The summer will be over as quickly as it started. Use these four tips to ensure that the hectic back to school shopping season doesn’t sneak up on you. 

Marketers, rev up your engines: We are almost halfway through 2016! With Memorial Day behind us, summer is heating up and the busy back to school and holiday seasons are inching up on the calendar every day. It’s time to make sure your marketing initiatives are set to maximize the busy season.

Take some time out to focus on these four areas now, and you’ll be in “all systems go” mode for the second half of 2016:

1. Aggregate existing knowledge

Have you tested things in the past year? Take time to circle back and assess what was learned. Look for connections and trends across various channel programs. Think of new ways to slice and dice data to gain perspectives that could lead to program improvements.


For example, have you considered how gender, location, or loyalty levels are engaging with your emails? Develop new hypotheses to be tested out. Most importantly, document and share key learnings that will enable teams to quickly integrate best practices across program plans as the busy seasons ramp.

2. Prep optimization plans

Take time now to evaluate programs and make improvements across the board. Look at the consumer life cycle and brainstorm opportunities to optimize programs, even in small ways.

For maximum impact, rework what works well to make it work even better. One example could be a long-standing welcome program that needs a refresh, such as integrating new mobile app call-to-actions or data gathering elements. In most cases, you’ll find something to improve upon that will help to capitalize on the upcoming influx of new customers.

3. Double check data

Is your data in good (Read more...) to deliver a consumer-first experience across channels? Conduct a mid-year data hygiene review and establish a plan to manage.

Examine data to understand how channel preferences may be shifting. Review subscription pages, preference centers, and progressive profiling opportunities, which can generate additional information for targeting and personalization. Focus on gathering new data points such as zip code or birthday that will enhance personalization.


Dive into data on email opens via mobile and type of devices used. This opens up opportunities for message customization, including device-specific app install ads and personalized offers that deep link to specific aras in the mobile app. Data drives the digital experience, so double check that data!

4. Disrupt and differentiate

The fun starts when you take what you’ve learned and combine it with existing plans and actionable data to align teams around new opportunities. Think about last year’s REI #OptOutside social campaign, catapulting REI to holiday-winning status.

Or, consider the impending presidential election or a philanthropic cause as a theme that may bring new communication opportunities. What new ideas can you harness to keep your brand top-of-mind and put consumers first during the upcoming buying seasons?

As beaches and barbecues become summer distractions, focusing on these four areas will set you up for sizzling success. And, you’ll end 2016 with valuable insight to integrate into 2017 plans.

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