The time of year has come again. Working in this industry, the chaos of the holidays is amplified in the crossroads of your personal and professional life. You’re currently recovering from tryptophan overdoses, Black Friday stampedes, and last minute Cyber Monday creative rotations but, it’s not over yet. If you’re not well prepared, it’s easy to let things slip through the cracks.
Enter the Digital Marketer’s Guide to Surviving Holiday – a short and easy list to make sure all your boxes are checked, literally. It’s not rocket science, but this list can ensure you are crossing your t’s and dotting your i’s in the fast paced, sometimes overwhelming, environment filled with last minute client requests and quick turnaround deadlines that we as digital marketers call, Holiday.
1. Regularly Update Your To Do List and Actively Take Notes
Santa makes a list and checks it twice, but do you? With last minute client requests, additional holiday related campaigns, incremental budget pushes, etc. it is important to stay ahead of the workload. Taking notes in every call and meeting leaves opportunity to look back on things that you may not recall otherwise. It informs your To Do list and allows you to check yourself to ensure you are staying current with all the remaining items you need to finish.
2. Pacing schedules
While not the sexiest task in the world, pacing schedules are important to have; especially during this time of year. Excel is your friend, utilize it. Have columns that take into account your overall monthly budget, media spend to date (that you will constantly refresh) and remaining budget with percentages allocated to certain flight dates. Be sure to take into account any date ranges where the client may want to push, such as last day to ship deadlines or sale dates, as well as any dates they would want to pull back – perhaps Christmas Day.
3. Team Communication and Scheduling
Setting up a skeleton schedule on holiday days, where the office may be closed, and over the weekends ensures there are eyeballs on campaigns at all times.Best practice: Have some people check campaigns in the mornings and others check in the afternoons. Work around when teammates are traveling or have family plans to make sure nothing slips through the cracks.
A quick checklist of the below will ensure your campaigns are running smoothly and efficiently:
Emails – any urgent or SOS emails will be marked as high importance or noted in the subject line. Be sure to read anything from your clients first, then vendors, then internal communication to make sure you’re catching the most important notes first.
Pacing – pacing schedules should be made at the beginning of the month. It’s important to make sure you are on pace to spend in full by the end of the month so no revenue is lost for your client. If you are over or underpacing, making those optimizations early in the morning will help correct any issues ahead of when it would become problematic.
Pixel fires – if you’re running retargeting campaigns, make sure to check pixel fires in case anything may have dropped off
Creative rotations – setting up and scheduling creative rotations ahead of time makes for easy transitions on the holiday days. Be sure to stay proactive and schedule rotations as far in advance as possible.
Slack, Gchat, Text, Email, whatever your preference, make sure you utilize the tools you have at your fingertips to effectively and frequently communicate the status of your campaigns. Optimizations, strategy discussions, pacing, etc. can all be easily shared within any of these platforms.
4. External Communication
During this time, it’s important to have a means to contact your clients and vendors should anything happen during the days where most offices are closed. In your skeleton schedule, be sure to add a tab for vendor contacts. Whether this is emergency aliases or phone numbers, it will come in handy should anything “hit the fan.” Client contacts should not be used unless extremely necessary. Always give out your info to them, yes that means giving your client your cell number, but try and exhaust all means necessary before contacting your client on their personal time. This may seem like common sense, but you’d be surprised. Golden rule: Always, always, always come to your client with a solution if you are delivering bad news. Figure out everything for them and have a plan of attack in place before informing them of any mishap. That is the reason they hired the agency; to stress over the little things for them.
5. Enjoy it!
Holiday is the greatest time of the year. If you’re a Christmas lover like me, you count down the days to when Santa and Rudolf come to town. It may be stressful and overwhelming, but be sure to take the time to enjoy the little things. Take a 5 minute break and dig into the mountains of chocolate and snacks that inevitably end up on your desk. Be sure to show your appreciation to your coworkers and vendors who lend a helping hand during this time – even a quick note of thanks will move miles. And of course, be sure to spend time with your loved ones. Work will always be there and there will always be something to do, but keep yourself in check and make sure to close your laptop and spend time with your family and friends, especially if you don’t get to see them often.