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Don’t let the sun set on the best time of year to tackle communications and marketing projects that come with serious shelf life.

When I was a kid, the start of the school year seemed like a mirage in the thick of the summer haze. Who could seriously think about class schedules, textbooks and new clothes when the temperature was well into the 90s and the only goal, every day, was to find a place to go swimming?

And yet, September is coming, and with it, a host of conferences and events, client projects, new business leads and year-end planning.

But don’t fret. There’s still plenty of time to tackle the communications and marketing projects that will carry you well into 2017—even if half your office is on vacation.

 

1. Target New Client Segments. Every business has its sweet spot. But maybe you’ve had your eye on a younger audience or an industry that is close but not quite related to those you already serve.

It’s the perfect time to test the waters, start having conversations and even prepare an offering just for this new segment. Find out what these prospects really need and then deliver. Set up coffee dates, mine LinkedIn or attend a networking event to make new connections.

If you start small now with a few sell sheets and a lean sales force, you might even have a new revenue stream in place for Q4.

 

2. Do Some Research. Still looking at projections for 2016—or earlier?

Since it’s the time of year when people still at work actually read their emails and return calls, go ahead and ask them about their predictions, concerns, opinions and ideas. Find a new vantage point for the industries you serve or benchmark the effectiveness of a certain solution.

Take a week to identify your respondents and simultaneously prepare smart questions, then put your survey out in the world. With responses back by the end of August, you’ll have a clever new thought leadership piece to follow up with all those new conference contacts this fall.

 

3. Jazz Up Your Materials. Speaking of content, when’s the last time you showed your resource and reference library some love? Is old branding or contact information making your brochures and decks less than useful? Does everything seem kind of drab in the bright summer sun?

Grab a writer, designer and multimedia producer to assess what you’ve got. You won’t be able to touch everything, but you can at least determine what needs to be upgraded, recycled or retired.

A few ideas to get you started:

  • Create a new document template to keep all newly created materials on brand and cohesive.
  • Update existing decks and presentations with more graphics and video components.
  • Spice up your case studies with new metrics, results and visual elements.
  • Create new taglines and logos for individual products or solutions.
  • Revamp one or two critical web pages to showcase your expertise to prospects and clients.
  • Create an information campaign with multiple content components to attract new business through year end.
  • Produce an animated video from existing infographics or research pieces that still have good information, even if their original form is now a little stale.

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4. Test a New Social Channel or Tool. There are so many social media tools, apps and channels out there, it can be hard to know where to start.

Good news: you don’t have to tackle everything at once. But you should be aware of the trends in social and how you can use them to advance your brand.

You can take a few weeks to conduct a social audit, which will gauge your impact and set a benchmark for future efforts, or try a new analytics tool that sounds promising. Even getting your feet wet on a channel that might seem intimidating (looking at you, Snapchat) can pay big rewards if you’re willing to get hands on and learn as you go.

 

5. Scrub Your Database. OK, so it’s not as much fun as a bonfire on the beach, but if you’re gearing up for new contacts come September and October, you might as well weed out the one-time prospects and no-context contacts junking up your CRM.

Even if your contact information is pristine, you can always re-segment your audience now, resulting in more-targeted information all year round (and hopefully, more sales!). Find an intern and give them guidance to sift through the sea of contacts and make sense of industry-specific lingo.

 

And a bonus idea:

6. Take a Vacation. Summer comes but once a year and it’s a long slog until the holidays. Why not find a beach, or even just a good book, and give yourself the gift of a refreshed spirit before the fall rush? You’ll feel great on the other side and will likely come back with some new communications ideas of your own.

 

Need help tackling your end-of-summer projects? Contact JConnelly today to hear how we can help!

 

 

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