To add a little sizzle to your summer program and break away from the routine, think about how you can join larger conversations by tying your campaigns to summer pastimes, holidays, and conversations. Marketo capitalized on the 4th of July to promote one of its marketing ebooks with a clever headline, “Declare Your Independence from Boring Content.”
On the B2C front, Oregon-based dairy company Tillamook took advantage of the warm weather and leveraged the popularity of summer farmer's markets and opened a three-day brand-building pop-up stores in key consumer markets called Tillamook Farmers' Market.
Seek Breakaways Through Point-in-Time Moments
Every summer has defining point-in-time moments that can also be used to insert a brand into timely conversations, whether that be a hit song of the season, a blockbuster movie release, or a local or national sporting event. While this summer's biggest moment was the World Cup, which allowed brands of all shapes and sizes to join the conversation, think through what other milestone moments may occur this summer on a state or local level. A great example is SunGard Availability Services' successful multi-channel zombie-driven marketing campaign from last summer. The promotion highlighted SunGard's disaster recovery business while tying in the pop culture zombie craze and the release of zombie movie, World War Z. What could your blockbuster moment be this year?
Make Your Own Moves and Hear the Crowd Roar
Summer is a notoriously slow news time and if your company happens to be “sitting on the bench” on the news front, coordinating a timely survey and/or infographic is a great way to get back in the game. Deloitte's annual Back-to-School survey is a great example of creating your own news during slow summer months while getting ahead of next season's conversations:
Promote Your Star Players with Thought Leadership
The slower summer pace can present an ideal time to focus on building the thought-leadership profiles of your company's key executives. Keep your corporate visibility high by developing and placing timely thought-leadership bylines in key publications that are read by your target audiences. Forbes.com, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times and Fast Company are examples of publications that regularly feature thought-provoking opinion pieces that often result in lively online discussions. And bylines aren't the only route to the thought leadership goal. Keep an eye on the comment section following key news stories (and Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc) and don't be afraid to join the conversation by sharing your brand's perspective.
Start Conditioning for Next Year Now
Typically, the best summer campaigns take months of planning. To play like the pros while you're in the thick of summer, make note of the summer campaigns you admired and the opportunities on which you hope to capitalize next year. Put a tickler in your calendar to start planning for your summer 2015 marketing campaigns after the first of the year. Those who plan ahead are never sorry.
While summer may feel like it's flying by, it's still far from over. With 40 days left until Labor Day, we challenge you to up your game and make summer 2014 a marketing season to remember.