A little late on New Year’s resolutions but still want to start off on the right foot? Here are four steps that every organization should take in the first few months of the year to set the stage for success. It’s never too late to implement goals and take action!
1) Reflect on Previous Years
Ironically, setting yourself up for future success often requires a thoughtful examination of your past. First, consider your organization’s overall performance in 2019—or in the last few years. Then delve a little deeper: What were your greatest strengths and weaknesses? What investments in time or money were worthwhile? Did you meet expectations? Be sure to conclude your reflection by pinpointing some “lessons learned” that you can apply moving forward.
When reflecting on our past year at Op4G we realized that although we have donated over $450K to nonprofits through our company model, we didn’t have any type of corporate social responsibility program set in place. As a team, we wanted the opportunity to physically volunteer and make an impact on nonprofit organizations, beyond just monetary donations. This leads to our next point, which is about taking those reflections and turning them into action.
2) Set Goals
This step may seem basic and obvious, yet it is a major stumbling block for many. Though there are different schools of thought, it’s recommended to set both soft goals (e.g. for employee morale) and hard goals (e.g. dollars of revenue and profit). According to a 7Geese article on how Google sets goals, companies should strive to make goals challenging or “uncomfortable”, but still achievable in number and scope. Moreover, make all your goals known—at least within the company—and measurable at set time increments. Ask yourself what success would look like in 3 months, 1 year, or 5 years and use that as your guide!
If the departments within your company are remote or spread out, it’s also important to find a time when everyone can come together to discuss goals and expectations. As an example, we recently held a New Year's Kickoff meeting to discuss company goals moving forward and how they can be achieved. This not only boosted motivation for the team, but also ensured that everyone was on the same page with how we can better serve our nonprofit partners, panelists, and clients.
3) Budget for Market Research
As we discussed in a previous blog post, data collected from market research is one of the most powerful tools your organization can utilize. Setting aside funds for market research will not only drive growth, but enable your business to maintain a competitive edge within your industry. When deciding what data you'd like to collect, it's important to ensure that your planned research reflects each of your 2020 goals (from step #2). For example, customer surveys can boost satisfaction among existing clientele, non-customer surveys can generate new leads, and employee surveys can boost retention rates.
In reality, there is no single formula for calculating the appropriate market research budget for your organization. But factors to consider include your overall budget, the desired methodology, the sample size and source, the customization, advanced analytics required, etc. For further assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
4) Develop a Plan to Act on Research Results
In the words of McKinsey & Company, “Data is meaningless unless it helps make decisions that have measurable impact.” So start planning how to translate your market research results into action! Among other things, put in place the necessary resources, develop schedules for each tactic/campaign, and then…execute!
Want to go a step further? Integrate plans to evaluate the effectiveness of your actions and to modify, as needed. Remember that “your strategic marketing process will be an ongoing effort”—there’s no need to wait for the end of the year.