Where will you be on 12/31/12?
Is your company in a better position today than it was twelve months ago? Where will it be twelve months from now? It’s an apt question to ask this time of year. The first week in January looms. Performance evaluations. Budget allocations. Sales kick-offs. After you’ve been through the cycle a few times, you may tend to approach these activities with the familiarity of a routine: Once again, it’s time to check this stuff off the list.
That would be a shame. This is a period when the stars of next year decide to be stars, and the rest miss the boat.
It starts with a big step back and a shake of the mental Etch A Sketch. We find there’s no time like December to take stock. Whether the last half of the month finds you winding down or frantically pushing through, when the holiday break finally arrives, you can pause to consider the big picture. And the big picture is more important to your business now than it ever has been.
The global economy, national politics, the maturation of relatively new cleantech industries and markets, the obliteration of traditional media by a proliferation of new interaction and communication avenues… all these things are working to change the very rules under which marketing organizations everywhere operate. What are you going to do about it?
New year, new… what?
Whether you’re a startup entrepreneur or a veteran CMO, there’s more opportunity here than might meet the eye. You’ll find it in the facts. Not just the ROI on your marketing spend or your customer sat metrics, but also the answers to questions you may not yet be asking.
Who left you this year? Before a customer leaves you officially, they leave you psychologically. Who’s gone quiet on you? It’s the ones you never hear from who can most surprise you. They may not initiate a conversation to express their concerns, but if you do, you’ll likely learn more than you expect.
When was the last time you had a meeting of the minds with your new business lead(s)? Not a meeting where Sales and Marketing were both in the room, but a significant chunk of time set aside to vent a little spleen and hear the brutal truth about what’s working — and what’s not, and why — out in the field.
What will leadership in your field look like in three years? What will you do to move your organization in that direction this year? How will you refine your in-house skill set, your offerings, or your business model? Will you be better off on 12/31/12 than you are on 12/31/11?
Take a minute to close your eyes and step into that future vision. What do your customer conversations sound like? What do your sellers experience in the field? What does your team look like? What are your products and services, and how do you talk about them? What does the day-to-day operation of your business look and feel like?
Now open your eyes and look around you at the ways those things are today. If there’s not much of a difference, dream bigger. If, on the other hand, they seem like entirely different worlds, you’ve got your work cut out for you. And that’s not a bad thing! It’s what the New Year’s calendar-flip is for. Planning. Pivoting. Regenerating the endlessly renewable human energy that drives innovation of all kinds. It comes around just once a year. And 2012 will come around just once in our lifetimes. Let’s make it great.