Avoid the Summer Marketing Slide

Educators call it the “summer slide.” (No, that's not when I slide into a crash, as I was starting to do in the photo.) The summer slide refers to studies that show some children experience a drop in reading level when they return to school after not reading over the summer. Because reading proficiency is so critical to learning overall, the summer slide can have a major impact on student achievement.

That’s why schools put so much effort and focus on encouraging students to read over the summer. Maintaining momentum is critical. The good news is it doesn’t require magic but rather a sound plan and consistent effort. On the other hand, regaining ground you’ve lost relative to your peers is very difficult and can create a cascade of other problems. Sometimes, it takes months — or even longer — to catch back up.

We see the same thing in the marketing world. Sometimes business owners want to hit the pause button on marketing efforts during the summer because it’s their “slow time” or because they’re going to take some time off for a vacation. Other times, companies or organizations are tempted to stop marketing efforts because they haven’t produced immediate results in terms of leads converting into sales.

But this is a mistake. At ALINE, we work with our clients to develop marketing strategies that will fill up their sales funnel. At the same time, marketing is about more than that, especially if you are just starting to develop your brand and tell your story. It takes all the pieces of your marketing strategy — from organic content and social media, to email marketing and digital ads and more — working together to convert a person who may not be ready to buy initially into a customer. When you hit the pause button on your marketing efforts — even during your “slow season” — the top of your sales funnel dries up. Those potential customers who were closer to pulling the trigger forget about you and move on.

Taking the summer (or any period of time) off will also sacrifice all the SEO gains you’ve achieved. SEO requires continuous investment and vigilance — you’re never finished. As soon as you stop, your ranking begins to slip. And that not only harms you; it directly helps your competitors.

Because of the research, setup time and other upfront costs, the beginning of a marketing effort is always the most expensive period. One of the biggest mistakes companies make over and over is investing those dollars, bailing before the plan has had time to take root and work, then coming back several months later and starting over. 

And often when companies are ready to throw in the towel, they are just getting to the point where there is enough data to evaluate to be able to refine the approach. Keep in mind that the first 60 to 90 days of any marketing strategy should be considered the first iteration — after that, you are able to expand on what has worked and tweak or ditch what hasn’t. Your marketing team should be in constant evaluate-and-iterate mode.

Are you tired of starting over every six to 12 months? Give us a call and tell us about where you find yourself today. We’d love to help.

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