3 Tips to Prepare for 2013 (Just in Case the Mayans are Wrong)
It's that time of year again, wrapping up projects and planning for the next year. Assuming the Mayan calendar is not correct and we do in fact need to be prepared beyond 12/21/12, there are a few essential questions that can provide structure to a review of the past year and aid in extracting key information to start the next. I'm sure most marketers or managers have an end-of-year process in place, but following are what I think are the most helpful questions to ask yourself:
- Did I meet the marketing objectives I set for this year? Rather obvious on the surface, sure, but answering this in as definitive of a manner as possible is essential. Hopefully, the original objectives were specific in nature and included pre-determined metrics for measuring success. Dig a little deeper and review whether utilized tactics directly affected the outcome. Were sales numbers met due to a windfall customer or because of targeted messaging consistently reaching the correct audience? On the flip side, were numbers not met due to an inability to produce to demand rather than a lack of demand? In the end, each still counts as a success or failure, but acknowledging and understanding the "why" is the only way to make intelligent tactical adjustments for next year.
- What will be significantly different next year? In other words, define new challenges or opportunities. Even if your success rate in meeting 2012 objectives was excellent, it's not a given that what worked this year will work next year. Perhaps a patent is set to expire and new competitive factors will come into play. Or maybe there are anticipated changes to industry regulations or standards that could necessitate a change in business practices.
- What if X happened to my budget? Budgets are a reality and usually one that is defined for us. It helps my perspective to consider the ramifications if I unexpectedly had either significantly more or less to work with, such as twice as much or only half. It's just another way of considering what might be the best avenues to pursue further or what are the absolute necessities in a prioritized list.
These considerations could actually come into play whenever a campaign or other dedicated effort comes to a close or hits a milestone. But the end of the year is certainly an appropriate time to employ this type of evaluation across the board. So I'm betting against the Mayans and preparing for a strong start in 2013.
To get our latest articles when they are posted, please subscribe by e-mail or RSS.