Editor’s note: Margie Kupfer is vice president, marketing at marketing firm 3Cinteractive (3C), Boca Raton, Fla.
Summer is one of the best times for businesses to get new customers. Millions of people are out on vacation, which means there are more opportunities for spending than on regular working days. This, in turn, represents an opportunity for brands to offer exciting promotions, discounts and sales to bring in new customers who are out to shop for summertime fun.
As part of a strategy to target consumers, brands are considering more mobile marketing campaigns for the vacation season. More people will be outside their work or office environments, relying heavily on their mobile devices and smartphones for connectivity and engagement. As mobile usage continues to rise, brands that leverage this channel in their marketing efforts will reach and capture new and existing customers directly in the most effective way.
Many brands that will profit the most out of the summer season typically include clothing, travel, tourism, airline, entertainment and local retailers. For instance, Expedia has increased its mobile advertising during summers, as it expects more business with people increasingly using smartphones to book flights and hotels during the vacation season.
Launch new offers to push mobile-driven sales
Brands that do not have a mobile app, or at least a responsive mobile Web site, are driving away a number of potential customers to their competitors who are hungry to capture summertime market share. Several top-level brands have released summer-specific offers and incentives for mobile users to encourage more participation and build mobile traffic. For example, 7-Eleven launched a multichannel summer campaign using a combination of SMS, mWeb, social media and mobile advertising aimed to drive in-store traffic for their guests constantly on-the-go. Naturally, the strategy is to build themed campaigns that playfully engage with consumers in vacation mode as a way to connect and build mind share.
Social media channels to boost sales
Social media integration with mobile gives users the ability to quickly share their precious summer experiences. Even if a portion of products or offers get shared, brands get an increase in impressions, which may lead to additional sales generation. Conducting research on the best way to share summer content on social media has become a reliable way for brands to acquire and engage their customer base. Most recently, one of largest summer campaigns, “Share a Coke,” features a new social sharing opportunity that lets fans scan lyrics on specially marked bottles, then record a video to share on social media.
Eighty-three percent of consumers say they trust friends and family recommendations more than any other form of advertising. Offering sharable content enables customers to share mobile moments on their desired social channel, which in return, promotes your products and services through powerful word-of-mouth marketing.
Connect promotional deals with customer demographic and current trends
Personalizing messages boosts purchases, app opens and other conversions by 27.5 percent. By associating offers with the latest trends and events, brands can go a long way toward connecting with customers. Today, it is possible to conduct research and create targeted mobile moments for different kinds of customers based on their preferences, demographics and event interests, making it personal to each individual.
What’s more, mobile strategies should also be integrated into traditional marketing. Brands flying banners above the beach should tweak their banner messaging to also include CTAs that direct beach-goers to text a specific code for additional promotions. By staying in tune with what consumers are interested in at the moment, marketers will be able to create more targeted content that will be more effective.
Use geographic location and time to focus marketing efforts
It is no surprise that during the summer consumers will flock to the fun, tourist destinations. If your business has more than one location, try and focus your marketing efforts on the location that will be the most popular during the summer season. If one store is near a lake or beach and one is in the middle of the city, the location near the water may be the better bet.
Not only is location important but the time of day in which you focus your mobile marketing is vital. During the summer, it is more likely that people will be on vacation and not stuck in their offices, with kids out of school as well. That means that mobile marketing campaigns can be expanded beyond typical work-week hours.
Timing is everything
Think about the timing when planning your marketing strategies. Summer is usually about three-to-four months long. Make sure that the promotions you are sending out make sense on the summer timeline. For instance, in early August, you probably won’t want to send out coupons for a water park or discounted swimwear as people are typically winding down their summer and preparing for the school year. Back-to-school shopping is the second largest shopping season of the year with more than half of shoppers using smartphones while shopping to get price comparisons, inventory availability or directions. Busy parents rely on mobile to tell them where to head for the best deals – this is where brands can step in by offering timely promotions, personalized coupons and targeted updates straight to their customers’ mobile devices. Walmart previously launched a successful back-to-school campaign where using proximity targeting was 1.5 times more effective than when location targeting wasn’t used.
Mobile marketing campaigns for summer are not solely for B2C brands. B2B marketers should assume that their audiences are making purchase decisions during the summertime, especially if they’re in an industry where summertime is prime season for inventory stock-up and budget planning. B2B brands should always test different times for summer campaigns.
Brands that think strategically about their use of mobile during the summer will be the ones that come out with higher engagement, stronger customer connection and larger sales at the end of the season.