You’re just trying to get through these last two short weeks of the year but 2016 is peeking its nose out at you. You have to start thinking about how you’ll tackle your 2016 marketing initiatives, if you haven’t already begun to. I would start by looking at your newly minted yearly roadmap & marketing plan that you’ve created with the sales team, as well as any other stake holders in the organization, and look at your low hanging fruit opportunities as well as your big ticket items.
I know that you’ve also set realistic goals for your initiatives, which tie in to the sales goals…which then tie into the greater business goals, which you’ll be measuring your success against.
But how can you truly plan out your year? And then not only manage your task list, but also execute against it?
I suggest to look at things quarterly, and then monthly.
Step one, in the past, I would divvy things up by month, and then color code by quarter (along the left hand side of an Excel spreadsheet). I would then take this a step further and list out all the various initiatives I needed to tackle (social, PR, advertising, tradeshows, SEO, newsletters, brochures, etc) and at the end have a big ol’ column for the whole year that was titled “Big projects” (along the top rows of my Excel spreadsheet). This way, while focusing on the day to day, I also had the big yearly task list in front of me every time I would open my document.
Step two, I would then share this roadmap with the appropriate parties on a quarterly basis – sales team, PR team, internal stake holders – so that everyone knew exactly what was going on in terms of support from marketing.
But let’s break things down…
Look at the biggest thing(s) you need to accomplish in the first quarter. Is it a new video, brochure, web update, case study/testimonial piece, or tradeshow? What do you need to get going on now to ensure that things go off without a hitch? Who do you need to work with to get the job done? Do you need to involve any outside vendors? Do you need to do any preliminary work prior to handing it off to a vendor? Create a mini task list to keep yourself, and others, on track. Be real about progress and status reports.
Look at what processes need to be improved, created, or reinvented in order to manage through your projects and initiatives.
Look at what you can prep ahead of time. Can you get going on content now? Is there some low hanging fruit that you can tackle right off the bat? Can you look at SEO on your website and improve Google search results before you dive into a big web update project?
Prioritize. Again, be realistic about deadlines, expectations, and commitments. You don’t want something to fall through the cracks simply because you wanted to say “yes” without really thinking through the steps of what it would take to get the project done.
Analyze. Metrics are golden. What you’re doing needs to be done for a reason. What goal does your new content meet? Does it help bring people to the site? Does it help build your search rank? And lastly, as well as most importantly, does doing what you’re doing make sense? Is it worth the time and monetary investment?
Regroup. Don’t step into the following quarter without having had the proper time to evaluate what you’ve done. It’s ok to switch gears for the right reasons, it’s not ok to just assume everything is status quo without making sure that that is indeed the case.
Good luck in 2016!