I know – silly question, because the answer is “It depends:” on whether you’re an agency or in-house SEM, whether you’re an e-commerce retailer or a B to B organization, and pretty much a bunch of other variables too numerous to list. All that said, it’s interesting to look at the variations.
For me, it seems like the busiest months are August and December. August is when summer travel season meets the back-to-school frenzy. Our travel & tourism clients are trying to squeeze every bit of ROI out of their campaigns, and many e-retailers are just getting geared up after a quiet summer. It’s a challenging time personally, as well – it seems like my family ends up taking our vacation in August every year, despite saying every year that we need to do it earlier; and of course my kids are getting ready to head back to school. I’ve said for years that someday, I’m going to take the entire month of August off, just so I can get everything done and enjoy some of the summer. Hasn’t happened yet, but I’m optimistic. (grin)
December, of course, is when the holiday craziness reaches its peak. In the e-commerce world, you have Cyber Monday and Christmas Eve and all the other big December online sales days. But even if you’re not an e-commerce business, December is busy – you’re doing end-of-year budget wrap-up and finishing next year’s budget; and in general evaluating what you’ve done and what you want to do. As an agency, this means we’re really busy with meetings, budget reviews, planning and strategy sessions, and the like – not only for our business, but for our clients as well.
On top of that, we have SES Chicago in December. I’ve only missed one SES Chicago since I first attended in 2003, and it’s a must-attend for SEMs in the Midwest. However, the timing is terrible – it’s a crazy-busy time of year, both personally and professionally. At the show, I find myself getting up super early to check email and do a little “real work” in my hotel room before the sessions get going for the day, and I don’t get to bed all that early at night due to all the great networking at SES and all the fun Chicago has to offer. And it’s not easy to enjoy Chicago when it’s 20 degrees and snowing out – although being a Michigander, I’m used to that! Then I get back from the show, and I’m thrust into the holiday nuts at home – parties to attend (and host), gifts to buy, food to fix, decorations to put up…. oh my.
I suppose if I were a 20-something single, August and December might not be as frenetic. But almost everyone celebrates some kind of holiday in December, and year-end planning isn’t holiday-related, so it’s still a crazy month across the board.
What’s your busiest month as an SEM?