Three Marketing Projects for the Dog Days of Summer
It can be more difficult for B2B firms to capture market attention during the Summer months. But the flip side is that people often are less distracted during July and August, and more likely to listen to your pitch. The vacation months, as well as brief windows during the holiday season – when people throttle back a bit, work-wise – can be great opportunities to capture their attention…if you’re willing to step up your marketing efforts during those periods.
If you prefer not to make the extra effort in Summer, but still want to make some meaningful progress, marketing-wise, here are three projects to consider:
Pitch a Bylined Article
During the Summer months, it’s relatively easier to gain the attention of editors at business and trade publications, simply because there are fewer people knocking on their door. If you have an idea for an article you’d like to write, now is a good time to send an email pitch to the managing editor of an appropriate publication.
Briefly describe your proposed article’s train of thought, explain why you think it would be of interest to readers, and ask whether the editor has interest in reviewing a draft. If you submit an article draft to a publication without an initial indication of interest from an editor, be prepared for disappointment.
Also keep in mind that an editor’s agreement to review your draft does not guarantee that it will be published. To clear that bar, your draft must be easy to read, be relevant to the publication’s readers, and can not directly promote your business.
Create an Editorial Calendar
Many firms understand the importance of content marketing as a means to establish thought leadership and market interest. Too often, however, their strategy for producing relevant content is either fuzzy or non-existent. As a result, their social media posts, commentaries, earned media (publicity), newsletters and direct communication to target audiences are a hodge-podge of information – often on random topics – that do not support the firm’s value proposition or competitive differentiation.
Use the Summer months to create an Editorial Calendar for the coming year. An Editorial Calendar is a simple planning tool that: 1. Identifies the core messages that reinforce your firm’s brand positioning; 2. Identifies relevant and timely topics that are directly related to your company’s core messages; and 3. Assigns specific topics (and production responsibilities) to specific months over the coming year.
An Editorial Calendar ensures that your content marketing has focus and relevance, and will serve as a catalyst to produce thought leadership content on a consistent basis. If you’d like additional details on how your firm can create and benefit from an Editorial Calendar, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clean Up (or Create) your Marketing Database
This is not a fun or glamorous project, but it’s one of the most important and most frequently overlooked aspects of an effective marketing communication strategy. The slower pace of business in Summer provides a great opportunity to clean up / improve your database of clients, prospects and referral sources...or to create a database, if your firm doesn’t already have one.
Lots of firms create content. Few of them, however, make the genuine effort to ensure that their content is distributed to decision-makers and opinion leaders; often under the misguided notion that posting content on a website blog or social media platform ensures readership. The reality is that most of your content will go unread unless you deliver it directly to your target audiences by email or snail mail.
To drive top-of-mind awareness with those people you’ll need a robust, up-to-date database of their contact information. Forget complex CRM systems. Just find a simple way to push your content out to decision-makers.
One final thought on Summer marketing: if you’re ambitious, and planning to launch some type of new business development campaign in the Fall of 2016, you’ll be better served by scheduling it for late September or early October. That way, you’ll avoid being lost in the avalanche of marketing campaigns created during the summer months – all with September 6th launch dates – and you’ll beat the pre-holiday slowdown in business momentum, which starts in November.
The “Dog Days of Summer” can provide a rationale to throttle back on your firm’s marketing effort. Or you can take advantage of the slower pace of business in July and August to accomplish a few important marketing tasks you might not have time for after Labor Day. It’s your call. You can be sure, however, that at least one of your competitors is not spending most of their time on the beach or on the golf course.