...And We're Off

It's 2017 - time to clear the cobwebs, put away the holiday decorations and get back to work.  If you've been out of business mode for a while the last thing you were thinking of was how 2017 was going to go for your company.  Now is the time to switch that part of your brain on and get back to it!

Most marketers get jolted out of their holiday slumber with a flurry of requests as their clients get back online.  You may be in reactive mode for a bit and your team may still be getting their work legs underneath them, but as a marketing leader there are some ways to make sure you don't end up staring at the 6 inches in front of your face for the whole year.

1.  Get in front of your key customers early - it's very important that you have the buy-in of the executives who will be part of your success in 2017 early and often.  If you have not finished your plan or budget you need to press for that closure or at a minimum get meetings with them to put marketing on their minds and get some ideas that can get you and your team going.

2.  Create your own momentum - if you aren't getting a lot of direction or don't have a great deal of clarity about the coming year I would bet there are some fundamental things that your team needs to do to get ready for the year.  Like spring training in baseball, getting the basic things down that you absolutely know you need will free up time and brains when the wave hits.

3.  Get some early wins - don't wait to put victories on the board in March or April.  Having some accomplishments, regardless of their size, will keep marketing top of mind and therefore relevant and integral to the business's success.  With so much flying at people early in the year, a bit of self promotion is warranted.

4.  Assess your team - this is typically the time of year that HR begins to ask for reviews and you have to start thinking about team additions, and it's a healthy exercise to look at your current team and see who are the leaders and the high potentials as well as those who need development or perhaps need to be moved.  Being proactive about this early in the year helps you avoid talents gaps or shortfalls as the year progresses.

5.  Celebrate last year - I think most of us forget about the prior year once it's gone, but I think there's a lot of merit of pulling your team together and showing all the great things that happened in the prior year.  It gives them motivation for the mountain of work that's coming their way and validates all the effort you put in last year.  You don't have to recreate scenes from the movie "Office Christmas Party" - some pizzas will do just fine.

Here's hoping all of you have a great and successful 2017!