Back on the second business day in January, I overheard a conversation between two accounting people about how deserted the office was during the holidays. The line that resonated was “there certainly weren’t any marketing people in the office!” Ouch! That is made even worse when I tell you that earlier that day, I had a conversation with one of those two accounting people, and he said he hadn’t been in the office since December 19th! Why dis marketing people for taking a short break and working from home, too?
The real reason I noticed the exchange is because back in December the message from the top was clear and consistent: “thank you for 2016,” “go enjoy your family,” or “get recharged.” I found it refreshing to work with a client who encouraged the collective “deep breath” or “short break.” Not only did marketing slow during the last week in December, executive management was off, too. I noticed it was the same for many marketing functions and marketing-driven organizations. And it made me ask about the value of this short break.
Marketing tends to go strong all year-long with only small seasonal breaks, usually lined up with when their target segment is enjoying a break. For example, the small business segment tends to be a bit slower in the late summer and then return strong In September, keeping the momentum going through Thanksgiving and the holidays until finally taking a break in the last few weeks of December. Another example is with high-end consumer where Q4 is so critical to full-year revenues. The push begins in October (sometimes earlier) and runs right up to the third week in December. Notice the pattern? That’s right. December provides a natural break which marketers can use to recharge.
How to Leverage the Short Break
Need another reason? People grow tired of seeing the same message or a slight variation of the same message from a company. It happens online, in print, and on television. Ad fatigue is not just for political messages. For example: how many times can you see the TV ads with the Statue of Liberty in the background and not hit mute? I don’t mean that it’s not memorable, because it is, and everyone recognizes the ad as belonging to Liberty Mutual. But maybe we could see the statue from a different angle sometime? A different perspective can be refreshing. And it’s hard to get it when sitting in an office with like-minded people pushing hard toward goals all year long. Sure, you have a few creative variations and perhaps switch up the product being offered? But c’mon, it’s hard to think differently when everything is the same. That’s the benefit of a short break in December.
Now it’s January and marketers everywhere are deep into campaigns and initiatives. The next time you take a breather in your marketing cycle, I encourage you to think back to your last break. And dust-off that perspective you gained to pursue the ideas that came from thinking a little differently.