As the saying goes, fail to prepare and prepare to fail.
As one business year comes to an end, a new one is about to begin. To know whether your business is moving in the right direction you must measure department performance, check company profits, and create business goals.
Creating business goals helps to steer your business in the right direction, and also gives your employees set targets to reach throughout the year.
In this article, I’m going to discuss how you should create your 2017 marketing goals.
1. Analyze Your 2016 Performance
Data is a wonderful thing in business.
It can reveal your biggest wins and losses, and can provide you with crucial data to ensure your wins get bigger and your losses get smaller.
Ask yourself the following questions:
- Which marketing channel provided the lowest customer acquisition cost?
- Which is your highest quality traffic source (view Google Analytics)?
- Which marketing channel provided you with the highest/low lead generation rate?
- What is your organic visitor count today compared to January 1st, 2016?
- What has been your most successful piece of content by platform?
Liaise with your team and gain feedback on how they think your business’ marketing went in 2016.
Did they have a hard time with branding because of the lack of content your business produced, or did they swing and miss with PPC because of the lack of data they had on customers to create targeted audiences?
They have been fighting in the marketing trenches all year; they’ll be full of ideas and strategies for 2017.
2. Set & Reverse Your Goal Strategy
Setting your business goals for the New Year can seem obvious at first. “I want to make more money.” Sure. We all do. But, what does that mean for you and your business?
In general, a company has the goal of growth – to generate more sales and to win more customers in 2017. While that’s all fine and dandy, you will need to reverse analyze your goals in order to determine your complete 2017 strategy.
To properly set goals for your business and easily determine your 2017 strategy: First, have each department head do their part. Every department should set a theme or what I like to call a one-word resolution for the New Year. If you’re the head of marketing, perhaps your theme for the year will be: Engagement.
If you’re the head of Sales, perhaps your theme for the year will be Retention.
Get my drift?
From here, department heads will want to work with their Managers and Team Leads to determine only one major project per quarter. Each project should be in the same tone as the annual theme for that department.
Now that we have a theme for the year, and a major project or goal for each quarter, we need to reverse analyze how we reach these milestones and what determines whether or not a goal has been reached.
Reverse analyzing your high-level strategy simply means taking it down to the nitty-gritty and creating a to-do list of how the magic will happen.
For example, if your goal is to generate greater revenue, you may decide to invest more time and money in SEO and social media marketing to get content to people interested in your product or service. If your goal is to increase brand awareness, then aim to receive a certain amount of video views or time spent reading your blog above a certain level.
That’s a great start!
Let each individual team take it one step further and define how you’ll gradually raise budgets in these areas, what to expect from raising budgets, who is responsible for the tasks and follow-through, and when to expect to reach your overall goal.
As a team, go one step further and distinctly list who will be involved with each task and who on the team is in charge of project managing that particular list from start to finish.
For each team, the list is what matters. For the executives and board room, that one-word resolution and deliverables (ya know, that part that determines when you’re finished with a list or project) is what matters.
Get your team to send 30/60/90-day status reports on their progress to ensure your ship isn’t going off course. Oh, and do make sure you communicate your 2017 marketing goals with your team clearly and effectively. One of the core reasons for businesses failing to reach their yearly goals is because employees don’t know what they are!
By engaging in this process company-wide, you’ll be able to determine your 2017 Strategy before January 1 ever hits, rather than getting caught up in a busy new year, without any clear direction, and finding yourself loosely defining team goals somewhere in the middle of March.
As a business owner it’s your responsibility to ensure every member of your team clearly understands your business’s goals for 2017.
3. Have A Fluid Budget & Learn To Allocate Where It Matters
Check your sales revenue for 2016 by each quarter to see if certain months performed better than others.
For example, if you sell consumer goods to the B2C market, Q4 will most likely be your most profitable due to the number of public holidays. In this case it would be wise to allocate the lion’s share of your marketing budget during the final quarter to maximize on sales, as opposed to spending the same each quarter.
Are you in the real estate business? Well, according to Zillow, the best time to sell depends on location.
Using data and last year’s sales, pinpoint the most profitable months and allocate your marketing budget accordingly.
4. Review & Update All Marketing Collateral
A lot can happen in a year. Hashtags that were trending at the start of 2015 are no longer used, or may even be looked down upon by fans if you’re seen using them. Blog posts you’re promoting as top reads may no longer have accurate information. The pages or posts that drive the most traffic to your website, may also need a bit of an update.
Go through the main pages of your sites, your most popular blog posts, marketing collateral, and social media content to make sure everything is up to date!
You’ll notice over the years that brands such as Facebook, Twitter, Uber, etc. are tweaking their logos to remain fresh and innovative. While your brand may not need a full makeover, creating some new web page headers, testing a new email template, or adding in a new color to your branding color scheme are all worth testing.
Do some important semi-annual benchmarking tests. See what your competition and favorite websites are offering in the New Year, and take a look at what sites, emails, and social posts are most engaging to you.
Go over your blog content, social media updates, website design, and offline marketing collateral to see if changes need to be made. With blog content, writing a new blog post with updated stats or how-to information will be a key part of your 2017 content strategy. However, don’t forget to edit your previous blog post and add a link at the top of the page, letting your readers know that a newer post now exists on the same or similar subject. The aim here is to make little adjustments to adapt to business and industry shifts.
The success or failure of your 2017 marketing goals won’t rely on whether you use SEO or PPC to drive traffic, or if you allocate all of your marketing spending on Facebook instead of Twitter.
The key to success in 2017 is to gather data gained from 2016 and make educated decisions for 2017. It’s as simple as that; the more data you have, the more informed you’ll be to make decisions.
Using Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, customer sales orders, and support tickets, and doing active secondary research on your market and competitors, will give you all the tools to create and crush your 2017 business goals.