It's Time to Think About 2016

Katelyn Campbell

With Halloween over, we’re seeing other upcoming major holidays quickly descend upon us. From Christmas countdowns on Facebook, Holiday party invites emails and gift suggestions on Amazon, I’m well aware that December and the end of year is approaching. From a marketing and PR viewpoint, this triggers something bigger to think about for clients — 2016 planning. You may think, “It’s only November!” and be boggled down into Q3 recaps and Q4 planning. However, most budgets for 2016 are being finalized now, before the start of the New Year.  Without the stress of the December rush, today is the perfect time to start thinking about 2016. At PAN, we already have begun.  

Two weeks ago, we had one of our long-term clients in for a brainstorm on enhancing their 2016 marketing program. No idea was too big or too small for the discussion and I was impressed with how many different and unique ideas were developed by our team. Gathering everyone at the table now before the end of year rush brought creativity, calmness and solid ideas to discuss what we could achieve in the upcoming year. Not to mention, we have the time to fully prepare and get ready for 2016.

Image from Mufidah Kassalias used under CC license.

To begin thinking about the upcoming year, I’ve detailed five areas to ensure you’re thinking of your marketing program holistically and adequately planning ahead for the next year:

  • Traditional PR is still a core component of many programs. But as we evolve to a fully integrated marketing communications program for the companies we represent, it’s important to refresh the PR and media relations components as well. Has your company changed messaging or pivoted its business in the past year or 18 months? A media audit would be a great check-in to see how the message is resonating and what work needs to be done in the upcoming year.  Additionally, don’t be afraid to be creative with media campaigns that last the entire year. Your story can be told in many different ways by developing new contacts and changing your story to relate to timely and seasonal topics.
  • Content is King hasn’t gone away. You still see it across the industry with the influx of content requests and companies looking for branded content or launching their own channels for distribution. Last year, we spent Q1 building out content for one client that was repurposed for the entire year into blogs, pitches, contributed articles in leading publications and more. To set up for a successful year, take the time now to plan for the content you want to display in 2016.
  • Everyone has a social and digital presence today (if you don’t, you may have a bigger problem), but have you been able to focus and build programs and campaigns for next year? Now is the time to look at each channel, see how you can improve each one and build your digital campaigns in 2016. Maybe 2016 is the year that you incentivize your team to build a stronger LinkedIn program or develop digital campaigns to include shareable content across channels with direct call to action requests.  
  • As PAN's VP Digital David Saggio mentioned last week, video has become a critical information source for senior executives with 3 out of 4 watching business-related videos at least weekly and more than half viewing them on YouTube and sharing them with their peers. What are your video plans for 2016? How can turn ideas that are bubbling up internally to your external stakeholders? 
  • Lastly, events are still an opportunity to tie in all of your marketing efforts. For this particular client, we had ideas around how to make the user conference bigger and better for next year. What can you start doing now to prepare for the time where you have all your users in one spot together?  I loved combining ideas of reaching out to the community, including starting service programs as part of events and bringing it alive on video and digital. 

While you may still be pumpkin obsessed for the next couple of weeks, don’t get tricked into thinking you have the luxury of time. Marketers who want to get ahead for 2016 need to start thinking about planning now. You’ll be that much closer to treating yourself to success in 2016.

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