The holiday season is a time when many agencies shut down operations entirely. This is okay after a year of hard work, but it is also not necessary if you plan with precision.
An agile agency can gain a unique advantage in this period. By scheduling staff leave and holidays throughout the year, and maintaining an open office over the holiday period, your agency can not only finish the season strong, but lay the foundation for a successful year ahead.
At the end of the calendar year, many campaigns have come and gone, and any holiday-specific ventures have usually been devised and finalized well before the season begins. It’s understandable that many agencies take a break during this time, but in doing so you’ll miss out on several advantages:
- The chance to gain an edge over competitors who do stop operating during the holidays.
- Opportunities for high impact impact on social media, as other agencies wind down their own marketing.
- A reputation in the industry for being accessible year-round.
- Business from those who might otherwise have turned to alternative agencies, or from countries that don’t observe the same holidays.
Ultimately, running an ad agency is a lot like running a marathon. Ongoing momentum is best for maintaining long term growth and keeping your team focused.
Just like holiday shopping or New Year’s Eve plans, preparing for your agency’s operations over the season is best done well beforehand. To get the most out of this time period, it is also important to plan not only how your agency will operate, but what specific work it will focus on.
Plan a Staff Roster Ahead of Time
Nobody likes being asked to work at the last minute, especially over holidays. To ensure that some of your staff will be available, arrange a roster and look to assign staff to work during the holiday season at the start of the year. If you find few takers, consider adding an extra incentive, such as extra days of paid leave for staff members who work over the holidays.
However you do it, it’s important to seek volunteers, rather than railroad team members into working over the holidays. This process ensures that you’ll have staff who are happy to work at that time, rather than resentful of it. The goal is to make sure, as soon as possible, that your team members’ leave will be spread out during the year rather than clustered into a few weeks at the end.
Consider How to Use the Extra Time
Retailers may be open for business during the holidays, but few agencies will, which means you have an advantage.
Once you have a roster sorted out for the holidays, you can then turn your attention to strategy. Your efforts during the holiday season will depend on your goals, but most agencies can benefit from focusing on three key areas:
- Maintaining current business operations as normal.
- Finishing any existing work from the current year.
- Building a strong foundation for the year ahead.
Together, these elements are a smart way to maximize your team’s output over the holidays. Be mindful that many current and prospective clients will be closed down for a time, so targeting new business in this period should be a mid-level priority at best.
Instead, take this time to complete outstanding work, and prepare for the campaigns that will launch in the new year. Of course, you may also choose to run holiday-specific marketing campaigns, which can be quite effective if planned out carefully in advance.
Remind Clients You’re Open for Business
Along with making in-house preparations for the holiday period, direct engagement with your clients beforehand is important. You’ll want them to know what your plans are, and what your availability will be. This process can be quick and brief, since a simple email or shared social media post can often suffice.
Be sure to do this multiple times (for example, at 3 months, 2 months, and 1 month out from the holiday season) to ensure that your message is received. Let clients know you’ll be operating over the holidays, and that your agency will have “emergency staff” on hand in case they encounter any issues in their own holiday campaigns.
You may also want to target prospective clients and communicate what services you can provide, especially those that could benefit from a strong holiday campaign, such as retailers, restaurants, and tourism-based companies.
Create a Holiday-Specific Campaign
Operating over the holiday period is worthwhile for a number of reasons, not the least is that it offers your agency a unique selling point. Taking advantage of this fact and building an in-house campaign for use during the holidays is a must.
Be sure to formulate a campaign that emphasizes your agency’s availability during this period, and is in tune with the holiday season. Try to keep your campaign light and fun, favoring bright colours, fun infographics, and a bit of comedy across social media.
Of course, keep in mind that there may still be some other agencies marketing in this space. Look to assess their campaigns, to see how you can differentiate your style and offerings during this crucial season.
Refine Your Strategy
Once you have successfully implemented your holiday strategy, it is important to build on it for the next year. After all, being an agile agency requires constant growth and improvement.
Once the holiday season has passed, take some time to reflect on your operations and targeted campaigns. Consider what worked well, and isolate any problem areas to improve on the next time around.
Beyond just this one season, you can also look to engage your staff by building a culture that recognises an agile agency is at its best operating with an “open 365 days a year” mindset. Like a marathon runner, rather than relying on short bursts of energy and exertion from one campaign to another, a focus on consistent, steady momentum throughout the year brings greater success.
Being an agile agency requires you to not only think flexibly, but operate that way too. A smart method for doing this is to maintain an open office over the holiday season. This can create challenges, so making a plan ahead of time is a must. When done well, this effort can provide you with an advantage in a competitive market, and is a terrific way to stand out.
Do you have any questions about how to keep your agency open and active over the holiday season? Ask us on Twitter!