Brace yourselves, advertisers: summer is coming. Summer is known to be a notoriously sluggish time for businesses, with consumers either saving up for the holiday season or jet setting to vacation destinations. While travel took a hit during the pandemic, summer 2022 is predicted to be the busiest travel season ever. To ensure that business doesn’t come to a halt, advertisers need to include the right advertising and promotional efforts in their Q3 campaigns to beat the summer slump.
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But, how? We spoke with our experts at DCMN, Eric Vissers, Head of Growth and Business Development and Petar Zigic, Senior Client Partner & Growth Manager, who shared their insights on how to run a stellar advertising campaign during the summer. In this guide to slow summer, we chalk out the channels that work best, which verticals can gain the most eyeballs during this time and some do’s and don’ts for your next summer campaign.
What is slow summer?
Traditionally, the majority of people take their well-deserved breaks during the summer months. A knock on effect is that many businesses, particularly those not based in destination locations, experience a dip in sales.
Summer also marks a shift in consumer spending: people are looking to travel, enjoy the warmer weather outside big cities and far away from their homes. Vacations, summer activities, music festivals, or just socialising with friends in the garden become the priorities and tends to shift our focus from work life or favourite brands. At the same time, young families and parents know that the back to school season is set to be an extra strain on their budget and are careful with their summer costs. Barring the exceptions, summer is a time marked by extra or spontaneous spending on summer activities and events. Throw a pandemic into the mix, and attracting consumers over the summer has been made all the harder. As Petar mentions, “the last two years have been tough for brands: many had to rethink their business models and cater to new consumer needs overnight.”
Eric adds: “For advertisers, summer is the time to reevaluate and recalibrate their tactics and efforts from the previous 5-6 months and also assess how their target groups are set to spend the summer – whether it’s jetting to popular travel destinations, or attending events and music festivals. This shift in demographic targeting requires time, research and iteration to combat the slow summer sales. At DCMN, we’ve adapted quite well to this slump period and prepped a range of clients from different verticals to plan ahead, match the unique needs of consumers and get the eyeballs your summer campaign deserves.”
Petar suggests it’s all about the seasonality of your products and services. If your brand doesn’t fit the summer vibe, it means that you need to reevaluate your messaging for this period. For instance, if you’re a brand selling skiing equipment, summer naturally won’t be the right time for you to advertise — but it also gives you time to plan ahead for the year.
Beat the heat with the right channels and messaging
Summer might be slow for your business, but that doesn’t mean taking campaigns off your marketing plan entirely. Many verticals can even make the summer slowdown work to their advantage – including fashion, gaming, F&B, entertainment, travel and tourism, consumer electronics, dating and gardening. Our experts also have some tips to help you navigate the right channels and messaging.
When it comes to channels, both Petar and Eric suggest OOH, digital OOH and radio as your best bet. With people spending more time outside during summer, your ads need to step outside too. Petar adds:
“TV has a higher prices index when people watch TV the most – aka the colder months. But OOH and radio have stable prices throughout the year, even though their audience impact is incredible during the summertime.”
Eric reiterates that media consumption changes during the summer, with TV usually witnessing a slight drop in reach and viewership. Many shows run their final episodes by the end of May, followed by months of reruns as audience numbers dip. Petar adds: “People spend far more time out and about, whether travelling, enjoying a sunny walk or chilling in the park while listening to their favourite podcasts, radio shows and songs. Higher audience reach and flat prices are a big win for both radio and OOH during the summertime.”
Now is also a great opportunity to expand your target audience. A catchy OOH campaign in the city can also attract tourists to try new things and fall in love with your brand. And when it comes to OOH during summer, Petar suggests going big! Place posters, billboards or even a mega board in the city to ensure your brand visibility remains high during summer. Depending on the brand fit, sponsorship activations with target group-specific events and festivals also work very well for brand visibility.
If you’re a local business that’s far away from sunny beaches, now is a great time to promote special offers and deals. After all, saving money isn’t season-specific. But we advise you to plan ahead, engage your consumers even before the season kicks off, and make sure your promo campaigns are still brand relevant. It’s also a time to reflect, test and learn, adds Eric. Want to test new channels or messaging? Instead of viewing summer as down time, focus your efforts on strategising your upcoming campaigns for the year, review business plans, shake up your communication strategy, carry out campaign tests, do competitive research and improve execution infrastructure for the year.
Slow summer campaign: do’s and don’ts
- Don’t go silent! Out of sight means out of mind: retain your Share of Voice by continuing to push your marketing efforts. If you don’t, this gives competitors an opportunity to race ahead and potentially poach your consumers.
- Do look for new methods and channels to reach your audience in different environments, and increase your brand’s recall to stay top of mind.
- Do make use of summer offers. Score last-minute deals while booking media during summertime, when competition is lower.
- Don’t launch new products and services in the summer season, unless you’re an ice cream brand.
- Plan your summer promotions ahead of time. Last-minute offers still need time to work and catching your customers just before heading off to their holiday may not be the right approach. Give them enough time to make their purchase decisions.\
- If your business is in its early stage and brand awareness is still weak, don’t quit your marketing activities in the low season. Stopping advertising could hurt your ROI and impact your brand awareness level in the long run.
- From ATL to digital, we’ve run successful summer campaigns for a range of digital brands. Get in touch with our experts to navigate slow summer: firstname.lastname@example.org