Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

As the New Year approaches it’s time to begin thinking about New Year’s resolutions, which might also be referred to as “strategic planning” — although those words tend to strike fear into the hearts of even the most focused of business professionals. I don’t know why, but I’m coming to accept it as a given. One of my resolutions for the New Year is to come up with a way of making planning less intimidating. “Good luck” say my business colleagues. But, I digress…

As you look forward to 2013, what are the fundamental issues that most impact your organization? What are the opportunities you hope to take advantage of? What are the challenges you hope to overcome?  Here are a few tips to get you started:

  • Develop a plan for 2013 and commit it to writing. It doesn’t have to be a “fancy” or elaborate plan, but it’s important for businesses of any size to take the time to clarify their mission/vision/values, identify goals and measurable objectives, evaluate the internal/external environment, development strategies and tactics designed to leverage strengths and opportunities and overcome threats and weaknesses, and establish metrics to monitor success. Yes, I’m a strong proponent of strategy (hence the name of my company!) and the author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Strategic Planning (Penguin, 2011). I’ve also compiled a list of dozens of strategic planning tips that can help at every stage of the process.
  • Make a commitment to be “they” vs. “we” oriented in 2013–one of the most common communication missteps I see. It’s easy for businesses to think they know all there is to know about their patients/customers or potential patients/customers and to base decisions on their own (often flawed or misinformed!) perspectives. It’s not about “helping your customers understand your value proposition” as one client suggested to me several years ago. Frankly, they don’t care about your value proposition–they care about what’s in it for them. Deliver that and you’ll achieve success in 2013.
  • Measure, measure, measure and don’t waste time doing things that don’t generate results. Social media activities often (but not always) fall into this bucket. The things that are going to make a difference for your company will likely be different than the things that will make a difference for another company — even a company that is a competitor. Make sure you know what it is you’re intending to achieve through your social media efforts, understand the cost (which includes time) and if you’re not producing measurable outcomes, stop. The same is true of any advertising/communication effort you’re using — don’t do things just because the competition does them or because you “think” they make sense. Measure!

Those are my top 3 – what are yours?

Here’s to a happy and successful 2013!

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