Setting New Year’s resolutions is a great exercise, and one that can yield tangible change as the calendar moves along. Now is the time to identify a few marketing and PR goals and outline next steps.
In identifying goals, professional services providers should consider these filters:
- Will you have the time needed to achieve your goal? – When setting a goal, are you being realistic? Picking an arbitrary number – e.g., 10 byline articles, six blog posts a quarter – can prove extremely difficult to achieve, leading to frustration and abandonment of goals. It’s often better to start by saying, “I’m going to write a byline article this year.” Or even, “By March, I am going to finally finish this piece I started last year.” Achieving a goal leads to a sense of accomplishment, which fuels further ambition.
- What is the payoff for your goal? – It’s always important to begin with the end in mind. Is your end goal new business, increased dialogue with current clients, cross-marketing, to sharpen your writing skills or all of the above? You may decide that you find writing satisfying and a pathway to being a better practitioner. This is a perfectly worthwhile payoff. However, stick to that pathway. Don’t move the goalposts on yourself. And, at times, you may decide that the payoff doesn’t merit the time and effort required. There is no shame in this conclusion. Just look for a new goal.
- Do your goals complement each other? Have you spent the time to develop a comprehensive strategy document? – The old chestnut, “If something sounds too good to be true, it is,” also applies in marketing and business development. Many times, self-help articles and coaches will champion strongly a single initiative. This can create unrealistic expectations and short-circuit or prevent holistic conversations with marketing and communications professionals that examine effort-to-potential payoff and explore leverage opportunities.
- Are you stuck on last year’s goals? – Are you setting the exact same goals as last year? If so, consider the progress you made toward your stated objectives. What hindered you? As you jot down your new resolutions, allow yourself to pivot away from objectively worthwhile goals that just didn’t prove realistic.
- Do your goals make you miserable? – There is a wide-spectrum of marketing and communications activities available, and as mentioned previously, there is no single pathway to guaranteed success. If the goals you have made in the past made you miserable and quickly became buried on your desk, you may need to take a new approach. You may really enjoy charitable work, but you have been pushing yourself to write byline articles. Is there a way to expand your professional and referral network through your connections in the community? Or, you may dread networking and find little value to suffering through multiple meetings every month. Instead, you may find happiness and traction by speaking to trade groups or blogging on timely issues.
Channel the excitement of the New Year and hit the ground running, but be strategic!