And just like that 2015 is almost over. Days in the office are starting to become less about ticking off the to-do list and more about cozy breaks with coworkers, sneaking in some ginger cookies and mulled wine using the excuse “It’s Christmas!”
And while we tend to remain blissfully ignorant that time does in fact continue after December, the very thought of campaign planning for next year’s marketing seems painful and is excused by we’ll-take-that-in-January-logic and replaced by Netflix and chill.
But the thing is, this time of year is the perfect time to reflect on your marketing campaigns because unlike the rest of the year, this is when you have something rarely found anywhere else; time.
Time is the holy grail
I think of time in one of two ways during December; the very literal way and the ish kind of literal way (scholarly, I know). The very literal way is literally the amount of time we have in December and (usually) how we have more of it. If you and your coworkers are indulging in a cup of mulled wine or two then chances are your customers are as well. So with less busy customers or clients, you too tend to be a little less busy.
This leaves you open to the second way I think of time: reflection. The stuff we should be doing with the extra time we so rarely get. Both are important for improving your marketing and campaign planning into the new year.
Reflection – what we should be doing with extra time
The reflection process or thinking about what is working and what isn’t working for your marketing is of course something you should be doing throughout the entire year. The difference in December is that you’re doing it in a less busy time which by its very nature, gives you more time to think about it in a more thorough way than is usually allowed.
For me, the end of year is my favorite time to reflect. It helps not having the extra pressure from reporting deadlines that require me to quickly identify what did/didn’t work in any given month and instead gives me the most holistic perspective, allowing me to really dive deeper into why things went wrong and why things went right. And not just the top surface stuff.
For example, a couple of times during the year we missed our traffic goals from new web visitors. The simplest explanation to that was because we didn’t put out enough content across our socials to bring people back to our blog and thus, drive traffic up. But why didn’t we put out enough content? Well, the time slot which I usually used for content creation (around 20% of my week) was being used on relaunch tasks which at the time were priority. I had expected our content output would drop during relaunch so this drop in traffic had been forecasted but nevertheless, reflecting on it now has given me more valuable insight into the core reasons why and to better account for this in future campaign planning – something I don’t think I would have explored as deeply or holistically any other time of year.
Reflection brings wisdom, the crux of better planning
The natural progression of reflection is hindsight – the ability to see what went wrong and what should have been the ideal outcome to problems passed. It’s this thought process that is the really valuable aspect for next year’s marketing and campaign planning.
Jumping back to the example I used above, I had two possible scenarios that would have helped us hit traffic goals in hindsight. The first being that I should have used the 20% dedicated to content creation for actual content creation. The second scenario would have been having an extra set of hands to create content while I worked on launch tasks. Now the first was simply not an option because well, launch tasks would always take priority for obvious reasons. This leaves solution number two, an extra pair of hands, an avenue we’ve now explored and have access to because of this very reflection process…before January has even started!
Write down your reflections and start next year’s campaign planning
Taking the extra time you have in December to reflect and become aware of shortcomings will allow you to better prepare and forecast for next year’s campaigns. To make sure you get them down in time for January, we’ve created a creative brief template which you can download for free below. Enjoy!