Back-to-School Tips for Grown-Ups
The start of the school year can bring opportunities for savvy business owners. This article provides some insights into this market segment and creative, real-world marketing solutions to inspire you to “think outside the pencil box” this school year.
Back-to-School Business Lessons
Parents open their pocketbooks every August to prepare for the school year. Retailers are busy selling books, backpacks, gym shoes and snacks to start off the school year. In addition, contractors are winding up summer building and renovation projects.
But they’re not the only types of businesses that can jump on the back-to-school bus. To follow are some real-world examples of ways businesses leverage this market to promote themselves and boost long-term value. Can your business benefit from this list of creative ideas?
Create a Virtual “Brag Book”
A creative agency posts photos of employees’ children on the first day of school to share with clients on social media and through an e-blast campaign. It gives parents an opportunity to show off their offspring — and it creates a buzz on the agency’s Facebook page.
The brag book’s innovative design demonstrates the agency’s creative skills in an amusing and personal way. It also helps attract talent by showcasing the agency’s fun, family-friendly atmosphere.
Offer Back-to-School Promotions for Parents
A coffee shop offers free “boo-hoo/yahoo” lattes on Monday mornings to parents who are sad (or elated) about the start of the school year. Bright signage attracts parents en route to school, encouraging them to sample the eco-friendly, locally roasted blends.
The promotional campaign runs through the end of September and gets busier every week — a sign that it’s working to drive foot traffic to the start-up.
Offer “Freebies” to Good Students
When report cards are handed out in an Atlanta suburb this school year, students who achieve perfect attendance or straight A’s will receive a coupon from a local pizzeria for free personal-size pizzas. This campaign serves two purposes:
- First, it brings entire families into the restaurant when the kids redeem their coupons, which adds revenues and profit.
- Second, the campaign creates goodwill in the community by showcasing responsible corporate citizenship. To capitalize on this element, the restaurant displays pictures of proud kids with their pizzas, report cards in-hand, on their wall.
Sponsor a Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) or Extracurricular Group
A local realtor group sponsored a middle-school PTO. The sponsorship includes ads in the school’s weekly e-newsletter and in welcome packets for new PTO members. Individual realtors in the group also conduct monthly gift card drawings for parents and teachers who follow them on Facebook.
The agency hopes parents and teachers will remember its realtors’ names and faces when they’re ready to buy or sell their homes.
Participate in STEM Activities
An engineering firm recently donated old computers and printers to an elementary school that serves economically disadvantaged students. The equipment will be used in the school district’s new K-12 program to get kids interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) disciplines. In the spring, the company will mentor a select group of high school seniors who are planning to pursue engineering degrees in college.
Participating in STEM programs not only fosters corporate charity and goodwill, it can also generate “paybacks” over the long run. For example, when the human resources department is looking for skilled talent, kids who benefited from the firm’s STEM efforts may later return as loyal, full-time employees.
Launch an Apprenticeship Program
The back-to-school season has also inspired a high-tech manufacturer to partner with a vocational program at the local community college to offer registered apprenticeships through a state apprenticeship agency. In exchange for working for the manufacturer, students will receive college credits, on-the-job training and weekly paychecks. Their hourly wages will increase as they demonstrate proficiency.
The company expects to hire at least some of these apprentices to fill full-time positions in 2018.
What’s Right for Your Business?
It’s not too late to think about how your business can benefit. Contact us to help you “brainstorm” opportunities to leverage relationships with local schools to boost revenues, give back to your community, and add long-term value.