Get Out Of The Pool: It's Time To Talk Back-to-School

A recent quote in an AdAge article really caught my attention: "In seven and a half years, I've never once seen so much emphasis put on back-to-school before July 4," said National Retail Federation spokeswoman Kathy Grannis. 

With the back-to-school shopping season starting a little early this year, here are some things you should consider as you plan your back-to-school marketing strategies. Warning: There’s homework involved—now you should really feel ready for the new school year to begin! 

Watch Dad Spend

According to the NRF 2012 Back-to-School spending survey, men were expected to spend an average $739.75 on their children in grades K-12, compared to women spending $640.42. “The difference isn’t only in the amount,” states the survey. “Mom, much more likely to be the keeper of the family budget, will shop more at discount stores, while men are more likely to shop at department stores and electronic stores.” 



Brand Homework: Study up on Dad—how can your brand engage with him during the busy back-to-school season?

Focus on Value

While price is still an issue, moms are willing to spend more on products and services that add value to their lives. They are looking for backpacks that will last more than one school year, clothing that can be used for multiple seasons and electronics that have a warranty—guaranteeing they will not have to re-purchase if it breaks. 

Brand Homework: Emphasize value in your messaging—show Mom how your product will add value to her life. 

Think Beyond Supplies

While the focus is always on school supplies during the busy back-to-school season, moms are thinking about more than pens and pencils. They are looking for nutritious and quick meal ideas (not only for busy school nights, but for school lunch boxes), stocking up on kid clothing staples (like t-shirts & socks) and deals on sporting equipment. 

Brand Homework: Even if you are a brand that doesn’t dabble in school supplies, get creative on how you can connect with Mom during the back-to-school season.

Don’t Forget Teachers

According to a survey from, 91% of teachers reported purchasing items for their students—but not just for the classroom. “Teachers are not only educating students, but through their out-of-pocket purchases, teachers are tackling major social issues such as homelessness, poverty, hunger and teaching students basic life skills,” said James Rosenberg, founder of Teachers are purchasing everything from food and snacks to personal care items like toothbrushes and soap. 

Brand Homework: How can you help teachers during the busy back-to-school season?

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