The way you approach the next six months could make or break your 2024.
The other day, I saw a headline that read something like, Scientists believe the Earth is starting to spin faster.
Clickbait? Probably – how would that even happen? But when mid-summer arrives (and how did we already get here, by the way?!), time certainly feels like it moves more quickly. Q3 will disappear faster than a new round of Taylor Swift tickets, and 2024 will be here before we know it.
You might think that means you need to double down on execution and accelerate your tactical efforts before the end of the year. But I’d argue the opposite.
If you can pull yourself out of the day-to-day weeds, you can create a definitive head start for your firm by doing what no one else is doing during this time, which is laser focusing on strategy.
It might feel counterintuitive, but pumping the brakes and taking a step back now will allow you to move faster in the long run – without stumbling over mistakes your competitors are going to make because they didn’t do the foundational strategic work first.
Prioritize these six initiatives between now and December to set your firm up for success in January:
1. Assess what worked and what didn’t. With six months of the year behind us, you should have enough data available to identify content trends, your best- and worst-performing channels, and opportunities to capture market share, as well as to analyze client feedback to determine what needs to be on your 2024 roadmap.
2. Be aware of revenue goals for next year. Once you understand your revenue targets, you can back into the budget you’ll need to reach them. Make sure this exercise includes collaborating with other departments to determine upcoming key initiatives, like rebranding, acquisitions, and product launches, that will require an allocation of marketing spend.
3. Scrub your CRM. The last thing you want to deal with on the first day of the new year is a tangled mess of email lists and contact information. Make sure your lists are clean, organized and segmented properly so you can hit the ground running with newsletters and highly targeted campaigns to an engaged audience. Review all of your nurture campaigns to make sure they’re firing correctly and that the content is fresh and optimized.
4. Get your brand house in order. This doesn’t have to be a months-long project; it can be as simple as gathering your logo, color palette, and brand fonts, as well as any distinctions to your copy style, together in one place. Standardizing your brand elements will exponentially accelerate your ability to get more creative out the door.
You should also take this time to revisit, refine, or develop your brand’s messaging guide. Identify your firm’s differentiators and ask your top customers why they love working with you to create messaging for your brand that’s both original and authentic.
5. Pressure-test your lead handoff process. Gaps in your marketing-to-sales handoff process can create significant missed revenue opportunities, so it’s worth spending the time to identify and address any trouble spots. Coordinate with your sales team to walk through exactly what happens when a qualified lead is passed from marketing to sales, and look for any opportunities to reduce friction for prospects. You can also test this yourself by filling out a high-intent form (request a demo or contact us) on your website.
6. Look for outsourcing opportunities. Not only does outsourcing alleviate pressure on your in-house team, but it’s also a budget-friendly way to introduce a broad range of subject matter expertise to your marketing efforts. Whether you need help building digital campaigns, creating content, planning events, or something else entirely, your earlier work assessing performance and budget can help you decide what to outsource and where to turn.
I’ll also add one tactical recommendation to this strategic list: Start executing on your holiday campaigns now. I can’t even count the number of firms I’ve seen scramble when Thanksgiving hits because they haven’t started thinking about what they want to do for the holidays, both from a campaign perspective and for their clients and employees. Instead of adding more stress to an already high-tension time of year, start putting the pieces in place now so the heavy lifting is done by the time the holidays roll around.
How you spend the next six months matters. Choose wisely.