Thursday, August 13, 2015

2014 was a banner year for Back-to-School advertising, and this school season has the potential to take things even further. The National Retail Federation reports that, in past years, consumer spending on school supplies increased from $72.5 billion in 2013 to about $75 billion last year. Further, the experts at eMarketer claimed that $27.38 billion of Back-to-School spending in 2014 was done online.

All good news, of course, but times are changing. Marketing departments cannot simply rely on old channels and a decent desktop site for consumers to visit. Mobile is already the most popular means of conducting research about products and services, with 73% of shoppers “webrooming”—that is, researching initially via mobile while making purchasing decisions in store. Google reports that searches for “Back to School” increased 48% from 2013 to 2014, and we can expect that at least half of the consumers searching for school supplies will be doing it from a mobile device.

Here are a few timely tips to get your mobile marketing campaign on the right track this year:

  • Start Early. According to Yahoo, nearly 50% of shoppers come around weeks (or even a couple of months) before school is about to begin—that means your advertising efforts have to begin in early summer, ideally. Scale your efforts according to the price point of a product, with pricey items like computers to be be marketed the earliest.

  • Target Moms with Low Prices. Walmart launched Back to Class Cyber Days last year, and with great success. The campaign impacted more consumers per dollar that its broadcast or cable TV programs, causing a 14% increase in shopping intent. Cyber Days lists the latest price cuts based on historical surges in shopping traffic, and it has a digital tool to help moms find everything on their children’s school supply lists.

  • Target Students with Style. For students with a little more freedom, be sure engage students with look books bursting with style choices. A terrific example of how to market to college-bound students is Target’s registry-style tool called Made For U College Styler. Not only does it allow the user to browse products and make a wish list, but it also incorporates social media data from Facebook and Instagram to offer alluring choices based on the shopper’s personality.

  • Broaden Mobile Avenues. There are numerous ways to beef up your mobile campaign. Having an app that helps lead shoppers to the prices and styles they want is very effective. Also, be sure to make your Back to School campaign a social media extravaganza! Last year, 64% of consumers said social media played a role in their school shopping, with nearly two-thirds of consumers purchasing an item seen on one of these channels. Create a visually stimulating page for Facebook or Pinterest, and of course drum up as much user-generated content as possible.

All in all, your Back-to-School mobile marketing campaign should take into consideration the ways in which people decide to buy. Their research begins on their devices, but the journey takes them through brick-and-mortar to complete the purchase. Find ways to make your marketing channels work in tandem and excite your customers with low prices and plenty of style choices.