In a flash, the flurry of gifts, wrapping paper, New Year’s festivities, and the “brand-new-year glow” was over. Now that the distractions of the holidays are behind us, business professionals know it’s time to get back to business and down to brass tacks. Just like the media does “year in review” segments, your business should too. Was your 2013 great? Was it everything you expected? Could it have been better? What does 2014 have in store for your business; and better yet, how do you determine the path to follow for greater success? The following are some “Plotting Your Marketing for 2014” tips to help point your marketing efforts in the right direction.
Thumbs Up? Or Thumbs Down: As you look at your overall marketing strategy from the past year note these things:
- What worked?
- What didn’t?
- What came close to hitting the mark, but didn’t quite reach your anticipated results?
- What do you wish you would have done differently?
Giving your events, strategies, processes, and tactics a “yay” or “nay” will help determine the direction your marketing should head in 2014.
Work SMARTER, not Harder: First seen in an article in the November 1981 issue of Management Review written by George T. Doran, the “S.M.A.R.T.” formula was used as a “way to write management’s goals and objectives.” This acronym and formula has also become a useful template for creating marketing and business goals as well. The S.M.A.R.T acronym encourages users to create goals that are; Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound. (Wikipedia), and using this formula can act as a system of checks and balances when determining what to try in the New Year. Setting goals for your business is a skill, and the beauty of the S.M.A.R.T template is that it helps define goals and think things through before implementation.
When in Rome…: Sometimes the best thing you can do to determine your path for the new year is see what worked for others. This could include reading case studies from businesses in your industry or eyeballing what your competition was up to as well. There’s definite benefit to examining what the competition did right and what they did wrong, and tools like Rivaliq.com or ZuumSocial.com make the tracking process easier.
Plot Your Course: “Editorial Calendar” is something we hear a lot about lately, but it’s not just a trendy catch phrase. Editorial Calendars are a great way to plan your marketing campaigns and other promotional activities 6 months, or even 12 months out for a bird’s eye view to where you are going and what needs to be done. Editorial calendars can take the form of online versions like WordPress Plugin or a Google Excel spreadsheet, or offline versions like a simple year-at-a-glance wall calendar.
Form A Plan of Action: Goals and strategies look pretty on paper, but aren’t worth the ink they are written with if no action is ever taken to implement them. Once you have a clear view of your marketing goals and direction, it’s time to form a plan of attack to get the ball rolling. Having weekly meetings with staff or contractors to assign tasks, brainstorm and follow up on the progress will keep your intentions in line and moving forward. Implement tools like SocialBakers, Google Analytics and CrowdBooster to help track social media efforts and results as well.
The time you spend examining your past efforts will help your business hit the ground running in the New Year and propel you and your business forward to success in 2014.