Did your marketing department make a list of resolutions this year? Maybe 2016 will be the year you finally launch your mobile app or get your personalized, multi-step email onboarding program off the ground.
How's it going so far?
If you're still working on your 2015 list, don't feel bad. Only about 8 percent of people actually achieve their resolutions, according to a University of Scranton study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. However, 49 percent have some success, and some is better than none.
The 10 strategies below will help improve the odds that you and your marketing team will have something to celebrate this year:
1) Look for the fulcrum.
There's nothing wrong with tweaking subject lines or testing copy on your triggered messages, but neither of those will likely drive the major gains that will justify additional budget allocations.
Instead, identify the fulcrum — a business goal, fundamental customer program or initiative — that drives your company’s success. It could be growing and retaining members of your loyalty or free shipping program or getting app users to input key content that makes your service valuable
Identifying this fulcrum will help you sharpen your goal-setting focus. Having meaningful goals drives more purposeful planning and fruitful efforts than something vague like "increase click-throughs by X percent."
2) Find commonality among programs.
When identifying and prioritizing which programs to focus on, find those that have multiple commonalities. These could be things such as leveraging data from the same data source and similar content such as videos and blog posts.
While one program will be your highest priority, the benefit is that you can potentially knock out two more programs because they share the same IT/data integrations, trigger points, segmentation or content assets.
3) Be realistic.
You've decided you want to double revenue from email. Awesome! That will definitely make you a hero. But, do you have the resources, budget and plan to make it happen? You're better off setting realistic goals that management supports so that you can achieve and even exceed your targets.
Once you settle on a goal, figure out the resources you're going to need to be successful. This includes obvious things like budget and time, but look for other fundamental requirements, such as IT involvement, training, new job responsibilities, content sources or new email skills and processes.
4) Build in accountability with timelines and checkpoints.
Annual resolutions give you a completion timeframe that's 12 months long. You're saying, essentially, "I have lots of time, so I'll get to this when I can." Think shorter term. Map your 2016 plans in phases, quarters and months. Use realistic milestones to stay accountable.
Also, structure your email projects with interdependencies: You have to get your Q1 project done to complete your Q2 email program.
5) Connect the tactical dots.
If you can't figure out why you aren't making as much progress as you think you are, look into your processes to see if you're inadvertently sabotaging your efforts.
Suppose you want to grow your email database 25 percent. But you also doubled your frequency. Now, your list churn goes off the charts. Time to switch tactics.
Reducing churn with more relevant, personalized email content might drive more than 25 percent growth and boost revenue at the same time.
6) Look for things you enjoy.
Find ways to turn a project you dread – crunching numbers, doing research or A/B testing – into something you enjoy. Work with a different department. Try a new approach or test a strategy you learned about at a conference.
A new way to assess change can help. Try the "Stop/Start/Continue" method, which asks you to determine what to stop doing, what to start doing (what new processes to adopt) and what to continue doing in order to succeed.
7) Build up a team of partners.
Having a workout buddy will get you to the gym faster. In the same way, partnering with other departments, such as customer service, social media or IT, can help you both achieve your objectives. Set mutual goals and keep each other accountable for progress.
8) Identify early warning signals.
Look at what caused other projects to go off the rails. Did your boss pull you away to go shiny-object hunting? Do other departments sideline your requests?
Figure out what your enablers of failure are and whether they come from inside or outside of your department. Having a series of checkpoints can keep you on track, but also keep your eyes open for signs of danger, such as team members who don't keep you informed on their progress.
At the same time, getting a major project off the ground will involve unscheduled stops and starts. Know how you can pivot if something unexpected happens, such as losing funding or a key team member.
9) Document and share your goals.
This is another advantage of breaking a project down into progressive goals with timelines and checkpoints. (See No. 3 above.)
You'll have many more opportunities to let your boss and co-workers know when you've met one of your progress goals. Sharing your achievements helps make you accountable for progress and gives you more reasons to throw little office parties to celebrate.
10) Reward progress.
Getting a new program off and running is hard work. Much of the work can be repetitive or tactical. So, set small rewards that align with your timeline and checkpoints instead of waiting until all the work is done to celebrate.
Rewards can include getting approval and budget to send yourself or a team member to an industry conference, where you might get tips to help you achieve this year’s goals – or discover new ideas for next year’s resolutions list.
1) Tip Sheet: “10 Tips for Digital Marketing Success in 2016”
2) Blog: “2016 Trend: Video Moves to Center Stage in the Marketing Mix”
3) Tip Sheet: “7 Tips for Getting Started with Behavioral Marketing”