By Phoebe Yong, Principal, Magnolia Communications
One of the most important and toughest jobs in 2012 was setting the path for 2013 and after that, following through with the right execution. What many companies may not consider is that just because they’re well into 2013 with a plan in full motion, it’s not too late to stop and review it and allow themselves to make crucial adjustments before year end. As a matter of fact, if you take the time to reevaluate, you may achieve the confidence and clarity you need to get on the right path instead of pushing forward with misaligned goals.
Ideas for discussion
- Take stock of your industry. What’s happening? What are top trends this year and for next year that you need to have in place for 2013? This year in the social media scene Pinterest took big leaps as one of many photography-focused platforms and presented a great opportunity for retailers who were fast to add Pinterest to their toolkit. At Magnolia, we are seeing compelling storytelling lean towards short videos and animation making for a more personal impression; I received an e-newsletter from CNBC and rather than featuring articles, it featured videos only. Your strategy may need to employ some of these tactics to keep up with your competitors, which leads me to our next point.
- Take stock of your competitors. This is probably something that you’re doing on a regular basis. If you’re not, start paying special attention to the top competitors in your niche, their positioning and the key services they are focusing on. For example, in our sector, social media is one of the biggest new offerings. I’ve purposely kept social media at the periphery, focusing mainly on LinkedIn and email marketing as key arsenal for lead generation. I figure let everyone else fight it out with Facebook and Twitter. In the meantime, I’ll gear our business and our clients’ attention on true lead generation tools that in my opinion yield better ROI for them. Some of your competitors may be positioning themselves as, for example, low cost or value driven; what is your positioning? Is this the right positioning you want to take into 2014?
- Take stock of your customers. Are the services you are offering meeting customer needs? Are you asking the right questions of your customers to meet their expectations? My experience in working with product managers during my Sierra Wireless years taught me that any newly launched product should go quickly into product review to ensure the next product cycle includes continuous feedback from end users. How do you tailor your products to meet customer needs?
- Make a Wish List! Or if you already have one, review that Wish List! Ok, you’ve got three months to go before year end, what are the top things you want to achieve or have marked as SUCCESS? One item on our list was to move into a new office this year where we would be better positioned to scale our business. Check! Another item for this year is to land our client an interview with the Economist and a prime time TV spot.
How are your marketing initiatives going to make those wishes come true?
You’ve got some time on your side to figure it out.