Happy Back-To-School month!
For me, the end of summer signals the beginning of school.
The start of a fresh new year filled with learning.
There’s something special about the start of school always brings me joy.
Maybe that’s why I loved teaching so much. (Love you my NYU, Rutgers and CUNY students!)
In the pre-big box store days, my mother drove us to the local toy store. It took advantage of the second biggest shopping event of the year.
Each year I got a new blue cloth 3-ring binder filled with white and light blue lined paper to keep my work on a straight path. I loved the feel of a new #2 yellow pencils sharpened to capture new wisdom.
Dr. Seuss said it best:
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”
What does Back-To-School mean for marketers?
Back-To-School (aka: BTS) is the second biggest selling period after Christmas. Despite financial issues, US back-to-school spending will reach $28.1 billion. That’s approximately $529 per household for K-12 students.
Examine the details to understand changing consumer behavior.
Buyers shift to digital products. K-12 student technology spend will increase 28% creating an $8.6 billion market. At an average spend of $488, this includes:
- Personal computers,
- Wearables and
- Technology-based supplemental learning tools.
51% of parents plan to increase virtual learning tools.
Translation: Public education isn’t delivering results.
Spending on clothes, accessories and traditional school supplies will drop by $1 out of every $6. K-12 parents plan to spend an average of $336 on these products.
Due to COVID, personal health products have joined back-to-school spending. They add an average of $46 per student for supplies like sanitizer and wipes.
Actionable Marketing Insights:
- Rethink promotions and layouts for retail and digital offerings. With COVID concerns, parents and students may seek products in different locations and contexts.
- Make sure that your omni-channel offering IS truly omni-channel. If it doesn’t work, you’ve lost a customer.
Marketers pay attention: Age of purchase influence declines!
- 69% of children have moderate-to-high influence over computer and hardware purchases.
Watch how Back-To-School customers Shop. To remain nimble, be prepared to shift across channels to meet customers’ needs and context.
Customers plan to spend $10.4 billion online for Back-To-School this year, up $2.3 billion from 2019, Here’s how it breaks out by device:
- 64% will use personal computers (aka: PCs),
- 46% will use smartphones, and
- 6%-15% will use voice assistants and/or cashier-less stores.
Despite in-store spending declining to $12.2 billion this year, don’t rush to shutter your retail establishments YET!
Physical stores remain critical to 2 out of 5 shoppers. BUT 26% of them plan to buy online and pickup in store (BOPIS) as consumers and retailers shift to contactless formats.
Further, customers choose retailers based on these 3 factors:
- Price (82%)
- Convenience (80%) and
- Safety (59%).
Actionable Marketing Insights:
- Make your marketing promotions, communications and content available across all devices, platforms and formats. Be contextually relevant and ready to meet your prospect wherever they choose to look for your products.
Due to uncertainty spurred by COVID-19, nearly 2 in 3 (66%) of K-12 parents and 62% of college-age parents are anxious about sending their kids back to school.
As a marketer, be ready to modify your supplies and distribution. There is a lack of data regarding the reality of having staff, teachers and students return to classrooms. As a result, schools, families and students will probably shift their habits just as schools start to reopen.
According to NPR, universities that opened early in other areas of the country have become hotbeds for the spread of the virus despite precautions. Some schools, most notably UNC Chapel Hill closed down and sent all of its students home.
While we don’t have any children and live in New York City where the risk of COVID has fallen due to strong state leadership. The opening of schools and universities causes us great concern.
Because we live in the densest university area of the US. In New York City alone there are 110 universities and colleges that enroll 594,00 students. Most of these students head back during the last couple of weeks of August.
Beyond the limited university housing in New York City, many students live in cramped apartments through the city and surrounding areas. This increases the risk for the resident populations near schools and universities.
Actionable Marketing Insights:
- Continually monitor the schools and regulations where your business operates. This enables you to manage your suppliers and distributors better to save costs. Further, customers assume that you’re responsible for your customers, employees and the local community.
Since this AMG Newsletter contains a massive dose of data (Yes—I snuck in a fancy word for numbers so I wouldn’t scare you!), I’ve included charts to help you understand the concepts.
Due to COVID, nothing for the rest of the year will be normal. (I wonder if “normal” will remain in the dictionary after this period?)
Therefore, use this Back-To-School period as training wheels for your holiday marketing.
Want a fun action packed marketing read? (No this isn’t a joke!)
My long time friends and colleagues Bryan and Jeffrey Eisenberg teamed up with Roy Williams to deliver a delightful marketing read – Be Like Amazon: Even a Lemonade Stand Can Do It. Even better, its lessons are easy to put into action.
BTW, if I had kids, I’d read it to them and make them create a business based on what they learned!
Shout out to new readers: Nathan, Ha, Semagn, Nehad, Dipen, Crystal, Michael, Sepi, Lindsey, Julieth, Larisa, Chris, Octavius, Amanda, Ksenia, Kristina, Lewies and Caleb.
Thank you and welcome to the Actionable Marketing Community!
P.S.: Want Heidi Cohen to contribute a quote or other commentary to your next article, presentation, video, research and/or book?
Then hit reply to this email and ask.
P.P.S: Have a friend who you think would enjoy reading the AMG Newsletter? Would you please do them a favor and forward this copy to them?
FEATURED ARTICLE: 50 Best Business Books
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To guide you, use this list of 50 best business books.
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