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Back to School – Do it Now, Do it Smart

In the current economic climate you might feel you’re beating your head against the wall when it comes to marketing. Should you even have a back to school campaign? Is it worth the effort? Well, according to a recent article on

“Now is no time for a vacation. No matter how tired you are or how discouraged you might feel, it’s time to keep your chin up and continue marketing to your customers. A reduction in marketing efforts is not an option. Marketing keeps you in front of current customers, enlightens prospects, and positions you well for when the economy recovers. Those who stop marketing often find themselves losing precious momentum and having to make up ground in the long run.”1

Okay, so dust yourself off and begin. When is the right time to get started? Well, it’s never too soon to plan – ideally, as far as six months1 before the back-to-school season begins. Which means if you’ve been debating – stop – and get moving. To maximize your back to school efforts here are some suggestions.

1. Making your one time customers into repeat customers.

Upselling current customers always cost less than acquiring new ones. So, find out what your current customers want more of by using a survey or other communication. Do they want more discounts? Tips on how to use your products? As you respond to your customer requests let them know what you’re doing across all communication networks.

2. Recycle a good campaign

This can be a good time to bring one of your old successful campaigns back onto the drawing board – like an email campaign. Since you’ve done most of the legwork in the past – and already spent the money – freshen and update the copy, update graphics and prices as needed, and let it fly.

3. Cause Marketing makes us all feel better

We’re all hurting – together. Create your campaign with an eye toward giving back. When people go to buy back-to-school supplies, all other things being equal, they’re more likely to spend money where they know some of the profit is going to a cause they care about. Good Cause Marketing ideas to get you started:

  • Social marketing program – Target – “The Classroom wish list.” Parents can purchase resources for classrooms.2
  • Boxtops for Education – General Mills – Consumers raise money for their registered school.2
  • WaMoola for Schools – Washington Mutual – donates 5 cents “for every Visa check card purchase. The change enables new and existing customers to participate on an ongoing basis.2

Back to school is prime spending time so keep up your efforts. And don’t forget to publicize your campaigns on any of your social marketing networks such as Twitter, Facebook, and your Blog.


  1. Retail Survival Tips in a New Economic and Customer Environment
  2. Learning from Innovative Back to School Programs
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