2015 is almost here (or may already be here by the time you read this) which means your company is once again figuring out what to do with all that money that’s reappeared in its annual budget. It is recommended that you allocate at least 2% of your total sales to your marketing budget (for larger businesses it is upwards of 10%), and so you need to start making goals for your company and throwing money at those goals (efficiently and effectively, of course). So, if you aren’t a huge marketing guru or don’t have your own marketing department (yet), what should those goals be? Here is a short list of what we believe your company should be doing to help formulate its goals for 2015 and accomplish its New Year’s Resolutions!

  1. Establish a meaningful social media space

While some companies are simply worried about the number of followers or likes they have, others will be studying content marketing and how they can legitimately create a community of followers around their brand. Your company should strive to be like the latter company, posting information rich content to your audience that helps them become educated about your product or solution and compassionate about what it is you do.

  1. Become familiarized with marketing metrics to better understand what’s next

Businesses severely underestimate the importance and usefulness of data and metrics. Gathering numbers on things like your social media accounts (impressions, engagements, clicks, click-through rate, etc.) and your website (traffic sources, bounce rate, user demographics, behavior flow, goal conversions, etc.) help you identify your target audience and figure out where everyone is coming from. For example, you are able to tell when a certain Twitter campaign increased purchases of a particular product based on landing page data, or how effective an advertising campaign was based on the increase in traffic and contact requests through your website. After analyzing your stats, you’ll be able to decide whether or not to prolong or make adjustments to campaigns. The metrics get much more specific than those examples, but in the end they are extremely telling and useful.

  1. Learn to be more creative

Whether you are designing all of your own graphics for content posts or just approving them, it is always good to have a keen creative eye to make sure only the most aesthetically pleasing and relevant content is making it to your audience. The stories being told should also embody creativity to evoke emotional or meaningful responses. Like anything else, creativity requires both studying theory and lots of practice. For starters, I recommend learning color theory (there is a lot of psychology in colors), graphic design (GIMP is a great free program), and creative writing.

  1. Get to know your customers – for real.

Trying to rope in as many customers as you can is not nearly as rewarding or fulfilling as actually interacting with your customers and knowing who they are. In this sense, you are establishing a community that fosters interaction and evokes sincere conversations centered around your brand. It helps you receive honest feedback about your products, solutions, or employees, while also helping them understand you and your company through your voice. Without your voice, your company is an entity (or a thing) without a heartbeat. Forum discussions, social media posting, blogging, vlogging, and face-to-face networking all help your customers get to know the faces and voices of your company.

  1. Let go of whatever isn’t producing significant ROI

Some companies tend to latch on to old ideas and perpetuate them into eternity without any reason other than “it’s what we’ve always done”. For instance, if you’re still spending thousands of dollars on direct mail marketing and not seeing any results, cut the cord and find a new strategy. Similarly, if you’re still dumping marketing dollars into Facebook but haven’t received any return on your investment, that might not be the social networking platform that works best for your business. You may find that something like Instagram or Twitter will be more effective in receiving meaningful engagements. Use the New Year as a time to revisit old strategies and discover new ones.

All of these resolutions can be defined more formally in your company’s marketing plan. If you already have a plan, look it over and see what items are now obsolete or ineffective, and which new items can replace them. Your business must evolve into a 2015 business, leaving its 2014 shell behind.

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