+ Point of view

Now is the time to review what worked and change things up for a bright future

Written by Paul Maher

The tech events season in Europe is nearly over for the year. Positive has just completed its support of the most successful Big Data London event yet. B2B tech firms are now closing their most important sales quarters of the year, making now the perfect time to review what has worked and change things up for a bright future.

Together with our growing list of clients we are busy designing and building out next year’s killer campaigns to drive revenues and customer satisfaction. In an always-on world, it is easy to put off reviewing your marketing arrangements until the New Year, which is too late. Accelerating ahead of the crowd is easier when everyone else is slowing down – well before Year End.

For European marketing leaders, now is the perfect time to review what has happened and plan what is to come, before hanging stockings and enjoying the craic and crackers. There are at least 10 reasons to do this now. Half are business-driven, the others more subtle, rooted in the fact that marketing is still mostly performed by humans not robots.

Business reason – The Year End Budget Shuffle

After a year of scrimping and saving, agonizing over huge Gartner fees one month and postponing ad campaigns another, it’s time to see what’s in the kitty. What did not get spent may need spending, or could be lost next time. Why not spend it on building for next years’ success?

Human Reason – The European Marketing Planning calendar

We’ve lost count of the number of US clients genuinely surprised when their neatly calendared plans do not work in Europe. Every year this catches the inexperienced out. Supposedly internationally teams forget Europe has fewer ‘working days’, if no less to do. Christmas and New Year delay the start of the year, Easter holidays move around inconveniently, and from there it is no time to the summer holidays/Grand Vacances. Avoid rescheduling with smart EMEA calendering.

Business reason – The Final Reckoning

Too busy executing to stand back and review what was achieved? End of Year reports reconciled across all tactics will tell if your integrated marketing was actually integrated. What were the highs and lows? What expected results were missed?`

Human Reason – Look outside the window

In Northern Europe winter reduces the appeal of being outside. Dark commutes and less venturing out are the ideal time for introspection. With less al fresco distractions reviewing cold hard numbers from a warm snug office can be a relief. Annualised results in PR Sentiment, Message Testing or Web Analytics looked at in this weak light may uncover the seeds of future success.

Business reason – Sales Scapegoating

While Marketing tallys results and budgets, their ‘Revenue Team’ siblings in Sales are looking at their bonus cheques. Their final Quarterly Business Review can be brutal. Always a fractious relationship, some bag carriers, who did not ‘make their number’, will be looking for scapegoats. Directly tracking marketing activity to leads is your friend here, even top-of-funnel activities like PR and Social.

Human Reason – The Season of Giving

Gift-giving is at its height at this time of year. Diwali and Thanksgiving are followed by Hanukkah and Christmas. The traditional receiving and giving gifts naturally uplifts many. New retail categories emerge as seasonal best-sellers, as B2C vendors develop and launch new categories. This makes a New Year the ideal time to launch new takes on B2B Categories, as we plan to with our clients. Watch this space.

Business reason – Brrrr…..Brexit

As the thermometer drops, business optimism about European unity is cooling too. Whatever the eventual result, Brexit-related issues such as hiring EU residents and exchange rate movements are clearly concerning some in the industry. Not all will affect B2B Tech and some may even present opportunities to sell differently, at a better price or with fewer EU restrictions.

Human Reason –  Working it when you’re not working

Customers recommit to abstinence and healthier options in the new year. Offering time and money-saving offers appeals more now than in the height of Summer’s plentifulness. Tweaking your best assets, inexpensively when marketing teams are quiet and digitally promoting them now on slender budget, can actually bring better results than during hectic months.

Business reason – The Regulators are coming

After a great Bull Run, which meant tech stocks were in every personal investor’s portfolios, the winter may be coming. In Europe, moves on regulations and taxation, like the proposed EU and UK Digital Services Tax, DST, and on changes to Data Privacy are challenges, but also opportunities for B2B marketers. They know every issue offers a chance to offer a solution.

Human Reason – Happy families and holidays content

Year ends may well be all about family, but they also offer opportunities to get ahead of the start of the new year. An enforced break allows time for reflection and catching up on industry developments for marketing pros. It does the same for their customers. All of those podcasts, TED Talks, and eBooks you struggled to get to are now fair game when the delights of unavoidable relatives fades.