“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there.”
— Lewis Carroll
Research by the University of Scranton has found that only 45 percent of Americans usually make New Year’s resolutions (an additional 17 percent do so infrequently). Sadly, only 8 percent are successful in achieving their resolutions.
At Strategic Communications, our New Year’s wish is that every business and business owner out there creates at least one marketing resolution for the New Year — and keeps it. That is, of course, easier said than done.
Kathy Wright, general sales manager with WEAU-TV, says having a plan is a theme she hears frequently from the clients she works with. They recognize, she says, that having a plan can help them be more focused and less like they’re “throwing things against the wall and hoping something sticks.”
What better time than the new year to make that plan and commit to working it throughout the year? We asked some area businesspeople for theirs.
The Eau Claire Area Economic Development Corporation, says marketing manager Christina Wasson, wants to “be more engaging with our audience in a meaningful and measurable way.” Relationships drive recognition, says Wasson, but relationships are just the beginning.
“In addition to being engaging, the results of these interactions need to be monitored and analyzed to see what works well, what needs improvement and to determine where our energy needs to be directed.”
Relationships matter to hibu, Inc., as well, says Kathy Biskupski, a media consultant and client services executive with the firm. She has an aggressive personal goal of meeting “with 25-30 local Chippewa Valley area businesses weekly.”
Through those meetings she hopes to change the perception that her company only sells yellow page advertising. While traditional print directory ads are still part of the mix, hibu’s services are much broader and, she believes, there is an opportunity in 2014 to carry that message forward.
There’s certainly growing interest in better leveraging online communications for both B2C and B2B organizations. Laura Soderlund, online sales and services coordinator for Huebsch Services says: “Our marketing resolution for the new year is to increase our social media awareness. We are a B2B business, so we never really saw social media as a great channel or strategy for us.
"We’ve realized now that social media isn’t all about lead generation and it’s more about building awareness. Our goal for 2014 is to share and post more often, and consistently, so we can build awareness and add value to our followers."
Dean Mathwig, marketing director with Asher Lasting Exteriors, echoes that sentiment. “My primary resolution is to become much more savvy with SEO in order to enhance our organization’s Internet presence,” he says. “A close second resolution is to further embrace the various social media outlets that we initiated during 2013.”
“Relentless customer service” will drive Lisa Fiore’s efforts at Manpower in 2014. “It’s non-discriminatory: it applies to existing clients as well as new clients, internal customers as well as external customers," she says. "It’s what they expect, it’s what they deserve and it’s what we provide.”
Being more efficient and effective with marketing efforts is an evergreen resolution. As Colleen Weber, owner at The Smiling Moose Deli & Frogiyo Frozen Yogurt, says: “My marketing resolution is to create and follow a marketing calendar that includes a strategic social media component! Why? Because it will simplify my decision-making, streamline operations and help me stick to a budget.”
Matt Middendorp, owner of Sales Math Consulting, LLC, has three marketing resolutions for 2014: to redesign and coordinate his promotional materials to better represent his brand; to write a book built around his sales training tool, the Sales Math Formula; and to continue to build aware of himself, his business and his methodology.
Marketing suggestions for ‘14
For the 55 percent that may not yet have created resolutions for the new year, it’s never too late. Here are some suggestions we’re sharing with our clients this year:
- Create a plan — so often overlooked, yet so important. It doesn’t have to be anything long or overly complex. Just identify your goals and measurable objectives and the strategies and tactics you will use to achieve them.
- Commit to being “you”-focused vs. “we”-focused. So many get this wrong. The more you can make it about them, them, them and the less about you, you, you, the more successful you’ll be in the new year.
- Stand out from the competition. Make sure you understand the alternatives your target audience has to choose from and how you stack up against those alternatives. Be different — be better!
- Strengthen your brand. Determine how you wish to be perceived, how you are perceived and make appropriate changes to your communication materials (and products/ services) to support your desired brand image.
- Celebrate your successes! Hopefully there will be many of them in 2014.
We’re hoping every business in the Chippewa Valley finds much happiness and success in the new year!
Linda Pophal is a marketing consultant, business journalist and the owner of Strategic Communications, LLC, in Chippewa Falls. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.