The holiday season starts early for marketers. Agencies shift into planning mode soon after Labour Day weekend. Downtown business associations, chambers of commerce, and radio and TV stations craft Christmas promotions long before the fall leaves turn. And retailers order merchandise months before customers are thinking about shopping lists.
It can all be a recipe for Christmas burnout.
Here are a few ways to avoid becoming the Grinch.
Plan early & prioritize - Early planning can feel like we’re leapfrogging ahead to the Christmas season, but having as many details taken care of ahead of time pays off when the schedule speeds up. Attaching priorities to tasks when you’re able to be objective can allow you to quickly make decisions down the road if something has to give.
Be realistic - The early stages of planning can be and should be full of inspiration and aspiration. Let the ideas flow! Then, go back and be realistic about the risk and reward of each element and what you and your team can execute without adding unnecessary stress or burnout. Perhaps you’ll decide every piece of the plan stays, but it’s worth the pause to consider if they should.
Expect a few surprises - Expect the unexpected and control what you can. Even the most meticulous planning can’t guarantee there won’t be a few bumpy spots. Head into the season knowing this, and you’ll be less likely to get rattled by any surprises.
Automate - Letting technology do some of the lifting means less for you to manage when you’re at your busiest. Schedule social media posts and digital ads, so you can stay in your customers’ feeds during this important time without having to post everyday.
Balance - Do your best to fit in some fun. It’s common for cynicism or even a bit of dread to creep in, but including some of the magic of the season can help sustain your spirits and make it feel at least a little bit festive.
Communicate - Keep your team on the same page with communication that’s crystal clear. Track the status of tasks, put updates on shifts or events in a central place that everyone can refer to, and be sure to mark the milestones.
Celebrate the wins - You pulled off that big event, your team overcame a hurdle, you broke last year’s record, or an employee masterfully handled a Grinch-y customer… Watch for chances to celebrate the wins and boost morale.
Post-mortem - By the time the glitter dust has settled, it’s tempting to leave it all in the rearview. But it’s worth taking a look back. What went perfectly, what would you do differently, and what will you definitely do again? Whether it’s a full-blown report or just some notes for yourself, record some details to refer to when planning comes around again.
Have a happy holiday season from all of us at Pattison Media, and here’s to not losing the Christmas cheer.