Tempted to "check out" during the holiday season? PCI President & CEO Robert W. Sprague offers reasons to stay on course during the holidays.
I write these words on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. It's a day notorious for getaway traffic – and also for the beginning of the quietest part of the year for marketing agencies like ours. It can seem as if the rest of the world has "checked out" for the holiday season. E-mails to clients start to come back with out-of-office replies. Panicked requests for revisions dwindle. Even entreaties to outsource SEO/SEM to India slow to a trickle.
For the agency, the respite can be welcome. But for marketing agency clients, checking out too much or for too long can lead to missed opportunities in the new year.
Here's the usual scenario: Everybody comes back (perhaps, slightly hung over) after January 1 and starts to think about the marketing challenges of the new year. But the world has changed – digital has surpassed traditional, Google's changed its algorithm, Amazon Prime has beaten Netflix – and strategies must change, too. Data is gathered, studies are started, and a marketing retreat is scheduled for the end of January. It's a great session, and the participants emerge ready to implement their 60-day action plans. Which turn into 120-day action plans. Finally, in late spring, it's time to call in the agency. But by the time the agency can gear up, it's summer — a bad time to implement a campaign. So with luck, the client is finally in the market by mid-September.
Consider how much better would it be if we could hit the ground running in the new year. What if the research was done? The analyses complete? The plans ready for implementation as soon as the holiday lights are taken down?
I'm not advocating a Scrooge-like approach. On the other hand, the relative peace that comes over marketing departments and their agencies from Thanksgiving through MLK Day can be a great facilitator of thoughtful strategy and fresh creative approaches.
Think of it a little bit like an auto racer preparing for a turn. The professional will "look into the turn," slow down, get in position, and then be ready to accelerate rapidly around the curve. The amateur will suddenly floor it, spin out, and have to spend a great deal of time and effort getting back on the track.
Want to start 2017 in high gear? Talk to your agency about what can be done before the ball drops. Think about a planning, brainstorming, or education session early in December – it's a great time to come in in jeans, share some holiday libations, and deck the halls with Post-It-Notes covered with great ideas.
Thank you for reading! And Happy Thanksgiving to all of our clients, staff, and friends at PCI. It's been a great year, and we're looking forward to helping you have a great 2017.
Need help brainstorming new ideas for 2017? Leave your questions in the comments below or contact our team directly.