Rome was not built in a day and neither was a great summer marketing campaign.
There may still be snow on the ground in some places, but now is the time to start planning your summer marketing campaign. A great summer campaign lasts 3-4 months and it’s going to take you and your team at least half that time to pull everything together.
The value of a summer marketing campaign
Unless you are in a business that largely thrives in winter (ex. winter sports), summer campaigns are where you should be investing your marketing budget. Why? Because people are distracted.
They are socializing in the nice weather, on vacation, hitting up patio bars, spending extra time with their kids, etc. They are a different kind of busy than they are the rest of the year. They are busy looking for more ways to get out, enjoy the weather and have fun.
So now you are asking, “Why would we invest in a campaign if people are distracted?!” Two reasons:
- You don’t want them to forget you
- All their distractions provide great opportunities for creating user-generated content
Seriously, imagine your Twitter and Instagram blowing up with pictures of your product and people having fun tagged, “#SummerSelfie fun with @yourbrand!” (Generic example, but you get my point.)
Coming up with the perfect summer marketing campaign is going to be the hardest part. It needs to be a campaign that is unified, but constantly provides new opportunities to engage people.
If you have read my blog post about Coke’s “Share a Coke” campaign you know I am a little obsessed with it. It was a textbook summer marketing campaign because it took advantage of user-generated content and it regularly gave us something new. Here is a just a very casual overview of how Share a Coke just kept giving all summer long:
- Launched with basic “Share a Coke with (image of can with name)” designs on social media, billboards, bus benches, etc.
- Started promoting people to share not just a Coke, but share a selfie of them sharing that Coke. #ShareaCoke
- Started promoting their new webpage that allowed you to write any name on a can or bottle of Coke and encouraged you to share the image on social media.
- Finally, they toured the U.S. with personalization machines. These machines allowed you to write any name on the can and it would print in under a minute.
This example sounds like I am already skipping to the planning stages, but brainstorming and planning are two tasks that can’t be separated. You don’t want to fall in love with a tagline or campaign, get it approved and realize you only have enough ideas to get you through July!
Starting to bring your campaign to life
Ok. So you have a campaign idea you are certain you can make last all summer – now what? Figure out what you need to do to make it happen! Here is a checklist of things you need to get started:
- Get your budget secured – Money will be your guide for how big this campaign can be.
- Get a team together – You will want people dedicated to this and if you don’t have everyone you need in-house (ex. graphic designers), hire out.
- Research your title – Every campaign has a title and hashtag, but before committing, do your research. You don’t want use an acronym for your hashtag and later find out it is already being used for inappropriate content.
- Plan the campaign stages – What is (generally) going to happen when? At this point you just want to figure out the order of things, not exact dates. For example, is the Facebook contest going to come before or after you have a booth at the state fair?
- Get your support secured – Do you want a local celeb to get involved in the “selfie” portion of your campaign? Call that person ASAP. You need a venue for an event? Call and check for availability. That could dictate your campaign timeline.
- Swag – The actually ordering of swag will have to wait until designs are done, but plan for what you want and find where to get it. Pens and notepads may be easy to print, but what about beach balls for a pool party?
You are going to need two timelines – a campaign timeline and an action timeline.
Your campaign timeline can be fairly simple. It should include what part of your campaign is happening when. For example:
June 1, 2015 – Launch Day
- Update designs/graphics on website and social channels
- Launch landing page
- Send press releases to local news organizations
- Post an announcement blog and social media posts
Your campaign timeline should have room for notes and status updates. Marketing is real-time and sometimes things go wrong or need to change. Everyone needs to be aware of those changes.
Your action timeline should be an Excel or Word document that resembles a content calendar, with columns for:
- Action item
- Notes from project manager
- Person responsible
- Due date
Finally, you need to put your campaign into action! Follow your timeline, execute each stage, be flexible with the plan when need be and engage your audience the whole way through!