December is here and that means that 2022 is coming fast and furious. As the year comes to a close, it’s important to take a moment to look at how you are going to approach the new year. Here are 9 things to consider that will help you shape your 2022 business strategy!
#1: Reflect on how you had to change things up this past year
While 2020 was tough, 2021 didn’t back down. Most businesses had to adapt even further this past year. As we are all eagerly anticipating settling into a new normal, you need to look back and take note of the changes you implemented – not only in your marketing, but also in your business operations – in 2021.
#2: Be honest with what worked and what didn’t in 2021
I feel like a broken record every year when I talk about how to move forward into the next year. But I am going to say it over and over again, and then I am going to say it again… Before heading into the new year you need to look back and see what worked and what didn’t. It’s important to be honest with yourself so you can move forward knowing the pros and cons of everything. Everything you do should be a learning opportunity.
#3: Set your 2022 business goals
New year, new goals. Of course, you need to have long-term goals that look beyond a year, but setting shorter term goals to work towards in 2022 will help to keep you on track. Focus on setting SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Timely) so you can really identify when you are successful. It also helps you to track your progress along the way. If you don’t set SMART goals and you just set vague goals that don’t have timelines, you’re wasting your time.
#4: Set Relevant goals
Part of setting SMART goals is to make sure they are relevant. That means that they need to be relevant to your business and the needs of your customers. Work towards goals that will help you grow.
It’s also an important reminder that your goals should be purpose driven in a way that goes beyond your product features. While you need to bring in money, you should also remember that your customers are looking for brands to be loyal to.
#5: Get your contingencies in place (We see you pandemic…)
I don’t think I need to remind you of how much you have had to pivot and adapt over the past two years. You don’t need to prove to anyone that you are a superhero, but you have proven you are resilient. Get your contingencies in place. We never know when a global pandemic will hit or when disaster will strike. Contingency planning doesn’t mean living in fear of what could happen. It means that you have thought about it, put it down on paper, and you can put it away in a drawer in the back of your files (and mind) until you need help.
#6: Meet your customers’ expectations
You need to tailor your customer experience from start to finish. That means identifying the ways their behaviour has shifted over the past two years. While we discussed shifting behaviours at the beginning of the pandemic, we’re now in a weird grey area where things are opening up, we have vaccinations, and now businesses are trying to establish some sort of normalcy and consistency. But you have to remember that your customers are also in the same state of mind. Some of your customers have fully embraced life opening up and others are still extremely cautious. You need to find a happy medium to build an experience that all of your customers will enjoy.
#7: Make sure you’re working well across channels
We live in a multi-screen world with a lot of distractions. Your customers are scrolling Instagram while they are watching their favourite TV shows. They’re working while listening to podcasts. They’re grocery shopping online while streaming a movie. You need to know how your customers are consuming content so you can build a strategy that will have the most impact. It needs to be seamless across all channels to create a consistent experience for your customers.
In addition to consistency, building a strategy with multiple channels in mind means you can find efficiencies to make your life a whole lot easier!
#8: Continue building your digital strategy
For many businesses, 2020 and 2021 was either the launch of a new digital strategy or a full overhaul. So many businesses built websites and launched on social media. The reality is that your customers are now accustomed to the digital world. Regardless of in-person activity resuming, the only way we’re getting away from a digital world is if the internet somehow shuts down or we lose power and are thrown back into the dark ages. Figure out where your audience hangs out online and be there. If you launched something new in the digital world this past year, look at the data and figure out what content performed best for you. Chances are video stats were on fire…
On the flip side of things, learn how to say no. Building your strategy doesn’t necessarily mean adding a bunch of social media platforms. You can also add to your strategy by creating more content that resonates with your audience – like writing more blogs every month or adding an extra post or two to your social media platforms. Remember that you don’t need to be everywhere, but you do need to be consistent and engaging on the digital channels you choose to use.
#9: Identify new opportunities to explore
And last, but certainly not least… Find new opportunities for 2022! If business is going well, don’t rest for too long because you always have to be thinking ahead. If business is not going well, are there opportunities that might take you out of your comfort zone? Maybe you are missing out on something really amazing because you are afraid to take that first step.
At the risk of sounding like I am telling you to make New Year’s Resolutions (I have mixed feelings about those…), make 2022 the year you push yourself to go further, grow bigger, and get closer to your ultimate goals.
Candace Huntly is Founding Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.