Why not set aside a budget to test new ways of connecting your brand or your service with your consumers? Build a learning plan with these initiatives and explain to everyone that these plan elements are not to be touched by budget-cuts (so make sure the budgets are small so they “don’t matter”).
Why not invite a couple of start-ups to your next innovation session? Have them sit in on your discussions and strategy meetings and then have them share with you how they would execute some of the ideas you come up with.
Why not imagine a world where your product or service has become useless, or worth half of what it is today? Could it happen? What should you do to prevent it from happening?
Why not invest in a completely reimagined way of measuring the impact of your budget? An ROI re-boot. Or if that is too radical, why not commit to adding at least three new data points to your measurement suite?
While you are at it, why not commit to a data driven model, and plan for sales, IT, PR and brand teams to pool their data in a smart model?
Why not ask for more budget while promising more in return (more market share, sign-ups, buyers, store visits, etc.). You are always complaining your budget is not enough, so be daring and ask for more but with a positive return. More for more!
Why not decide to only place digital media that actually reaches people (mostly…). This could fit with your “more for more” strategy: pay a little more and reduce the risk of bots and other fraudulent views.
Why not ask your team for productivity ideas? Where could you find money, or – more importantly – time to do things better, and with a focus on results?
Why not buy your way to “new and better"? Which companies, brands, services, start-ups or people have been annoyingly successful, and could you buy them? Partner with them? What would it take in money? Can you afford it? After all, if you can’t beat them, buy them!
If you can’t buy them, why not invest in a thorough analysis of them? Set up a team to mirror their every move? What kind of people work for them? Where are they placing their bets? How can you be more like them? Or are they trying to be like you, and how can you ensure you stay ahead?
Why not re-think your rewards program for your employees? How long ago was it that you took a look at how you incentivize and motivate the people that work for you? Are you sure that the millennial workforce is energized by the awards and perks you have in place?
The same might be true for your agency eco-system. When was the last time you wrote down what you consider to be the must-haves from your agency, and are those items in your agency contracts? Are your agencies incentivized against those must-have’s?
So many opportunities to get ahead in 2017, and probably so little time. But I would say: even if you deliver only three, by the end of 2017 you’ll have made progress versus 2016. Good luck!