I’m a big proponent of taking time to think about the big picture when it comes to establishing and working toward your marketing, PR and overall business goals. After the New Year comes and goes, too often we’re all guilty of letting go of those big picture goals that we had set out for the year. All too often, we find ourselves getting trapped in the weeds of the day to day. Big picture goals, of course, aren’t tactical goals like posting on your blog or social channels more frequently. Those are the elements that lead to achieving big picture goals. Instead, think more along the lines of gaining more customers, improving customer-retention numbers or increasing public awareness of an issue in order to secure funding.
Make it a habit – better yet, a priority – throughout the year to check in on these big picture goals. Here are a few tips to stay on track to achieve your marketing and PR goals year after year.
Set a reminder
This one may seem a little too simplistic, but ask yourself: how many times have you gotten sidetracked on new projects that had little or nothing to do with your big picture goals? Set yourself a monthly reminder on your desk or calendar to periodically check back in on your goals for the year. For our clients, this means setting quarterly meetings or making overarching goals a part of our regular status calls to ensure we don’t lose sight of the finish line.
Avoid “shiny object syndrome”
In the world of marketing, PR and social media, there inevitably will be a new cool platform, tool or feature that marketers “should be using.” While it’s fine to check these things out, avoid shiny object syndrome, which may turn out to be useful but more than likely a new distraction.
For me personally, shiny object syndrome takes the form of infomercials (I can’t help myself!). I’m wowed by the new broom, pet hair vacuum, face mask or laundry detergent I absolutely must try. They’re mighty neat, but, in reality, are any of those items really going to help me achieve my goal of keeping my house clean any better than the tools I already have? Unfortunately, probably not. And, at what cost? Twelve easy payments of $19.99 could go a long way toward something much more useful. And more to the point, they are keeping me from doing what I know is necessary to get the job done week-in and week-out.
The same goes for marketing and PR. Try not to get too distracted or bogged down in the next big thing, especially when it doesn’t serve the purpose of helping you reach your broader organizational goals.
Consider the cost
This brings me to my next point about considering the cost of your investments. Let’s say Instagram just came out with the latest and greatest capability, and you want to give it a try. I’m all for it, but before you invest time and resources, ask yourself if using this new tool will help you achieve your marketing and PR goals.
Bear in mind that cost doesn’t just mean budget dollars. It also encompasses human resources – like staff hours, even team frustrations. The next project you have in mind may be a great idea. But at what cost? If it doesn’t work toward achieving your organizational goals and comes at a high cost – it’s simply not worth it.
Sometimes it’s okay to jump ship
Sometimes it’s okay – good practice, even – to abandon a project halfway through. If you’ve determined that something you’re investing time and resources in simply isn’t working toward achieving your stated goals, allow yourself to jump ship or change things up. In other words, don’t throw good money (or time) away.
If you thought a social ad campaign would be the right tactic, but it turns out it isn’t moving the needle at all, don’t be afraid to change course. It may be that social advertising works for your organization to achieve different objectives – like engaging with your community or listening and better understanding the needs of your customers. If your goal is to bring awareness or change perception about an issue, media relations may be more successful for you, so don’t be afraid to change course.
And remember to fly the plane
I have a sign on my desk that reads: Just fly the plane. It’s from a story I read a while back about a pilot in training in flight school. While flying a plane during his training, the plane began to malfunction. The pilot-in-training scrambled to determine what was wrong with the plane and attempt to fix it in mid-air. But he took his attention away from the one thing he was supposed to be focused on: flying the plane! His instructor gave sound – yet simple – advice: Just fly the plane. Meaning, don’t get distracted by all the wrenches that are thrown into your plans, or when things just don’t go the way you thought they would. Don’t spend valuable time and energy working on things that detract from achieving your broader PR and marketing goals. Stay focused on the finish line and just fly the plane.