The New Year sweeps in with lots of hype: a rose-colored-glasses look back on the last year and heaps of often-unrealistic expectations for the year ahead. If you like to have a fresh starting point once in a while, January gives you a boost. But, if January 1st feels like just another day, dragging with it all the same issues that plagued December 31st, how do we conjure the wherewithal to get through the winter, let alone meet our marketing and business goals?
Like most of us, I know that the New Year is both a state of mind and a calendar date. I’m not going to wake up on New Year’s Day with superhuman energy or to find that a marketing version of the shoemaker’s elves has done all my work. I can choose to see that life is chaotic and challenging, joyful and satisfying, and try not to deny any of it. That translates into planning for 2020 marketing activities, too.
Even if you only know the broadest or most general goals of your organization, you can easily identify a few promotional tools that will move you in a positive direction. Of course, that’s the [deceptively] easy part: Once you know the people you serve and understand where they get their information, meet them there with your brand, your know-how, and your compassion. The rest may seem hazy or even overwhelming; the rest is all about the how.
“Break it into pieces” may be the best advice I’ve ever heard about anything. If I make no other resolution for the new year, I vow to default to a “pieces” view when issues become too cloudy, complex, or challenging. That’s especially true for marketing.
You’ll be able to get more done and be better understood when you focus on single, well-articulated ideas. Break your bigger ideas into smaller parts. List smaller pieces of the larger initiative. Make flow charts and lists to your heart’s content, but try to narrow your energy to one piece at a time. If overhauling your company website is on the horizon for 2020, the very idea can shut you down before you start. After you segment the project into a list of to-dos or an itemized spreadsheet (we all have our preferences and organization SOPs), isolate one piece at a time. A website redesign, for example, may include steps like a content audit of the existing site (what works and what doesn’t), an audit of the host’s performance, and identifying an outside design partner to help realize your vision. That’s a lot to wade through. With the “break it into pieces” approach, confining your efforts to the content audit first (and alone) may greatly reduce the overwhelm and provide data that will help redefine other steps, potentially lightening the overall weight of the project.
Whether you’re looking at January as a month of brave new days, or seeing it as the same-old-same-old, I hope that when you break your goals into manageable bits, you’ll move mountains.