From quitting smoking, to planning that exciting road trip across the States, this is clearly peak season for pledging to better ourselves in 2016. But as we continue beyond January with our quest for a healthier and happier life, why not use the opportunity to inject the same energy into our professional sphere? 

From seeing partners and competitors with fresh eyes, to utilising digital in innovative ways, here are AdRoll’s top tips on how to infuse a renewed vitality into 2016.

Starting as you mean to go on with partners

In 1984, the average client-agency relationship lasted 7.2 years, according to a Bedford Group white paper. The study says today, that figure has dwindled to less than three years. 

With a shorter predicted lifespan than ever before, it’s become essential to get the most out of the client-agency bond right now. Whether it’s with your media, digital or creative agency, as with real-life relationships, it’s vital to keep that fire burning, ensuring both parties remain motivated. And after last year’s tsunami of agency reviews, many big name clients, such as Procter & Gamble, Citi and L’Oréal, will be moving away from the status quo and laying out a new world order, starting now.

Things to consider in this area include:

  • Have you given your agency a thorough and inspiring brief? The Incorporated Society of British Advertisers says the best briefs state clearly what the business needs to achieve or what success looks like. They tackle the business’s problems – for instance, understanding why customers prefer rival products. However, the advertising body argues the key motivator is enthusiasm from the client every time.
  • Share more, collaborate and trust. In AdRoll’s media agencies report ‘Welcome to the Era of Mad Tech’ trust was exposed as an issue of concern between agencies and their ad tech partners. The report’s primary call to action was that agencies and their partners must be more transparent with one another and collaborate more. To build a powerful bond, all lines of communication must be open and honest. Approaching your partner as just another vendor hinders the collaboration and disrupts the synergy. Create an environment of camaraderie and teamwork to get the best out of them. Tell them your likes and dislikes – but let them know when something doesn’t work – and move on.
  • Do you need to reassess priorities, such as your target audience? Your agency or other partners could give you a fresh and unbiased opinion on new ways to approach things, if you let them.  

Competitor ‘SWOT’ analysis

Do you know exactly what your competitors’ strengths, weaknesses, other opportunities or threats are? When you are analysing your own strategy, it can be easy to become obsessed with just your product and branding execution. But take the time to look outside of your own bubble and make sure you are clued up on exactly what is going on in your industry, taking stock of how your competitive landscape is set to change this year.  Investing efforts in this now could pay off well into the future.

For this, you should assess the following:

  • Which competitors pose the greatest threat and which new entrants need to be profiled?
  • Are there competitors in other countries that are relevant to your analysis? Insight from other markets could be useful, as well as trends for the year. Can you anticipate those which your competitors might embrace?
  • What are their corporate and marketing objectives?
  • What is their corporate strategy? Their marketing strategy? Their market position?
  • What are they likely to be spending and what will their next big marketing move be?

Continue to track competitors using media intelligence, sign up to their newsletters and make sure you know where and when they are speaking. Use your findings to help plan and execute your own creative strategy.

For example, Aldi proved its business nous, cleverly capitalising on John Lewis’s #ManOnTheMoon Christmas ad. The budget retailer poked fun at the department store by quickly producing a spoof take on the heart-warming commercial, sending its own pensioner into outer space. Aldi’s grey-haired OAP had a much cheaper telescope, used to spy on its own character, ‘gin-loving granny’ Jean. The ad was a massive hit with customers and celebrities tweeting about it, leading to national column inches. How can you be creative using your competitors’ success?

Embracing new tactics 

After elevating the energy in your business relationships, another move to consider is which new tactics and tools can be added to your marketing armoury that you haven’t utilised before. For example, this year two key digital trends – according to our survey – will be moment marketing and an increase of in-app sales. 

Be brave and seize the moment with data

EMarketer says 67% of UK digital marketers are expected to increase spend on moment marketing this year.  Put simply, this stratagem is the ability to instantly connect your online advertising to what’s going on in the offline world. Digital campaigns can be synced to a wide range of offline events, like a change in the weather, the score of a football match, or the screening of a major TV ad campaign.

Your first step should be to understand what micro-moments are happening where you could possibly be present and use data to find out what may drive your audience to these. This could be seizing an opportunity created by a unique moment on social media where your brand has the chance to answer questions, provide commentary, or be humourous.

Drive app downloads with a tight cross-device strategy

Gartner predicts that there will be 268 billion app downloads annually by 2017, with the number of in-app purchases overtaking paid download sales. A well-honed cross-device strategy can help you drive app downloads and use your app as another opportunity to drive engagement and sales. 

Well-targeted ads that let your consumers install the app with a single click can promote app discovery, drive adoption and increase in-app sales. You can target these app install ads to people who have visited your desktop site when they are browsing Facebook and Twitter on their mobile.

It’s easy to keep doing things the way you’ve always done them, but doing this will only ever achieve the same results. This industry is all about doing things better, so by re-engaging your partners in a new, dynamic way and trying fresh tactics, by the end of 2016 – and even sooner – your personal approach to disruption will have paid off.