I have found that the time between Christmas (or Hanukah) and New Years can be most productive in researching and planning strategies to kick start January! After all the hustle, entertainment, and excuses for not being focused, it is a great time to get away from the holiday mode to get strategic for the new year.
No strategic marketing plan beyond goals for 2019? You are not alone. Most companies have some goals in their business plan which address quantitative measures to reach, but few bring it on down to the strategies which will help them realize the outcomes they want. Just consider digital strategic planning, a strategy which is increasingly being used to build relationships with customers. Most statistics probably look like the Managing Digital Marketing in 2017 produced by Smart Insights: Only 34% of participants said they have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy which is integrated in their overall marketing strategy, and 47% do not have any defined strategy for the digital marketing they are doing. I question whether 2018 will show a significant change.
So, what I think is important to do with those days between holidays, whether you are responsible for marketing in a large enterprise, competing as a small business owner, or simply trying to launch a new business, requires spending a few hours in the following areas:
Think about 2018 accomplishments and failures. Pick five for each. Which are significant in 2019 to either expand or get right?
Research. You don’t know what you don’t know. Read at least one book on your industry, thought leadership, marketing, or workforce and culture. Hold it in your hands, turn down important pages and either underline, highlight or even better create a document of must keep, must do, must think about more. Organize all those emails and documents you kept and haven’t done anything with yet. Review these and apply them to your top accomplishments and failures. Get rid of what doesn’t apply between 2019 and 2020 because the rest will probably never be important, or your work life will change so much that those won’t be relevant.
Bring it on down. I have lived long enough to know that what we practice becomes better and real. Take one strategy and matrix it with why it is important, what tactics must be done, who can help you or take the lead for it, what obstacles do you expect and how to handle them, define timelines, and identify how you are going to measure your outcomes. Notice that I didn’t say a goal, but instead, one strategy. You will be practicing what you should do with all strategies for your goal. Think micro. You will also feel so good about accomplishing something real!
That’s it. Three or four days with three or four hours each day will help you to reboot for 2019! One more thought…share it! The more you communicate, the more likely it will become part of you, that personal brand, which defines who you are and the passion you have to make things happen.
Break a leg (not literally) and pat yourself on the back, however you do that, with something new or time with friends and family or just a little treat!