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As the New Year Begins: A Reflection on 2016

2016. I think most people can agree this wasn’t the greatest year we’ve had for the 21st century. Many people were taken from us, from beloved celebrities passing too early to friends and family members in many horrible incidents across the globe. Fights, anger, shootings, war, terror attacks, the presidential election, all of these have left their mark on 2016. The bad news: 2017 might not be much better. The good news: it doesn’t have to be.

2016 wasn’t the greatest year for most people. But it still had it’s bright moments. It brought us some fantastic movies. It was a chance for college students to show what they’re made of as they entered the work force. And it was a chance to start over, even if the next president-elect isn’t who anyone wanted (even those who voted for him). There were still holidays to celebrate with family. There were still new memories, new life, and constants throughout 2016. Many people I know celebrated a new addition to their family. They celebrated the chance to spend time with friends and family throughout the year. Despite the anger, the hardships, and the general negativity towards one another, people still found reasons to get up every morning and keep moving.

But what does this say about 2016 as a whole? There were no doubt some really nasty parts. The year starting off with several beloved celebrity deaths paved the way for heartbreak and mourning. The election primaries finishing with two candidates many didn’t want. ISIS’s grip on Europe slowly building up anger at refugees and hostility between both parties. And Syria’s situation becoming more and more messed up, horrifying, and confusing for those outside of Syria and Syrian civilians. Not much can be immediately thought of when it comes to good things in 2016. But doing a little digging provides a few victories in 2016.

Endangered animals like pandas and tigers are slowly regaining numbers. The money from the ALS Bucket Challenge was used for ALS research, which found the gene responsible for the disease. Leonardo DiCaprio finally won his Oscar (warning: there’s a video). Pokemon Go brought not only the world of Pokemon to life, but also encouraged a lot of people to go outside and interact while playing a virtual game. Harry Potter fans were transported back into the wizarding world with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. And millions of students worldwide entered their last year at university or high school/secondary school before they start the next chapter of their lives. All of this happening with the 12 months that were 2016.

Yeah, 2016 did not look good for a lot of people. Unfortunately, there aren’t high chances that 2017 will be much better. But that doesn’t mean it has to be. The good things that happened last year happened because we decide to make them happen. We decided to put in the effort to help endangered animals. We managed to raise that money, even though it was a few years back, to research the gene for ALS. And we decided to take charge of our lives, enjoy the entertainment given to us, be it Pokemon or Harry Potter, and start preparing for the next chapter in our lives where it takes us. And that’s what the new year is for.

2017 is a new chance. Sure, it’ll be scary. There are opportunities for failure. But so is every year. So instead of getting worried about what the new year might bring, let’s hold strong and not just hope things will get better. Let’s make things better. Here’s to you, 2016. Thanks for preparing us for the road ahead.

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Holiday Marketing in the Digital World

With the holiday season upon us, the need to promote one’s business or product is important. Among all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, companies need to be aware of where their customers are shopping. So how does a company do this in the digital realm?

There are a variety of techniques marketers can use to promote their companies. There are some obvious techniques, but they are still effective and worth using. Just because something is old doesn’t mean it’s unusable. At the same time, some techniques might need to be tweaked to fit the new marketing tools and strategies. So what still works? Obviously, there’s the advertisements on TV and plastered throughout the Internet. But what are ways companies can really use digital marketing during the holiday season? Turns out, there are quite a few.

1: The Giveaway

One of the most well known marketing techniques, for holidays and the rest of the year, is giveaways. Many companies will provide a contest or sweepstakes to win a gift set of products, particularly jewelry, clothes, or makeup. Others who sell entertainment or services might create a giveaway for a discounted or free account/service/package deal from themselves or a different company they’ve partnered with.

2: Video Series

Another way to market during the holidays is doing a video series. This particularly applies to digital service companies providing lectures, books, or other ways of learning to customers. The video series can be used to highlight the holiday season or announce free or discounted lectures or books. Sometimes companies selling products will create a video series specifically for marketing their products during the holidays.

3: Online Discounts

This one is pretty obvious. Many times, companies will offer holiday sales on products or services. This is the most common practice, which isn’t surprising. One of the most persuasive things for customers is getting what they want for cheaper than the original price. Sales are the most popular form of marketing during the holiday. But adding the incentive of online purchases can also boost prices, considering many people now shop online rather than in stores. So online sales often boost the overall sales for a company.

4: Sharing/Following

Some companies market by asking followers to share a post or encouraging new fans to follow their page to get a discount or enter into a giveaway. Some companies simply promote following their pages to continue getting discount codes and notifications when sales occur. It’s an easy way for current customers to keep up with the company, and combined with holiday sales and discounts, can provide an extra marketing boost.

Stepping up marketing strategy during the holidays can really give companies a boost in sales, followers, and performance later in the year. The digital marketing realm offers a lot of other opportunities beyond the traditional means. While not all company can use every the strategies above, just using one can still give companies a boost, especially around the holidays. The holidays are among of the busiest shopping times of the year. With so many current and potential customers shopping and looking at stores in the digital, marketing to these customers is especially important.