It’s no surprise that back-to-school strategies should be at the top of every marketers’ list. After all, according to the NRF Back-to-School Spending Survey, consumer spending for BTS and BTC will exceed $75B this season as students and teachers return to the classroom. But for marketers focusing their efforts on the short timeframe before the start of school, there is plenty of (class)room for error.
Magnetic CEO James Green’s May Marketing Land column focuses on smarter back-to-school efforts. Here are a few key takeaways that marketers should digest in order to make the most out of this massive retail event:
“Students” today are not your typical 18-21 year olds, and many opportunities will be missed for marketers who only target traditional students. Of the approximately 77 million students, 4.5 million (5.88%) are in nursery school, 53.4 million (69.33%) are K-12, and 19.1 million (24.79%) are college and graduate students. Adult students (who may have their own families) have very different purchasing needs and lifecycles than younger students. What resonates to them will be uniquely different for their school spending. It is imperative that marketers leverage the shopping and purchase data behind these age groups to reap the benefits of uncaptured retail sales. Marketers can target adult students by adding relevant segments (like federal student aid, student tax breaks, and business category terms) to their BTS campaigns.
As Magnetic’s recent year-round BTS calendar points out, a lot happens after the bell rings. Spring break spurs travel spending, year-end dances and proms top the retail charts toward the end of the school season, and late fall marks a high time on spending for teacher appreciation. It’s certainly not enough for marketers to only focus on the short timeframe prior to the start of the school season. A year-round, data driven strategy should be a priority.
Teachers are often overlooked with marketers plan for BTS. Each year, 3.6 million K-12 teachers go back-to-school with their students, and with cuts in federal education spending, it’s likely that teachers will spend even more of their own money on supplies, clothing, bags and accessories, computers, and electronics. Advertisers need user-level data capable of identifying BTS teachers, and shopping data can provide that.
Back-to-school shopping has increasingly become more complex. Marketers can’t afford to rely on strategies and tactics that rest on an old paradigm. Our ability to keep up with the constant changes in the retail ecosystem can make the difference between failure and success.
Learn more about evolving from a decades-old BTS approach to a year-round strategy in the full Marketing Land column, A Smarter Approach to “Back to School” Marketing.
Magnetic is a digital marketing and artificial intelligence company. We use machine learning and AI to deliver smarter, faster, and more effective advertising. Our powerful AI platform continuously analyzes the attributes of 320 million live user profiles alongside real-time inventory supply and bid opportunities to deliver highly performant and profitable campaigns for our clients.