I was listening to the radio the other week and heard the announcer say that a lot of new year’s resolutions are already broken by January 8th. But apparently it’s the third Friday in January on which most of us collectively crumble in our resolve, a day that’s been dubbed Fail Friday.

So why do so many people fail in their resolutions, from aspiring to be leaner and fitter to achieving a better worklife balance? It seems that for many, their goals are just too big or their list is just too vague and long! And it’s not just individuals that are guilty of resolving to make changes come the new year, it’s companies too. January is frequently seen as a time to health-check business processes, make predictions, create new marketing strategies.

And such aspirations in themselves are not always misguided, the trick to setting and achieving goals though is in applying the SMART method.

Specific

Measurable

Achievable

Relevant

Time-dependent

If your marketing ambition for 2017 goes something like this: “we’re going to start using social media as a sales platform,” then you’ll soon realise how generic this sounds and how much more meat needs to be put on the carcase.

Applying SMART principles you’d need to define which social media channel specifically; just Facebook or Instagram too? How will you determine and measure success, purely on numbers of units sold, or margin, or customer insight, or reviews?

If you are already selling online then it’s likely that you have the back office infrastructure to deliver on your new sales channel. But if you’re a start-up without ecommerce resources then for your goal to be achievable might require you to work with a third party app provider. Will you have enough stock to cater for this new channel, could your website crash through the increased traffic? Do you have the right culture, environment and experienced staff to fulfil social media sales?

You’d need to ask yourself if selling through social media is really relevant to your target audience, or is there a more traditional vehicle that could deliver equally effective results?

Is the product or service that you are selling time-dependent i.e. summer holidays, which would affect your window of opportunity? Answering such questions enables you to identify the specific steps you need to take to achieve your objective. As Benjamin Franklin said: “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”

Every January, millions of people and companies reflect on their previous year’s performance and resolve to make changes come the new year. Marketing resolutions as simple as ensuring that your website is more mobile friendly, to as complex and far-reaching as undertaking a major rebrand.

Whatever your aspirations, you want to give yourself the best chance of avoiding ‘Fail Friday’. So maybe best to steer well of the business equivalent of ‘lose 10kg in 2 weeks’! Be realistic in your resolutions and if you need to buddy up with someone that could help knock your marketing into shape we’d happily step up and be your ‘personal trainer’.