As 2017 winds down, I’ve been thinking about all the initiatives we’ve helped our clients achieve and how we might use those experiences to guide our efforts in the coming year.

Together we successfully launched new brands, reimagined the marketing approach within an industry sector, built assets and tools that engage users, introduced new products to market, ran countless campaigns, and ensured the consistent delivery of robust content marketing programs.

But what comes next?

Are you feeling slightly perplexed about where to place your energy in the new year, how to rebuild momentum and a strong cadence, and how to define new marketing goals for your organization?

As you consider the following questions, ask yourself not only what you want to do but what support might be needed to realize your goals. Some answers will come easily, but the best answers will require consistent collaboration with peers to build shared success, common measures, productive efforts, and the strong results you seek.

Be practical

  • Where are you leaving off?
    • What has just finished up and was it truly complete? Was there anything left unfinished that could still be fruitful? Are there messages that could be reinvigorated and relaunched in January to help you regain momentum?
    • What company announcements are coming up and how might they fit into your organization's larger narrative?
  • What does your business need from marketing in 2018 and how can those efforts be measured? For example:
    • Awareness
    • Lead volume
    • Sales volume
    • Attribution of resource spend
    • Growth of brand loyalists
    • Industry recognition
  • What initiatives we’re pushed aside in 2017 that deserve another look?
  • What efforts didn’t go the way you wanted in 2017 and why? Which ones deserve another shot?
  • What marketing efforts showed the strongest results and why?
  • What efforts deserve increased investment and what are the potential benefits of an expansion?
  • Where do you want to limit or eliminate spending in the new year?

 Be aspirational

  • What are five ways that you could delight your current customers in the coming year?
  • What are the top three concerns your customers face today and what messages can you deliver to connect them more closely with your brand?
  • What industry topic are you excited about that could be introduced to your customers or your internal teams to bring about positive change?
  • If you could change or strengthen one perception in your industry about your company and products, what would it be?
  • What would you like your company to be known for by the end of 2018?
  • What partnerships can be built or strengthened internally and externally in the coming year?
  • What new tools and techniques are you interested in experimenting with and why?

Be transformative

  • What initiatives could help widen your influence within your industry?
  • What efforts could help your organization seize new ground and hold customers close in the new year? Consider:
    • How does your current brand positioning differentiate you from your closest competitors?
    • How well do you understand your buyers and their journey to find you?
    • How clear is your value communicated in your corporate and product messages?
    • Is your marketing strategy too broad?
    • How well are you aligning your marketing and sales approaches so that you are measuring and tracking to shared revenue goals?
    • How well are your lead generation approach, tactics, and tools performing and do you know what tactics are generating opportunities and sales?
    • What is your current approach to customer engagement?
    • What could you do to expand the use of your products and services by existing customers?
    • How you are managing and leveraging customer reference today and how could that be improved?
  • Do you have a vision for your immediate business team? How will that vision impact the lives of your customers for the better?
  • What can you do in January to begin creating an environment that will help that vision become a reality?

We hope that you find these questions encouraging and invigorating. As always, if you need help with strategizing, developing, and deploying new marketing programs, please reach out. We’re here to help.

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Get more information about kick-starting your efforts with our Alignment Essentials program.