If you’re like most people, you start out each new year with a fresh perspective, new goals and a positive outlook to get a ton of new goals accomplished. Resolutions are a great thing — they help us re-assess and re-focus our efforts, give us momentum and make us hopeful about the future.
There’s no problem with this, but let’s just be realistic: sticking to ambitious goals, whether personal or professional, is tough.
Every year, marketers adopt the same mindset and apply it to their department or position. “We’ll decrease our average cost per customer acquisition by streamlining our processes.” Or the classic: “Our goal is to increase revenue by 5% this year.” These are great goals, and we should not, I repeat not, stop making goals for ourselves.
But what can marketers do in 2019 to help them get the most out of their efforts? I encourage you to think about the new year not as a list of marketing resolutions, but as a structured, strategic framework of activities. The motto here is this: if we do these activities, bit by bit, we will reach our goals. But we have to have steps established to get there. It has to be clear where we’re headed and how we’ll crush each leg of the journey.
The first step is to make sure that you know your customer, patient, member, stakeholder — your audience. Many people who run businesses or who have been in a particular industry for years assume that they know everything there is to know about the people who buy their stuff. Even if that’s the case, and you’re an audience aficionado, I promise it is never wasted time to do a deep dive on your customer’s journey.
Every six months, take a small sample of your most loyal and least loyal customers. Talk to them. Ask them how they interact with your company. Have them walk you through exactly how they go about making a purchase. Learn more about who they are as a person. What do they enjoy doing? When did they first realize they needed you? Take detailed notes. You may be surprised to learn that your lowest paying customers would turn loyalists if you added an extra stop in the buyer’s journey.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but it’s surprising how many times the little tasks fall through the cracks because of miscommunication about expectations. The little things matter. Doing a little research here, writing a little blog there or making that quick phone call can make the difference between brand stasis and growth.
Establish who on your team will do what, how often, by what date and assign a KPI to the various tasks. Check in bi-weekly or monthly to see how quarterly goals are coming along. Incentivize your team to achieve small victories over time, and your department will reach its bigger goals. It’s all about setting up a system built on clear direction and tangible accountability.
Nothing is set in stone. As much as we want to set it and forget it, when it comes to marketing a brand, you and your team have to be flexible and adaptable. Not only in staying current with trends and technology, but also pivoting based on your market, competition, internal shifts, employee changes, new discoveries, updated products, etc.
A strong marketing department takes a hard look in the ol’ mirror regularly to understand what is working and what isn’t. Just because you committed to bringing on a certain number of sponsors for your big event doesn’t mean you can’t adopt a new fundraising strategy when you’re hit with a change in staff or budget cut.
The biggest mistake of a lot of marketers is that we think marketing has a required set of skills that, once obtained, are good for decades. Don’t get romantic about a certain tactic or set of tactics. Is your direct mail campaign producing the results you want? Why do you blog? Is Twitter helping you reach baby boomers who need to put their parents in nursing homes?
Re-assess where you are regularly, and don’t be embarrassed if something isn’t working and it was your idea.
If you’re interested to learn more or would like to connect with us to discuss where you stand in your marketing efforts, shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, leave a comment on social or tweet at us @toucanads.
Toucan is a New Orleans advertising agency.