Summer marketing may seem worthless—summer is often seen as a slow season for B2B businesses. However, that doesn’t mean you need to slow down production for marketing campaigns. If anything, you should be strategically using this time to create targeted messaging to better reach your audience. I love the way Yonatan Snir explains this in his article for MarTechSeries, Sales Funnels Shouldn’t Take Vacations:
“Summer is downtime. Summer is vacation. Summer is employees with kids struggling with childcare arrangements in the gap left between school and camp. Do your business customers really have the head to be focused on making major product or service purchases?” That last one is a rhetorical question, and the answer is yes.
Snir continues: “Your average B2B client will come back from the tennis court or the pool, freshen up, sit down with an iced coffee… and their device. And if they’re in the market for a product or service like yours, there’s a good chance that some of your content is going to end up on their device screen, since they’ve been putting off research and suddenly have time.”
Regardless of your industry, audience, or business, summer is just as good a time as any to level up your B2B marketing campaigns. Use our summer marketing guide for tips and pointers on how to make the best of this season.
Bookmark for next year: The Spring Marketing Guide for B2B Campaigns
Summer Marketing Calendar
Traditionally, summer is bookended with Memorial Day and Labor Day—the weather turns warm, people head on vacation, and businesses turn to “summer Fridays.” Or, when looking at a calendar, technically, summer begins on June 21 and ends September 22. In between those two dates, there are many holidays that you can build into your marketing campaigns to create themes that will resonate with your audience.
Here are some holidays to consider integrating into your summer marketing calendar:
- June: LBGTQ Pride Month
- June 19: Juneteenth
- June 21: First Day of Summer
- June 21: Father’s Day
- June 30: Social Media Day
- July 4: Independence Day
- June 18: Get to Know Your Customers Day
- September 6: Grandparents Day
- September 7: Labor Day
- September 11: National Day of Service and Remembrance (#911Day)
While there are several other social media days that you could celebrate, remember to stay on-brand and relevant for your industry. For example, #NationalBookLoversDay on August 9 might make sense for literary or publishing companies but not a SaaS business.
Summer Marketing Creative
Summer is a season that celebrates bright, vibrant colors, being outdoors, and exploring nature. Try a few of the following creative ideas to energize your summer marketing campaigns.
Use Patriotic Themes—But Get it Right
With our current climate, it can be tricky to get patriotism right, especially for B2B businesses. Brand Key’s 2019 survey touched on the problematic balance. As Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys, explains:
“We live in an era of political polarization, consumer tribalism, and increasingly fervent social movements that challenge brands with constantly shifting sector landscapes that require ongoing adaptation and reinvention.”
Take time to reflect on how you can appropriately and relevantly include patriotic themes in your marketing. Passikoff continues: “Increasingly one of the more fundamental challenges is what it means to be considered ‘patriotic’ and how best to express patriotism via brand values and marketing. The challenge is to recognize that ‘patriotism’ isn’t just about ad campaigns and marketing surrounded by flags and fireworks.”
While you can include patriotic visuals in your marketing—red, white, and blue, stars and stripes, etc.—don’t forget to address what that patriotism means to your brand along with those graphics. For example, sharing how proud you are to be a U.S.-based business or how connected and committed you are to local civic causes.
Ultimately, this comes back to your audience. What does your audience care about? What are their beliefs on the state of the U.S.? Speak their language and your messaging will resonate.
Embrace Tropical Hues
When you think Summer, you probably imagine sandy beaches, tropical flowers, and shining blue skies. You can embrace that bright and colorful spirit in your summer marketing creative by using tropical tones in your visuals and videos. The goal is to be seasonal while staying within the boundaries of your brand guidelines. For example, choose tropical or beachy hues that compliment your existing brand colors.
While Mailchimp’s recent brand revamp uses more muted and pastel colors as a base, they incorporated bright tones in their Facebook video graphic to match the season.
Responsibly Incorporate Pride-Based Themes
With June as pride month, many businesses celebrate LGBTQ+ community and rights. However, this is another area where you need to find a balance between being supportive and saying the “right” thing—you want to avoid purely using this important holiday for your financial benefit.
