If your company works to a January-December financial calendar, you are probably knee deep in planning right now. But have you learned from what happened this year, how you went about it, how you motivated your team, how you did or didn’t engage your customers?
There is an old saying ‘if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got’.
If your 2011 is about getting bigger, delivering more, being more efficient, being more creative, being more attentive, protecting and defending what you have, you need to be approaching things in a different way. Here’s some things to get you started.
#1 Think creatively: Take your planning meetings and brainstorms out of the stuffy confines of your boardroom and stage them somewhere else – a shopping centre, a museum, a park – anywhere where there is new and unusual creative stimulii.
#2 Have a campaignable idea: Create a hook on which all marketing activity can be hung, and stick to it for one year. Familiarity pays off. Advertising theory suggests people need to see an ad five times before it registers and stimulates an action.
#3 Be realistic: Shooting for the stars in the current downturn creates unnecessary pressure on your most precious assets – your people. Set achievable targets that are rooted in market insight not a standard 5-10% which can’t be validated.
#4 Know where you’re coming from: Appreciate what made your business successful and stick to it. Sure, there are opportunities to diversify along the way, but the best companies stick to what they’re good at, and deliver it consistently.
#5 Know where you’re going: Document and share company goals with everyone in the organisation, your partners, suppliers, customers and prospects. Writing it down and communicating puts it out there and gives it the best chance of happening. An idea only becomes so once it is shared with others.
#6 Plan for the best case: In an ideal world, where budget is not an issue, what do you want to achieve and how would you achieve it? Scale this back within your resource to ensure your activities align with your business goals and where you are going. Be encouraged that the tactics don’t change even if the tools might.
#7 Think measurement: Attribute marketing investment directly to leads generated by mapping the process through given channels and tools. Digital inevitably works best, but specific landing pages can be set up to support all types of activity.
#8 Getting management buy in. Present your plan passionately to your management team as if it is your own business. Sounds obvious but most employees without a shareholding don’t think like this. Nothing achieves engagement better than passion, commitment and belief.
So, we come back to the burning question. What are you going to do differently next year?