Mari Cobb-Manriquez
Posted by Mari Cobb-ManriquezJuly 21, 2022 6:00 AM

It's time to start sharpening our pencils in preparation for heading back to school! The back-to-school season poses a huge opportunity for those of us in the fresh produce industry as shoppers get back into the routine of making lunches for their kids every day. In fact, according to Pinterest Trends, searches for terms related to back-to-school preparation tend to skyrocket in August. While your prime target is already searching for terms relevant to your product, it's important that your brand shows up.

The DMA Solutions Back-to-School Marketing 101 Class is now in session!

Successful marketing initiatives are designed to help meet your target audience where they are in their journey with your organization. We call this journey the “marketing funnel.”

 
 

Top of The Funnel Marketing

The audience at the top of the funnel isn't familiar with your brand and the way to get the word out is through outreach tactics, such as public relations, influencers, advertising, and social media.

 
Public Relations
    • Public Relations allows companies and brands to reach a wide audience in a deep and meaningful way. National consumer placements are not guaranteed, but the opportunity to have your story told authentically and consistently adds serious momentum to your marketing efforts.

    • Here's what you can do:

        • Pitch stories to consumer media outlets that position your brand and product as the go-to source for back-to-school inspiration.

        • Target specific national media outlets and pitch them the opportunity to taste and try your product in consideration for a future editorial piece. This helps keep your brand top of mind with influential writers with a national reach.

Influencers

    • Influencers are a great and effective way to increase brand awareness! Influencers help broaden your brand’s reach and allow you to be specific about the audience you want to reach.
    • Here's what you can do:
        • Identify influencer partners that have a similar audience to your target. Think "mommy bloggers" and at-home chefs.
        • Choose influencers who have experience creating kid-friendly recipes. (Bonus points if you can negotiate the rights to re-share the content on your social channels and your website)!

Advertising

    • Advertising can sound scary, but it doesn't have to be! Digital advertising through Google can help put your brand in front of those who are searching for inspiration online. It works in conjunction with your social media activity, promotional efforts, and influencer partnerships to further generate brand awareness and recognition, build credibility and drive traffic to your website.
    • Here's what you can do:
        • Through Google Ads, you can identify keywords that are important to your brand and make sure your company shows up when someone searches for those terms.
        • Target areas of the country where your products are in stores and direct shoppers to purchase.

Social Media

    • Social media pulls "double duty" as both a "top of funnel" tactic and a "mid-funnel" tactic. Social media marketing helps not only introduce your brand to new audiences, but it is a vehicle that helps build relationships with shoppers. We recommend creating a social media strategy for the back-to-school season that includes inspirational and educational content. Show your audience what is possible with your product and let them know how to keep it fresh in a lunchbox!
    • Here's what you can do:
        • Run a flash promotion to boost reach and engagement. Give away a prize and make sure the rules state that an entrant must follow and engage with your account.
        • Create Pinterest boards with lunchbox-friendly recipes.
        • Boost your posts to reach parents with school-aged children.

 

Mid-Funnel Marketing

Those in the "consideration stage" of their shopper journey, or the middle of the funnel, are familiar with your brand but need a little more convincing before they make a purchase. Reach these people with frequent communications, such as email marketing and social media.

 

Email Marketing

    • Don't forget about those who already know you! Stay top of mind during the back-to-school season through consistent email marketing. Remind them how your product is the ideal lunchbox ingredient and encourage them to purchase by driving traffic to your website or a store.
    • Here's what you can do:
        • Email your audience a coupon to encourage them to go to the store to buy your product.
        • If you don't have access to coupons, send your audience to your website to your "Where to Buy" page so they know where to purchase.
        • Include recipes in your email to serve as inspiration, linking back to your website.

 

Bottom of Funnel Marketing

Finally, those at the bottom of the funnel have completed the other stages in the funnel and are ready to make a purchase! This means they have shown enough interest to be on your website, or they're at the store and ready to make their purchase decision. Make sure you're prepared for sales!

 

Website

    • It all comes down to this. Your marketing tactics have worked! You've gotten the attention of shoppers and they've cared enough to click to learn more. Your website should be ready to assist in the sales process.
    • Here's what you can do:
        • Create a list of kid-friendly recipes and create a pillar page on your site so you can lead to these recipes from email and social media.

        • No eCommerce functionality on your site? No problem! Just make sure your "Where to Buy" page is up to date and easy to find. This can be a simple list of retailers where your product can be found. Make sure that this page is visible at all times on your site. This shows purchase intent!

In-store Marketing

    • Reach shoppers while they're shopping! Create an in-store component for your back-to-school promotion. Make your products practically jump off the shelves and into shopping carts.
    • Here's what you can do:
        • Create an in-store component to your promotion through surprise and delight mailers. Our friends at LGS Specialty Sales did this, and saw great results!

        • Create compelling point-of-sale materials that quickly address a shopper's problem.

 

Put Your Pencils Down & Get Started By Setting a Budget

Now that we've shared some tactics for back-to-school marketing, it's time to get started by setting a budget for your campaign and creating content. 

 

Setting a Budget

All of the tactics listed here can be executed with a budget of any size! Focus your budget on where your goals are. For instance, if your main goal is reaching new shoppers, focus on "top of funnel" initiatives and spend a good chunk of your budget there. Or vice versa, if you feel like you've exhausted the "top of funnel" audience and are having a hard time getting them to convert and make a purchase, focus your efforts on our strategies for the "bottom of funnel" crowd. 

 

Creating Content

We get it, it can seem like a daunting task to create the content needed for a back-to-school campaign. To uniquely position your brand to your audience, create content that will be relevant to your target and stay on top of trends.

Here are a few of our favorite sources that help us stay on top of back-to-school trends:

  • Pinterest Trends is a great tool to see what specific commodities the audience is looking for. Notice the results that come up when you search for your product to spark ideas for content.

  • Don't stop at Pinterest, either! Utilize Google Trends to see what is trending related to your products, the category as a whole, and your audience. Google Trends will break down where these searches are most popular and if these locations match with your selling areas, that's a no-brainer!

  • Chartwells K12 puts out a report annually with the biggest food trends for kids and 2022's list frames some fantastic opportunities to create content that will resonate. Some of the highlights from the report include:

    • Handheld items such as sandwiches, burritos, or tacos are on the rise! Kids are eating on the go and don't want to be tied down with utensils. Showcase recipes that can be eaten on the go with minimal dirty dishes.

    • Eating food for fuel is popular among the younger generations and we love to see it! As fresh produce marketers, this is a huge opportunity to bring health claims to the forefront of your marketing.

    • "Retro" kid-friendly foods are also making a comeback - but with a healthy twist! Think back to your cafeteria days and put a healthy spin on your childhood favorites using the products you grow.

 

Pop Quiz

Question 1: If you need help with getting your brand ready for the back-to-school season, who do you call? 

Answer: DMA Solutions, of course.

Question 2: How do you get in touch with DMA Solutions? 

Answer: Simple, schedule a call with us by clicking here

Topics: Websites & Blogs, Social Media, Public Relations, Inbound Marketing, Marketing Trends, Tools, & Insights, Influencer Management, back to school, Email Marketing Campaigns, 2022

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