It’s the time of happy moods and sunny dispositions. And why not? The sun is warm, the clouds are sparse, and for many people in the world of education, the word “summer” is usually followed by “vacation.”
But is it too much of a good thing?
Truth is, most of us would rather stare out the window at a beautiful day than admit that our businesses still need money.
But summertime is also a season rife with marketing opportunities. The only catch? If you’re not motivated, you’ll never find them.
Staying On Top Of Your Game
Sometimes, it seems like summertime motivation—or lack thereof—is a kind of “seasonal affective disorder.” The kids are home, the weather is beautiful, hotel rooms are booked, and it seems like we’ve got everything on our minds except work.
But if you neglect your efforts just because it's summer, you'll pay for it. Stay motivated. Here’s how.
Don’t Overrate the Weather
“Aren’t you coming with us? It’s a beautiful day!”
The motto of the summerholic—and the bane of the working stiff.
For those of you who live in cold weather climates, you’ll notice an almost cultural need to get outside during the summer. It’s simple supply and demand: people feel like they have to make the most of these rare, sunny days.
But don’t be so (quite literally) fair weather. If you let weather dictate your outside schedule, you’ll spend more time working on your tan than your business. At the start of each week, make yourself a schedule. Make sure you do spend adequate time outside so you won't get antsy when you're in.
Think Outside the Marketing Box
If your usual marketing tactics include cold calling or any other type of office-bound manual labor, it’s understandable that you find marketing motivation a little difficult. Who wouldn’t?
If you think outside the box, however, you’ll realize that there can be ways to combine your lover of summer with your love of marketing—and your leads’ love of summer as well.
Consider some of the marketing strategies that are either unique to summer or especially effective during summer:
Mobile marketing tours
Street teams/live marketing
Conferences and networking events
These are just the tip of the iceberg for the possibilities during summer. Don’t let them go to waste!
Use a Summer Slump to Hone Your Knowledge
In addition to the marketing tactics listed above, there are some personal productivity habits that can be cultivated especially during summer.
For example, it’s easier to get nonfiction business reading done when you can do it while sitting on the beach and getting a tan. What books have you been meaning to read?
You can also use the good weather to keep your team motivated. Organize company picnics or simply allow them to take lunch outside. Exposure to the sun is a sure way to keep energized. It’s also free.
Manage Your Time Around the Sun
The additional sun hours during summer is an advantage just waiting to be used. With the sun out, it’s easier to wake up in the mornings; schedule more meeting times in the mornings during summer than you would during winter. If you can manage it, even try to wake up earlier. It’s easier than you think when summer rolls around.
Teri Galt, the CEO of Grocery Game, told Entrepreneur.com that she has to wake up early anyway to schedule meetings with people on the east coast. The result? She finds her daily schedule far more motivating when the hard work is done first.
Putting all of your usual “I don’t want to do this” work in the early portions of your mornings will help ensure that you’ve had a productive day no matter what you decide to do with your afternoon.
Make the Most of Your Weekends
The problem with the “weather opportunist” mentality mentioned earlier is that it puts your own goals behind the deviations in the weather. Since you can’t control the weather, this is no way to live life.
“Batch” your free time by leaving it to the evenings and weekends. Sure, the weather might not always cooperate with you, but when has it ever listened? You can still choose to recharge your batteries with a bike ride or a hike if it’s cool and overcast; no one’s going to stop you.
Keeping Your Employees Happy During Summer
It’s so difficult to keep people happy staying indoors during the summer months that public schools don’t even try; they simply call it a season and say “see you next fall!”
As the business owner, you don’t have that advantage. But read on, and you may find some valuable tips for motivating your employees to work hard in the summer months.
There’s a reason the company picnic has become a favorite tradition of American business—it works. At the very least, it’s a good way to show your employees that you don’t always want them cooped up in an office every single day.
Many companies simply opt to have their company picnic on a weekend so as to avoid giving out any extra time off. But we say, be generous! Have an “optional day” when your employees can choose between coming in (where you’ll have outdoor games and activities planned) or spending time at home. Come Monday, they’ll have no excuse to complain about the beautiful weather.
Keep it Casual
We all remember Bill Lumbergh of Initech in the movie “Office Space” telling a company full of downtrodden, miserable cubiclites about Hawaiian shirt day. Their lack of enthusiasm shouldn’t turn you off to the idea of relaxing your own company dress code.
Summer is hot; if you want your employees to be comfortable (and therefore productive), they’ll likely need some leeway when it comes to clothing options.
Google is famous for its employee-friendly headquarters. Its perks really rear their head in the summer months, when employees can take a dip in the company pool or schedule a free summer haircut when the top of their head is getting a little too warm. The point is clear: you don’t have to be an office stickler in order to inspire good results from your employees.
Raise the Stakes
Caroline McGlaun of Robert Half International—a consulting firm—says that beating the summer doldrums can sometimes be a matter of providing employee incentives. Sales competitions and financial rewards can be great, but keep in mind that summer comes packed with its own natural rewards. Offer employees a Friday afternoon off if they meet some incentive, or give them a gift certificate to an ice cream shop—which they can use during office hours.
Many employees look out the window with sadness, as if they’re trapped in prison. Incentives allow them to break out of that stupor while also encouraging them to stay focused on the work at hand.
Utilizing Summer in Your Marketing Strategies
Another way to stay motivated in the summer? Remember that it’s kind of like mother nature’s built-in marketing campaign. People are eager to go outside, walk around, and spend more money.
Of course, this also makes for stiff competition; everybody’s got a summer promotion of some kind. Let’s take a look at a few examples and creative ideas that illustrate what companies are capable of doing during the summer.
“Share a Coke'
Coca-Cola may be a year-round household name, but there’s still no denying that summer is Coke season. In 2011, they capitalized on the good weather with an interesting marketing campaign tailored at giving their brand a more personal touch, especially in Australia, a target market. Coke wanted to embrace the feeling of sharing a Coke while hanging out in the summertime months.
Coke took off the usual “Coke” labels and instead put on some of the most common names in Australia, adding a personal touch. They even included some phrases like “bestie” and “mate.” Additional measures, like texting Coke a name and seeing it put up on a billboard, reinforced the same ideas.
Soon, Coke’s Australia page had the number one social media presence in the country.
Del Monte’s Summertime App
Del Monte Foods identified a key demographic—working mothers—and decided to cater to them with a specific app (and marketing campaign) that focused on the summer months.
Utilizing the mobile app “Springpad,” Del Monte offered recipes, summer gardening tips, and tips for utilizing summertime fruits and vegetables. Though the themes of the marketing campaign completely capitalized on summer-specific issues, the key point to remember is that Del Monte used one season to its advantage: the specific targeting of one of their key customers.
It's tempting to hit the beach and forget you have a business, but this summer is the perfect time to amp up your marketing efforts, bringing in more customers for your biz.
Your Turn: Have you experienced a summer slump? Any tips for getting out of it? What inspiring marketing techniques have you seen?