January, for many, is a time for reflection and new beginnings. It’s the time when people establish their new year’s resolutions, and begin a fresh start in both their professional and personal lives. So it is no surprise that as soon as we hit the 1st of January, Christmas is essentially forgotten about. But should it be?

With the smell of mince pies still very much in the air, we understand that Christmas 2017 is probably the last thing you want to think about, but on a professional level, planning ahead and setting the foundations for this year isn’t a bad idea – particularly if you offer seasonal-specific products or services. With the trends of Christmas 2016 still fresh in your mind, it’s the perfect time to evaluate last year’s campaign and learn from strategies employed by your competition. It will help you get organised for the year ahead. Many people, believe it or not, begin their next year’s Christmas shopping in the January sales so why not apply the same strategy to planning your Christmas marketing campaigns?

Christmas is a hectic time of year and there’s no denying that the lead up to December is a stressful time in many ways. We would recommend you follow these five tips to ensure that you are as prepared as possible:

  1. Keep a record of any popular social media posts and successful PR throughout the year. Make sure you keep a close eye on your competitors and other businesses for ideas and inspiration.
  1. Produce a scrapbook or folder of ideas. If you begin collating ideas and evidence of popular adverts, campaigns and social media content in January, then half of your battle could be won by the end of the month.
  1. Review the trends of 2016 and keep track of the trends of 2017 as they unfold, so that you are ahead of the game by the time December comes along. Producing an advert or campaign is a creative process so the earlier you start looking for inspiration, the better!
  1. Analyse your success. It is a truism that many businesses don’t tend to analyse success. We tend to focus on the things that didn’t go well and work on the aspects that caused the problems, but we never seem to look at what made a successful campaign, promotion or advertisement so successful. Analysing your success is incredibly important because it enables you to discover the things that did work and use these as inspiration for next year.
  1. Set a budget for you marketing activity and establish your target audience so you know what you are working towards.

The beginning of a new year is a good time to get round the table with your colleagues to discuss and establish the strengths and weaknesses of last year’s campaign; think about whether your campaign was too much or not enough; did you overthink it? It is important to focus on the strengths just as much as the weaknesses, because it is equally important to establish the elements which were successful in order to be able to recreate the success in the future.