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  • Writer's pictureChristina Hackett

Back to School Marketing Trends for 2023!

It's that time of year again — back-to-school season! As students prepare to hit the books, it's important for businesses to understand the latest marketing trends that will drive success in 2023. In this blog post, we'll explore the top back-to-school marketing trends for the upcoming school year and discuss how businesses can capitalize on them.

1. Personalization is Key: Leveling Up Your Content Game

Personalized experiences
Personalization with digital marketing.

Back to school isn't just about fresh kicks and new notebooks - students and parents want personalized experiences too! Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all marketing campaigns.

In 2023, personalization is the name of the game. Students and parents alike appreciate customized experiences that cater to their specific needs. Businesses should leverage data-driven insights to create personalized content, offers, and recommendations. Whether it's tailored email campaigns, personalized product suggestions, or targeted social media ads, personalization is sure to capture the attention of busy back-to-school shoppers.

With personalization in mind, we recommend targeting your audience by providing value as opposed to announcing sales or just showcasing your product. Instead, provide your customers with shopping lists, lookbooks, survival guides and other educational resources that can provide value and something useful they can use while they prepare for the 2023 School year.

Some questions to ask yourself when creating a personalized campaign:

How is our product beneficial for parents and kids? How is this the perfect fit for parents? Could you also be targeting teachers as well? They typically stock their classrooms too, so let's not forget about them!

2. Sustainability Matters: Tagging Along with Mother Nature

Investing with companies that are purpose driven.

We all love our planet, right? And guess what? So do students and parents!

In 2023, sustainable back-to-school products will be stealing the spotlight. As environmental concerns continue to gain traction, sustainability has become an important consideration for consumers. In 2023, expect to see an increased focus on eco-friendly back-to-school products, from eco-friendly backpacks to recycled paper supplies, showcasing your commitment to the environment will win you extra credit. Spread the word about your sustainable options through creative content and eco-conscious campaigns.

Let's make Mother Nature proud! Businesses that offer sustainable alternatives, such as recycled paper, eco-friendly backpacks, and reusable lunch containers, will likely gain a competitive edge. So how is your business making an environmental impact?

This is something to consider and highlight when creating your back-to-school campaign. Promoting these products through educational content and environmentally conscious marketing campaigns will resonate with eco-minded students and parents. Note: As we see an uprising with business greenwashing/greenhushing, it’s best to not lie about your business's environmental contribution, if this approach doesn’t work for your company, do not lie. We recommend implementing challenges to get consumers engaged with not only your brand but to also increase awareness around environmental concerns. Provide your consumers with a sustainability Challenge. By providing the consumer with information about sustainable and eco-friendly options for back-to-school shopping. Ask them to choose items that align with their values and explain why they made those choices.

3. Social Media Influencers: Friends That Shape Opinions

Impact of social media influencers.

Social media has become an integral part of students' lives, making it the perfect platform for reaching out to them. In 2023, expect to see a rise in the use of social media influencers as a marketing strategy. These influencers have a strong presence on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube and can significantly boost brand awareness and engagement. By partnering with the right influencers who align with your brand values, businesses can effectively reach their target audience and generate excitement for back-to-school products. Collaborating with the right influencers who align with your brand values can skyrocket your back-to-school campaign's reach and impact.

When it comes to influencer or user-generated content, focus on the importance of how your product changed the user's experience as opposed to jumping right into why they need to purchase it. UGC content is the most potent when it flows naturally as if you’re talking to a friend or family member. You are showcasing how your product is a game changer not why they should buy your product.

With this in mind, contests, challenges and giveaways are a fantastic alternative to discounts and free shipping. These types of promotions create awareness around your product/brand but they can also get people excited to engage with your brand as well. You could also add incentives such as bundle deals, showcasing your brand's product breadth.

4. Augmented Reality (AR) Experiences: Make Shopping an Adventure

Augmented reality and the future of marketing.

Welcome to the future, where shopping is an immersive experience! Technology is constantly evolving, and businesses must adapt. In 2023, the use of augmented reality (AR) experiences in back-to-school marketing will be on the rise. From virtual try-on features for clothing and accessories to interactive online tutorials for educational software, AR can enhance the shopping experience and provide valuable information to students and parents. AR will have students and parents hooked. Delight your audience with AR experiences that transport them to a whole new world, and leave your competition in awe! By embracing this technology, businesses can create immersive and engaging experiences that set them apart from the competition.

A fun idea we came up with is an AR Map where consumers can input their shopping list and can activate an in-store map to show consumers where they can find your products in-store for an easier process.

5. Omni-channel Approach: Mixing it up for Maximum Impact

Mobile experience for retail.
Mobile shopping.

With the rise of online shopping, a seamless omnichannel experience has become essential. In 2023, businesses should focus on creating a solid online presence while also maintaining a physical presence. This includes and not limited to optimizing websites and mobile apps for easy navigation, integrating online and offline promotions, and providing multiple channels for customer support.

By adopting an omnichannel approach, businesses can meet the diverse needs and preferences of today's back-to-school shoppers. With omnichannel in mind, another suggestion we have is to create a quiz and provide your customer with something a little more interactive and entertaining (if AR isn’t on your radar yet).

Quizzes such as:

  • “How prepared are you for back to school”

  • “What type of back-to-school shopper are you”

  • “Which style are you”

and linking them to shareable results and product suggestions

In conclusion, the back-to-school marketing landscape in 2023 will be driven by personalization, sustainability, social media influencers, augmented reality experiences, and an omnichannel approach.

By staying in alignment with these trends and implementing strategies to leverage them, businesses can maximize their reach and engage with students and parents during this critical time of year.

So, gear up and get ready for a successful back-to-school season in 2023!

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