With the New Year comes a new chance to evaluate your past and transform it into something more current. It’s a new, fresh start for your business. Ideally, each year should bring fresh insights and a thorough outline of where your business is going.

As 2015 swiftly approaches, so does the opportunity to take a look at last year’s marketing goals, dissect how effective they were and redirect and alter where necessary. This is a great way to get started on your marketing plan for 2015.

We’re here to help you close the gap between your marketing goals and your current marketing activities.

First Things First

Outline your 2015 marketing goals. A business has a hard time evolving with only one person’s vision, and often a collaborative effort allows for new angles and a broader solution base to choose from. While one arm of a company fulfills a certain role, the communication with other branches is essential to make things run fluidly.

In any business the marketing team and the sales team both bring an important function to the success of the company. Merging their thoughts to create new ideas can be fundamental to marketing success. Think of the sales team as the front line—their customer observations and feedback can give the marketing team a boost when they’re tossing around ideas for new marketing goals.

Start with asking some questions that look at how you did things in the past

  • Were the goals we set realistic? In other words, are we capable of achieving them?
  • Were our goals specific? Did we put timelines, numbers and well-outlined information on them?

Move on to what needs improvement

  • Where did our marketing thrive last year? What aspects failed or under-produced?
  • Did that aspect fail because it isn’t valid to our business/demographic/consumer, or because we approached it wrong?
  • Did we actually care about our goals?

Then really get the juices flowing

  • What is our main business objective? For the year? For the long-term?
  • Who is our target market?
  • How do we reach our target market?
  • How do we make repeat customers?
  • Do our short-term goals support our long-term ones?
  • Is everyone on board with our goals?

You get the idea. Asking these questions will help you formulate specific marketing goals and help you understand how you can tackle them.

What Are You Doing Now?

Now you want to evaluate your current marketing activities. Smart marketing teams constantly tout the importance of evaluation. It’s an ongoing process. It is an endless process.

You have to know where you’ve been and where you are now to help guide where you’re going. It’s about individually assessing each part so you can identify your strengths and weaknesses. Look at where you have been beating your head against the wall (aka doing the same wrong things over and over) and drop those bad habits.

Break it down and evaluate your activity in these categories:

Evaluate each piece, especially where it’s going wrong, and make changes. Are you losing leads because your website is hard to navigate? Are you losing repeat customers because your customer service is lacking? Are you reaching the wrong audience?

Each of these issues is solvable. Look into a new website design after researching what works in your business sector. Implement customer service guidelines and do some additional training. Rewrite your buyer personas and evaluate your branding efforts.

Now that you have done these two steps, you can take action to close the gap between your 2015 goals and your current activities.

Attacking the Gap

Now that you have produced new 2015 marketing goals and evaluated your current marketing performance, you should be able to recognize the gap between the two. If your current plans now are resulting in a decline from last year’s results, what makes you think that it’s going to get better if you continue to do more of the same?

Now don’t panic! If your gap is big or small, we’re here to provide you with the resources you need to close that gap. Here are the critical steps your business should take:

Step One – Understand the journey

You should know what this means by now… Evaluate. Look at roles and responsibilities, leadership, the customer experience and the implementation of ideas. Know what plans aren’t working and aren’t effective anymore.

Step Two – Collaborate

Your business will fare far better with some serious interdepartmental effort. Think of yourself as one big team who are all playing together to attain the big win. Make the decision to let go and stop spending your budget on activities that aren’t working anymore.

Step Three – Keep evolving

You aren’t going to solve your problems in a one-time session, it’s an ongoing process. Like forever. The world and its inhabitants are constantly changing—therefore businesses have to as well. Prepare to have many, many sessions. Embrace new avenues and tools for success and always try to find excitement in the thrill of those new successes. Change is good!

A company that thrives sets goals for itself and attains those goals through evaluation, collaboration, new innovations, enthusiasm and a willingness to attack the gap. Make 2015 a year of top-notch marketing goals and aimed at closing your gap.