Five creative tips for a successful back-to-school campaign

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It’s that time of the year when brands focus on their back-to-school campaigns and here are tips and examples to inspire you.

1. Plan ahead

Most back-to-school campaigns go live in July, which means that the planning may occur several months in advance if it’s a large campaign.

The campaign is not just about September, as the engagement rate is already double in July and it gradually increases through September, reaching up to 6x higher engagement rate, comparing to an average month.

This means that every campaign should consider the complete time frame, hoping to increase its reach and its sales in more than one month.

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Source: Millennial Media

2. Think of your audience, set a goal

The campaign should be created after a careful analysis of its target audience, usually the parents looking for new school equipment for their kids. Children may also be part of the target audience, especially in traditional marketing, which requires further consideration of what a campaign could include.

It is also important to establish the set goals along with the target audience, in order to be able to create a more effective campaign, aligning with the initial expectations.

According to Millennial Media, 64% of back-to-school campaigns are aiming for an increase of foot traffic, which affects the audience’s purchasing decisions and eventually the company’s sales. Only 19% of campaigns are aiming for an increase of brand awareness and engagement and 17% of them are focusing on site and mobile traffic.

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Source: Millennial Media

Thus, back-to-school campaigns tend to have a very clear goal, which is usually to affect the purchasing decisions of their audience in the most creative way.

3. Be creative 

Creativity is rewarded, as consumers are becoming tired from the traditional form of marketing and the over-promotion of products.

Back-to-school campaigns may become too predictable and this is not helping them reach a new audience, or convince demanding consumers (parents) to trust them.

It’s not a bad idea to think outside the box as a brand and stand out with a campaign that will be appealing both to children and parents.

4. Test new platforms

An online back-to-school campaign may focus on many different platforms, depending on the goals and the expectations.

For example, Facebook seems like a good place to start your campaign, as it may help you reach a wide audience, while you may also use the targeted options to focus for example on parents who are also online shoppers.

Instagram may also be used along with Facebook, as it offers a cross-platform use in advertising, but it may become more visual. This is your brand’s opportunity to showcase its visual appeal with creative content, which is promotional, but most importantly, relevant and interesting.

Pinterest back to school

Pinterest is another platform you should not ignore, with its target audience being perfect for a back-to-school campaign. According to Mary Meeker’s report, 55% of Pinterest users visit the platform to find and shop for products.

It may require earlier planning with relevant boards and pins to be created months in advance, but if it is used properly as part of your campaign, it may lead to great traffic back to the right pages of your site.

For example, you can use its buyable pins, the addition of shopping cart and the enhanced visual search to explore new paths for your campaign.

Going beyond social platforms, influencer marketing may also offer an extended reach for your back-to-school campaign, while a collaboration with the right bloggers may also be a good idea.

It’s all about finding new ways to reach the right audience, targeting consumers who may not be aware of your products, but who may still find them appealing.

5. Create content they cannot ignore

Every successful campaign stands out with its uniqueness and it becomes more effectiveness when consumers cannot ignore its content.

By the time a campaign grabs your attention, the chances of purchasing the product are increasing. Many brands turn to rich media and video to create a memorable campaign and as video content is increasing on social media, the chances of success become bigger.

This doesn’t guarantee an increase of sales, but at least it’s a great start for the next brainstorming of back-t0-school campaigns.

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Source: Millennial Media

Best examples of 2016

Target reaches children by asking them to create their campaign

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Target wanted to make sure its reaching children this year with its back-to-school campaign, that’s why it decided to turn talented 8-17 kids into creators, preparing a series of videos, from the direction to the storytelling. Explore their creativity on Target’s Youtube channel.

Asda involves Dr Seuss

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Asda has created a campaign that reminds us of a John Lewis Christmas advert, focusing more on narration and emotion, following a girl waking up for her first day at school, along with the narration of the Dr Seuss book ‘Oh, the Places You’ll Go!’. Who said “back-to-school” stories can’t follow successful Christmas marketing recipes?

Buttercrane recruits kids for its video

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Buttercrane is also involving local children to its new campaign, creating a “green screen” photoshoot that leads to a simple, direct, and creative result.

Staples promotes functional online shopping

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Staples has decided to focus on busy parents who want to purchase the new school equipment as fast as possible, that’s why it created a video promoting how easy online shopping may be, with collection taking place in the next two hours, helping them order on-the-go and avoid spending more time on the store.

This is a great way to prove how it understands the lifestyle of modern parents, creating the right video to explain it.

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