ArticlesBits & Bobs

Annus Horribilis

By in Articles, Bits & Bobs

2016 has truly been a year of disaster and misfortune; a real Annus Horribilis. Her Majesty thought she had endured a bad year in 1992, but for the things I care about it is 2016 that gets my middle finger raised to it.

My major heartaches have largely revolved around the great, great entertainers that we have lost since the year begun. David Bowie was a shocker, and Prince went also. Alan Rickman, Gene Wilder, Caroline Aherne and Ray Tomlinson.

Ray Tomlinson?

He died within 24 hours of Nancy Reagan in March and his passing hardly got any media coverage. He invented email. That’s all…just invented email. Shame he had never appeared on Strictly; he would have got a mention then. Inventing email clearly hasn’t had much impact on the world!

From my own childhood the loss of Ronnie Corbett, Jean Alexander (Hilda Hogden), Paul Daniels and Ed ‘Stewpot’ Stewart were poignant moments.

Brexit, well that is what it is. Let’s get on with life. It offers both opportunity and challenge. I’d rather we taught our children how important democracy is instead of finding ways to cancel a democratic outcome and put our energy instead into ways of exploiting the opportunities.

As for Trump, words fail me. With the passing of Fidel Castro as well it seems like that side of the world is going to be in for a very changeable time.

But what can we learn from 2016?

The main lesson seems to be that bad things happen and people we cherish pass away. We also clearly can’t control what other people do and we have to learn to move and flow with the repercussions or outcomes.

The main learning I am taking into 2017 though is one of hope and enthusiasm. In amongst all the bad things that happened there was an amazing story of a minnow swimming with sharks and defeating them all…

Leicester City won the Premier League.

They were organised. They planned their games and their season perfectly. They weren’t distracted by ‘noise’ and what their opponents were doing. They spent a small amount of money wisely. They took the best practice from some other teams and learned from any mistakes they made. They kept their heads while all around them were losing theirs.

Any business in the nursery or gifts industry can have a Leicester year in 2017. The small family-run gift store can compete with the John Lewis on its doorstep. British baby product brands can continue to make gains and in-roads internationally and trade punches with global giants. Babies keep being born and parents need products and people need to buy gifts.

Use the Christmas slow-down to get under the skin of your marketing. Write a list of all the things you want to tell people about what you do and how you can help them and underline the ones you haven’t communicated already.

This is the first stage of a Content Gap Analysis. Identifying gaps and holes is always a great starting point for planning new activity for a new year. Think about how you can plug those holes. Then write down WHEN you will do it.

Consider what is on the horizon and how you will react. Prices are going up; that’s what happens in industries that run on dollars when our historically vastly over-valued pound gets caught out. That’s not happening just to you. The universe isn’t picking on you. It’s happening to everyone and it is a reality. Have you got a plan yet for how you will navigate through the changes?

How is that website looking? When did you last run a website MOT?

Retailers…do you still close on a Sunday or offer nothing at all on any day after 5pm through the working week? I recommend you take a drive to your nearest retail park on one of those Sundays and see what’s going on in there. Maybe 2017 is the year to try and change your opening hours to be more symbiotic with modern life. Close on Mondays instead…nobody likes those. Shake it up like Taylor Swift.

I want everyone to do well next year. That is the best response to a year as crappy as this one has been.

Happy New Year…cheers…bottoms up!

If you have any questions about Digital Marketing and how you are or could be using it then please get in touch and we will be happy to chat about it with you. We can even train you up if you want to get started the right way…