by Josh Miles
How to develop a strategy for improving your marketing efforts in the coming year.
Welcome to the final installment of the Bold Brand Challenge. Over the past twelve months we discussed how to position, differentiate, communicate, and market your brand. As our challenge comes to a close, we’ll take a look at how to review your marketing progress, and how to set goals for the coming year.
If you’ve ever worked in a job without measurable goals, I’m sure you’re familiar with the frustrations of working towards vague and arbitrary metrics. To define success or failure, we need a clear vision of what we’re trying to achieve. Creating a compelling brand and marketing it, however, can be a squishy topic for most.
To define success or failure, we need a clear vision of what we’re trying to achieve. @joshmiles #BizLockerRoom #marketing #goalsClick to tweet
Perhaps you’re unsure where your brand stands today? If that’s the case, consider performing a simple brand audit. If you’d like a few ideas, you can download our simple DIY Brand Audit.
Once you have a clear understanding of your brand, it’s time to write out a plan for next year.
First you’ll want to decide what you want to achieve.
Do you have a sales target? Aiming for clients in new markets or industries? Are you trying to improve profit margins? Write down all of your goals for the coming year. I typically recommend three to five goals.
Strategy is another squishy word, but for our purposes, let’s treat strategy as the thing that connects your goals with actions that will help you achieve them.
If you have a goal to increase sales by 40%, many strategies could potentially help get you there. Your strategy could be:
I would argue that most so-called growth strategies require a holistic brand or marketing strategy to facilitate any of them. If you’re going to create deeper offerings to sell more services to current clients, wouldn’t it be helpful to both position your company as a firm who offers such services, and a marketing strategy for how to communicate these new services?
As such, we always recommend that you not only identify your goals and objectives for the year, but also create strategies to connect the dots. And more likely than not, your strategy should include brand- and marketing-level strategies for putting these ideas into action.
If you haven’t already, take a moment to peruse some of the topics we’ve covered in the Bold Brand Challenge. Whether it’s time to update your positioning, create a new identity, or simply ramp up your content marketing program, there are a variety of marketing tactics at your fingertips. Fortunately, when you start with goals and strategies, it’s much easier to determine which tactics are worthy of your time and investment.
Now it’s time to determine what you’re going to measure.
Strangely, in professional services marketing, the things that are most often measured are proposal related: how many did we write, how many shortlists did we make, and how many clients hired us. While proposals are certainly related to marketing, they’re very lagging indicators and downstream ways to measure progress. We recommend that clients not only track closing opportunities, but also track leading indicators such as website traffic, email subscribers, email opens, email clicks, database size, and responses to online calls to action (or CTAs).
It’s up to you and your firm to determine what’s best to track and measure, so think through what other data points will help demonstrate the effectiveness of your marketing and branding efforts.
If you’ve stuck with us for the last twelve months, congratulations—we did it!
I hope these concepts help you build your very own Bold Brand. And if you’ve come this far, but haven’t taken action, I’d encourage you to reach out to me and continue the conversation. And of course, if you’re looking for more self-guided help, pick up a copy of my book on Kindle or paperback for a deeper discussion of each of these topics.
Josh Miles is a caffeine and Twitter addict, and the principal and founder of Miles Design. He was honored as one of Indianapolis Business Journal's 2013 40 Under 40. Josh is also the author of Bold Brand: The New Rules for Differentiating, Branding, and Marketing Your Professional Services Firm. His expertise is highly sought after by professional services firms from coast to coast.