Impact Marketing calls this pride vs. rainbow washing. Their guide gives great suggestions on how to avoid “rainbow-washing” your marketing campaigns, I.E. using pride themes without any real allyship of the LGBTQ+ community.
At the end of the day, you can use rainbow themes in your summer marketing to explain how your business is supporting inclusivity—IF your business is in fact doing that. Donate to local organizations and promote them in your messaging. Explain how your company uses this month to reassess inclusivity and diversity policies. You can also show your team safely celebrating pride events from a safe social distance. Rainbows imagery can be powerful when done correctly. Get it right with HRC’s LGBTQ Marketing and Advertising: Best Practices.
Summer Content Ideas
Coming up with content ideas all year long is exhausting. Give your summer marketing a boost with these seasonal ideas that can be incorporated into your blog posts and social media campaigns. Find the ones that resonate and then add them into your summer marketing calendar.
Highlight Local Summer Happenings and Openings
If summer is a slow season for you, or there are no relevant or appropriate ways to incorporate summer themes into your campaigns, go local. For example, lawyers and CPAs can’t really hold an “End-of-Summer Flash Sale.” Instead, they can promote the local summer events and business openings to provide value and stay top of mind.
Summer Marketing Example: In our post-COVID world, there may not be many events, so highlight the reopening of small businesses that your customers and clients love. You can even use this as a way to connect with those other business owners. Send them the blog post that includes their business and ask them to cross-promote on their social networks to drive traffic and engagement for you.
Take a Trip Down Memory Lane
Everyone loves Timehop and the ability to look back on “this time last year” for a reason—it’s fun to remember what we were doing a year ago today. Take this idea one step further by creating a fun or interesting historical timeline during what will likely be a summer with minimal events and goings-on.
Summer Marketing Example: Create a blog-post with a timeline of your business, or more broadly, your industry. For organizations targeting local clients or customers, craft a historical chronicle of your community. As a bonus, these pieces are considered evergreen content because the past won’t change, and you can always update the timeline as events progress. Take a look at Drift’s blog, Netflix vs Blockbuster – 3 Key Takeaways, as an example. This was written in 2017 and updated in 2020 (evergreen and still relevant), and uses a historic market comparison to offer valuable insights to their audience (marketers and business owners).
Honor and Recognize Parents
With both Father’s Day and Grandparents Day happening in the summer months, create content that recognizes Dads, Grandmas, and Grandpas. While it might seem too sentimental for some businesses, genuine content has a way of connecting with audiences and humanizing your brand—much more so than promotions.
Summer Marketing Example: Ask your team if they’d be comfortable sharing images of them with their dad for a Father’s day round-up social media post. It will be fun for current customers to see the business owners or people they work with as children or in a personal setting, helping nurture an even deeper connection between them and you.
Promote User-Generated Content
Leverage user-generated content (UGC) to shine the spotlight on your customers or clients this summer. According to a 2019 DemandGen report, 92 percent of B2B buyers give most credence to user-generated feedback. UGC is also highly authentic and you can also repurpose it into different formats.
For example, as a business that exclusively caters to SMBs and solopreneurs, Square is an expert at promoting UGC. You’ll notice on their Instagram that their summer posts promote businesses that thrive during this season.
View this post on Instagram
Summer Marketing Example: Source client or customer success stories. Ask them for a quick rundown on how your product or service helped them, including any data or metrics to back it up. Ask for images that bring the story to life and if pictures don’t make sense for your product or service, ask if you can use images of their team or employees.
Craft the testimonial into a case-study blog post—that same DemandGen report found that case studies are the most influential content format in B2B. Don’t forget to weave this into a story to make the content more engaging and then repurpose the case study into snackable social media posts to get more mileage out of your content.
Check out our blog post, The Art of Storytelling, for more tips on creating engaging content.
Upgrade Your Summer Marketing B2B Campaigns
Sometimes it can seem a lot easier for B2C companies to use seasonal themes and holidays to their advantage. As a B2B business, you do need to get more creative to stay relevant, fresh, and seasonal, but using these ideas and strategies, you can do just that! Don’t let your summer marketing fall flat—embrace the season and make it work for you.