How I learned to turn the summer doldrums into my secret weapon

by Sara Breuer 

Summer can be a tough time for getting anything done in marketing and sales. Entire weeks seem to be off limits for both generating leads and closing deals, not to mention getting approval on ANYTHING. Have you ever tried to reach someone on Monday, July 3? Or the Friday (or Thursday) before Labor Day? It. Is. Not. Happening.

Besides planning around those down weeks, marketers worth their salted caramel ice cream use the summer to get in shape for the busy fall season. Q3 is huge for so many businesses, from retail to enterprise B2B. Don’t go into it all flabby and pasty from too many Game of Thrones or Orange is the New Black marathons.

As I finished up my son’s “Camp Spreadsheet” — it’s how we track where he’s going, when, and for how much money each summer, not a place he goes to learn about spreadsheets — it occurred to me that I’m crafting a summer marketing camp for myself as well.

Summer reading list

Summer reading isn’t just for middle schoolers, and your list doesn’t have to be just books. Challenge yourself to find and read a blog or follow a new expert in your field – or a new expert in another field for that matter – on Twitter.

This summer I’m plunging headlong into reading several smarties who go deep into IT marketing and lean startup methodology. It was either that or Remembrance of Things Past, and frankly, there aren’t enough weeks in the summer for me to finish the Proust.

Improve yourself

Learn something new. Check out a new tool. Take a class. Do you REALLY know everything you need to about marketing automation or how to use Adobe Marketing Cloud?

My goal for this summer is to learn more about using LinkedIn as a social platform. It’s embarrassing to admit I don’t fully understand its capabilities, nor how to leverage them to their fullest.

Make new friends

It’s easy to get comfortable with the people you work with every day. Your team may be a well-oiled machine, but if you’re a marketer, you need professional friends in Finance and IT. You know, the people who don’t understand what it is you do all day. Make a point to find someone who can make your life a whole lot easier, and reach out to see how you can make her life (or at least her job) a whole lot easier.

I’m choosing to focus on getting to know the professionals who are in my business development group, Austin Business Link. In particular, I’m reaching out to see what I can learn from this group of cool, successful people who aren’t straight-up marketers.

When summer’s over, I won’t just have a killer tan and some Instagrammed memories, I’ll have some mad new skills and stronger relationships. Sure beats chigger bites and a broken arm, doesn’t it?