New Year’s Goal Setting: 5 Tips for Smart Marketers

One of our most favorite moments of the year looms just ahead. (No, it’s not National Data Nerd Day. Though that would be awesome.) It’s the new year, a time of fresh beginnings and opportunities for new accomplishments.

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as opening up a crisp new notebook or calendar and surveying the unfilled pages ahead, each representing exciting possibilities for success and adventure. If you’re anything like us, we know you can’t wait to start filling those pages up. So we’ll get right to our list of tips for creating killer new year’s marketing goals:

One: Push back on at least one company goal.

Take a fresh look at your company’s goals for the new year or at your overall business strategy. The chances are that there is at least one marketing-related item you wish you could modify, or swap out for another goal altogether.

This next part may sound subversive, but it’s actually a very healthy exercise: Even if the plan appears to be set in stone, raise your hand and advocate for some type of change, based on your experience-fueled instinct or your research. Make your case with conviction, specificity, and brevity. Even if your bosses don’t want to change course, you may find that you have upped your leadership profile within your organization just because you spoke up and spoke out.

Two: Set your own new year’s goals.

Twenty-first century marketers are under ever-increasing pressure to do more with less, a dynamic which frequently leads to what we call checklist marketing. A checklist marketing approach can be helpful as far as getting things done on time is concerned, but it’s also an approach that rarely results in marketing greatness.

Professional growth can only take place when you exert at least some control over your own development. Toward that end, try to make at least 20% of the items on your “goals for next year” list about things that you or your team believes are important, but that aren’t directly tied to the goals handed to you by the boss.

Three: Narrow your focus.

Strive to create a list of goals that have nothing to do with “spray and pray” marketing (non) strategy. “Reach more people” will never be found on the to-do list of any smart marketer. But variations on “learn more about our best customers” or “convert more prospects who look like our existing best customers” definitely have their place on the strategic marketer’s rundown of goals for the upcoming year.

Four: Be futuristic.

Way too many marketers spend way too much time in reactionary mode – the direct outcome, in numerous instances, of the checklist marketing approach we mention above. Buck this trend by including one or two new year’s goals that have absolutely nothing, nada, zilch, to do with the next 12 months – but that have everything to do with where you want to be 24 months, 36 months or 10 years from now.

Five: Be bold, but be realistic.

Don’t be afraid to go over-the-top when you are creating your list – it’s the only way you’ll ever come close to your real objective, which is marketing world domination, right?

Having said that, it’s important to remember that you can also set yourself up for feelings of failure if you toss everything and the kitchen sink onto your list. No matter how awesome you are, you’ve got the same limitation placed on all of us: only 24 hours in each day, and some of them need to be spent sleeping. So after you’ve made your world domination list, take a break for a couple of days and then review again with a fresh eye. After you’ve chopped off a couple of the lowest-priority items, you’ve probably got a workable new year’s proposition.

Need help fine-tuning your plan for marketing world domination? We’d love to put our best marketing mad scientists to work for you. Let’s talk.