The success of your next holiday season depends on how well you review and recap the season that just passed. You can be better prepared for next year by taking studious notes and paying close attention to queues from this year. In fact, you should really start during the season, rather than waiting until it is over. Since the holiday season only comes around once a year, it is hard to prepare a strategy for marketing like you would for month over month sales when everything is fresh in your mind. That is why you should start preparing for next year during and immediately following this year’s busy season. We will share with you some tips about how to easily keep an account of what marketing tactics are working and what isn’t working so that you have a working plan in place throughout the season.
Take Notes During the Season
Rather than waiting until the busy season is over, start taking notes during the season so that you don’t miss out on any of the ideas that might get lost in the hustle and bustle of the busiest season of the year. During the season, if you have ideas about something you should have done, then write them down immediately. Don’t count on remembering them after season is over. Keep a notebook with short notes about what is working and what is not working. If you have an idea of what should have been done to make a marketing plan better, then add that to your notes as well. Keeping this shortlist with you and accessible will be an invaluable tool for your planning strategy year over year for each season. Share this idea and request that all staff members do the same. Don’t just request this from the marketing team either; some of your best insight can come from customer service members. After all, they are the ones dealing with the consumers you are targeting. Keep a close, working relationship with all departments that you think would help you with your list during the season. Most of these tips should be customer-centric ideas since you won’t have statistics or sales reports yet.
After Season Breakdown Meeting Should Be Held Immediately
Your marketing review meeting should take place as soon as possible after the holiday. The longer you wait the more details you and your team might forget. Remember to plan this before everyone goes away on their vacation or takes time off. This is very important because too much (especially the bad things that need improvement) can be forgotten over a few days, let alone weeks after the season concludes. Things you should plan to cover at the meeting include:
- What have you learned this season?
- What did you do wrong and what went right?
- What ideas can you develop based on your notes regarding what worked versus what didn’t work.
- What last minute trends occurred? Were you able to capitalise on them or not? How can you be ready for late emerging trends next year?
- These are also the questions you should share with all vital employees in the necessary departments so that you can direct them what information you want them to be thinking about and looking for all season as well as afterwards.
Specific Areas You Should Highlight and Plan for Next Year
These are six specific areas that you can focus on that will help you develop your strategy for next year. Most of these are for the marketing team and center around reports and analytics.
- Demographics. What are the demographics of your visitors vs. your target audience? Were you on point? If not, make adjustments for next year.
- Keyword research. Compare the terms you use versus the terms your visitors and target audience uses. Learn the terms that your customers and target audience use so that you can build content around that over the next year to be more accurate for next year. Build out content around the keywords and terminology that your customers use rather than industry jargon.
- Conversions. What sources did your conversions come from? Adjust your strategy for next year accordingly. Make sure you are allocating budget to the areas that have the most conversion potential.
- Social Media Marketing. What are your customers saying about you? How can you use that knowledge to help your strategy moving forward? Which channels worked best? What can you apply from those successful channels to your less successful ones?
- Reputation Management and Reviews. Work on messaging and advertising to your customers from this past year to increase reviews on your social channels. Incentivize reviews or social interactions to help boost your reputation and social followers.
- Put as Much as You Can in Place for Next Season. As you know, it Is hard to get things done during the busiest time of the year and planning or getting things in place can take precious time away from the campaign. Therefore, it helps if you can plan and get as much as possible into place before season starts.
Summary and Takeaways for Your Company
Take each of the above pointers step by step. Go through them yourself and then with your team. Once this is finished, you will have a large portion of your working marketing strategic plan for the next year. Mark your calendar for late summer or early fall to review and finalize your marketing plan for that holiday season. You will thank yourself when you have that working plan ready to go and most of your work done for you! Of course, this works for any business’ busy season, it doesn’t have to be the winter holidays, it could be other holidays or seasons where you experience a big jump in sales. Do not leave your ideas in the filing cabinet for the entire year either. You should keep it on hand to keep adding notes as the year goes on, include new ideas and do not forget to add in new trends, new tools, and new platforms that have emerged in the last six months!