Back to School- what’s your plan?

We have all seen the Halloween candy in the stores, that means its August and time for back to school shopping and prep.  If you live in a major metropolitan area like Boston you know that this time creates a huge swing in population, traffic, and economic boom.  If your business attracts young adults,  you need to be talking to them today…..because they are coming!


In Boston over 250,000 students return to more than 35 colleges and universities.  They are bringing their appetite for learning and a whole lot of other stuff.

Some Important Facts:

 8.8 billion dollars will be spent on clothing in August( 2014 census)

77.2 million children and adults are enrolled in school (Oct 2014 census),  nursery school to college. That is 25.6% of the total population!

40% of the 18-24 are enrolled in college (2014 census)

52.1% of college students work while in school, of that 20% of them are working FULL TIME while going to school.  Money to spend! 


Some ideas to capture these students:

Be talking to them NOW….Radio, coupons, college papers , geo- targeted offers for towns where they live both dorms and off campus housing.

Create discount offers so new students can  try your business, if you can get a couple of them hooked on what you do or offer the word will spread.  Word of mouth is a powerful tool for advertising but you have to plant the seed with smart marketing!

Compliment all mass media messages with social, be consistent.  New people to the area will need that frequency,  to remember you and find your business.  Returning students will probably only need a reminder of you have been the long enough.

Talk to local colleges about including coupons  or information in welcome bags or packets.  New students read this to get acclimated quickly. The stronger the offer the more traction it will get.


Welcome Back Students!


(research sourced from US census data)




Welcome to 2016-what’s your dream? 


Over the holidays, work life slows a bit and allows for some relaxation and reflection. I was watching the movie, Pretty Woman and after the romantic end scene you see and hear the guy on the street corner. Do you remember ? He’s shouting to passer bys ” what’s your dream?”  And that got me thinking.

A new year is a great time to make short and long term plans, refine what didn’t work last year, set new goals… It’s all good stuff. Important. Key to it all, really think about it, write it down, put an action plan to it and as Nike says. Just Do It!

Over the holidays I paid careful attention to the customer service I received. Pleased at times, disappointed at times and in all cases just wanting to be appreciated, helped and thanked for the money I was spending.

That leads me to Sawhill’s #1 2016 goal. Customer Service. I pride myself on taking exceptional care of my clients. So I am challenging myself to do more and be even better. I will share real examples throughout the year of this.

Sawhill’s #2 2016 goal. Creativity. What unique marketing programs can I develop. How can I help brand my clients business in new, innovative ways that make them and their customers say WOW.

Sawhill’s #3 2016 goal. Be visible and available. Life moves so fast. Technology and connectivity has made it both harder and easier to do all the things you want to do. Working in Boston,  we battle; busy schedules, weather, epic traffic and so on. My goal is to better plan my days and weeks so I am there for my clients. To have the time to be with them and help them solve thier problems.

When making your own goals. Keep it real. Be honest with yourself. If the goals are to help and effect others, make sure they do. The time and thought you take today can set you up for a great 2016.
Let’s do this, let’s make 2016 a great year. We can do it!

7 things you should know about advertising in Boston, a borrowed post from Live and Local Greater Media.

With 650,000 potential customers in the city proper and more than 7.6 million residing in “Greater Boston,” Boston is a prime location to reach new and potential consumers. However, before you leap into the market with the assumptions that Boston is just like the nation’s other big cities (or even like its New York or DC neighbors), there are seven key things you should understand about the Boston residents and the city they call home. These considerations should be kept in mind when creating your marketing campaigns, developing creative, and choosing where to advertise.


Though the “wicked awesome” accent is pretty accurate, many Bostonians agree that advertisers should be extremely careful in how much (or even how little) they should use it. While the thick “r’s” and the broad “a’s,” are a point of pride and a way to distinguish natives from out-of-towners, it should be used in a natural way that uses self-deprecating humor at a minimum.

More importantly to a listener is the pronunciation of several locations and landmarks and the dialogue used. For example, audiences will surely be turned off by a mispronunciation of the towns of Woburn or Peabody. Bostonians will also be confused if the infamous “Pike” is referred to by its real designation: I-90. Anything else comes across as inauthentic and signals that the advertiser knows little about their city.


In 2013, the Urban Mobility report ranked Boston the fifth worst city for traffic congestion with most Boston commuters spending over an hour in their car commuting. For advertisers, this means that placing money in radio or billboards could pay off big. Car-centric businesses such as dealerships, food on the go, and even gas stations can also benefit from commuters culture.


Unlike many large cities, Boston has a very personal and prideful identity. Bostonians love their sports teams. The Sox; the B’s, the C’s and the Pat’s. They love St. Patrick’s Day and line the streets of Southie for the St. Patrick’s Day parade. They are “Boston Strong” and love to hate New York. Boston consumers hold their city near and dear to their hearts and with that comes routine, tradition and tremendous loyalty. Advertisers should become educated on what their target demographics watch and listen such as their favorite radio or news station or their favorite sports teams—to better understand where marketing money should be invested.


In addition to being known for its aggressive drivers and its loyalty to the hometown sports teams, Boston is also a city of intellectuals and artists. Open-air farmers markets are a frequent warm weather pastime as are world renowned festivals such as the Boston Globe Blues and Jazz Festival and the Boston Film Festival. Newbury Street in particular is home to art galleries, book and craft stores, and trendy restaurants. This rich, cultural city responds well to those advertisers and businesses that seek to interact with them on a higher, more thoughtful level.


Greater Boston plays campus to more than 60 schools and 240,000 students ranging from popular junior colleges, art and music schools, and the top university in the world—Harvard. With this, Boston is the epitome of gold mine for businesses eager to build upon the coveted millennial market. The college student demographic are frequent spenders, active (especially at outdoor and sporting events), and loyal customers to brands and stores that they discover.


Advertising in Boston doesn’t just stay in Boston. It encompasses three states (Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire), and it straddles other major metropolitan areas such as Providence and Worcester. Purchasing larger campaigns that advertise in Greater Boston means that your message will not just be heard by those in the core area, but also in large potential target areas. Boston truly brings savvy advertisers more bang for their buck.


While it is easy to compare Boston to its giant neighbor to the south, New York, Bostonians will be first to tell you otherwise. Starting with the sporting rivalry that cursed the beloved Red Sox for nearly a hundred years, the distaste for the Big Apple runs deep. Advertisers should be aware to keep New York City references out of the town if it wants to avoid controversy and be true to Boston pride.

As you can see, Boston is a unique, traditional city that offers great opportunities for educated and adaptable advertisers and business owners. Investing advertising and marketing time in this city may mean developing an audience ready to listen, interact, and be loyal to those who understand their distinct history and culture.