As the year wraps up, and we look forward to another, I’ve been looking at strategy for clients. This is time to look at what’s happened over the past year. Identify what has worked, and what hasn’t. See what we can tweak to make this year better than last.
What I’ve learned from this process, however, is that the most important thing to look at is the original strategy. This is where we first defined our goals and tactics. This is where we first created our definition of success.
Have you strayed from this in the last year? Have the individual projects and ideas that have come up been in line with what you first put down? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. Strategies tend to be long, cumbersome documents that are not easily read every time you want to create a new campaign. However, if you don’t take the time to check back with your strategy, you might end up missing your target—even if all of your ideas are good ones.
I have a couple of tips for keeping the focus and intentions of your strategy on top of your marketing campaigns.
I’m a lady of to-do lists, so it’s not surprising that I think one of the easiest ways to keep up with your defined goals is to create lists from sections in your strategy. Keep a list of your goals where you can see them. This is the most important list because the goals are the heart of your strategy. If you can’t remember your goals, how will you achieve them?
Make a second list of the tactics you included in your strategy. You will inevitably create new ones as the year goes on, but having the pre-determined ones within reach will not only keep you true to the strategy you distributed to your client or boss, but also give you something to do if you hit a dry spell on ideas.
Pick a regular frequency to go back to the strategy and evaluate how well you’re sticking to it. It could be at the beginning of every year, but I suggest more like every quarter or month. If your goals have changed, or you feel you need to take a different path to meet them than the one defined in the strategy, make the changes within the document. A good strategy is a living document, changing to fit the needs of your company or client.
Regardless of how you do it, it’s important to keep up with your strategy. It is, after all, how your client or boss will measure your success on the account.
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