Back to School With Monday Morning Coffee


As schools plan to resume in some fashion this fall, there are some real-life lessons being pushed out to the youngest scholars. They may be learning in a new setting or having to pivot to a new plan as events unfold.

Those lessons aren’t just for the pencils-and-crayons crowd. Across every industry, marketers are having to take some of the lessons they’ve learned in school and use it to thrive in a quickly-changing, economically-challenging environment. Here are a few back to school lessons you can apply to your marketing in 2020:

Do Your Homework: In any set of circumstances, the more you know your audience, the better you’ll be able to connect with them. From social media analytics to Google Analytics, and within your own website data, there’s plenty of information you can gather about your target audiences.

Knowing your audience well, from their buying behaviors to their hobbies and job roles, can provide the insight you need to create relevant, timely content. The world is in a quick-change mode, but if you know your audience well, you can change directions seamlessly with them.

Be Prepared: Before school begins, students make lengthy trips to Target or Wal-Mart to get exactly five different colors of the three-hole-punch, pocket folder with brads. Their list may include a wooden ruler (not plastic!) and glue sticks, not liquid glue.

Teachers know exactly what students need to get the job done, and they make these requests from both experience and expertise.

What about your marketing? You may not be stocking your office with #2 pencils or other supplies, but rather with a mindset that embraces agility. You saw the value of agility in March, when it was important to quickly decide which messages were right for the times. As the pandemic continues to impact businesses, you should be ready for a quick pivot. Or multiple quick pivots.

For instance, in July you may have noticed a lot of commercials that were, in effect, welcoming consumers back to stores. Applebee’s “Welcome Back, Kotter” theme was hardly subtle. It was hard not to notice these commercials’ incongruence with headlines saying that the reopening effort was faltering in many states. While marketers can’t expect to predict the exact future in these uncertain times, it’s important to be relatively quick in changing a message that’s completely off-key.

Failure is Not Defeat: Everyone is going to have a few instances where an ad isn’t quite right, or a social media post doesn’t create the kinds of connections the company had hoped. Just like in school, one poor performance isn’t a sign of an impending defeat. Keep working to engage your audiences while keeping an eye on analytics and current events.

Class is in session! Contact SJC Marketing whether you need an introductory lesson or you’re ready to move on to more advanced strategy. We’re ready to share our expertise, as well as expand our collective knowledge together.

We’d love to learn more about you.