Before the start of 2019, Forbes released the article ‘This Year, Don’t Set New Year’s Resolutions’ which stated that only 25% of people actually continued beyond the first month, with less than 8% achieving them. Instead, the article encourages people to get behind the practice of ‘goal setting’.
Whether you were looking to keep in a god’s good books or learn from past mistakes, the concept of the ‘resolution’ (aka ‘goal’) has been around for 4,000 years. The practice, which takes us way back to the ancient Babylonians, is still popular today. But how do we set public relations and marketing resolutions for business growth?
Put simply, it’s how people use them. A resolution is typically some vague statement like “I’ll lose weight” or “I’ll work harder”, whereas a goal is expected to be more focused and should include actionable steps which work towards a desire or clear objective.
As the saying goes, the devil is in the detail. Getting good at setting and smashing your goals is about how you word it and work towards it. In fact, there are now many small businesses, ‘self-improvement’ books, worksheets, YouTube channels and seminars dedicated to helping people set achievable targets, as part of their plan (whether that’s a life or marketing campaign). The advice often promotes the use of SMART goals (with some ‘visualisation’ thrown in, depending on the source).
If you’re unfamiliar with the acronym, these are objectives that are:
If you’ve never done this kind of analysis before, it’s essentially an overview of performance. It’s up to you to decide what’s important. When you evaluate, you should be looking at a set period of time (like a year) to understand where you’re at now. It’s important that you start this process being honest. Making excuses for something not going as well as you’d like isn’t helpful.
For example, if you find you haven’t put enough time into one or more aspects of your business, this may explain why the results weren’t as good as you’d like (or why they could be better). Acknowledge that and you now know that’s an area to work on going forwards. PR & marketing often fall to the bottom of people’s to-do list. If you’re look to re-focus on promoting yourself this year, our blog ‘defend your marketing spend’ might help you here.
“So that we can assess the business’ performance and better understand what we did and didn’t do well, [I/NAMED DELEGATE] will pull together 12-month reports on [INSERT DATA EXAMPLES RELEVANT TO YOU]. We will do this by [DEADLINE DATE].”
Data that may be helpful to you:
You should be able to see clearly what worked for you and what didn’t. Keep these in mind (or in a list on paper) as we continue.
The details of this plan will greatly depend on how much experience you have with the process, what kind of business you are working for and what you learned from your evaluation. We’ll cover these in stages, to give you points to consider.
Decide what you want to achieve (both big and small) over set periods of time. Do you want to increase awareness of your brand? Improve your profit margin? Find new talent? Strengthen existing relationships? Note these down. At this stage, they are desires rather than goals but, from this, you can select a few points you want to focus on first. Remember: be realistic. If you want to see results you’ll be happy with, they need to be SMART.
We’ll be writing about various business objectives in more detail in later blogs as these can be big topics in themselves. However, since ‘brand awareness’ features frequently in briefs from new and existing clients, we’ll use this as your example. To turn your desire into a goal, we need to break it down into actionable steps that you can take daily/weekly/monthly etc.
“Feedback from an industry survey we circulated revealed that only 30% of respondents had heard of us. Over the next 12 months, we aim to increase this by taking the following actions: [INSERT ACTIONS RELEVANT TO YOU]. [I/NAMED DELEGATE] will create the plans for these by [DEADLINE].”
Potential activity could feature:
As with any form of goal, setting achievable targets at regular intervals helps to not only track your progress but also helps to keep you motivated. If you join a slimming club, they celebrate every pound so why not adopt the same mentality for marketing goals? What do you want to achieve by next week? Next month? Next quarter? And so on…
By week 1, [I/NAMED DELEGATE] will have cleaned up the mailing list/ensured it’s GDPR-compliant by [INSERT ACTIONS].
By week 2, [I/NAMED DELEGATE] will have created a social media campaign including promoted posts for the newsletter sign up.
By week 3, [I/NAMED DELEGATE] will have scheduled core social content including setting up promoted posts.
By week 4, [I/NAMED DELEGATE] will have created content covering key topics identified as part of the campaign (e.g. CPD, white paper, blog, article, how-to video).
By week 12, [I/NAMED DELEGATE] will have created a newsletter, collating content covering key topics identified in the campaign proposal and distribute to segmented lists.
By the end of the year, [I/NAMED DELEGATE] will re-circulate survey to gather data for the evaluation.
You’ve now set your intentions, have identified clear steps to achieve your goals and plenty of opportunities to track your progress. If you’re able to keep momentum, you are no doubt well on track to hit the targets set with your objectives. This is where you or your delegates work to deliver elements of the plan to the deadlines set in the above goals.
Sometimes though, executing even the best laid plans can require support. A person looking to get fitter may employ a personal trainer to teach them how to train safer, smarter and more efficiently. In the same way, you can outsource work or commission a consultancy to help you to streamline your processes, deliver planned work, or report on performance. You can also use public relations and marketing consultancies, like Smith Goodfellow, to evaluate your business, draft this year’s plan, create content, and report on work delivered throughout the year.
If you would like to get in touch discuss how we could help you achieve your goals, you can contact us here.