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  • AMi Direct

AMiable Solution #348: Setting Realistic Goals for 2020

Want to look and feel like a rock start next year? Start this week with our seven tips for setting—and ultimately achieving—your marketing goals for 2020. To submit your own direct marketing challenge for a professional, outsider's perspective, email us at

Goals. Now that we’re halfway through November, you’ve probably found yourself thinking a lot about goals: assessing the ones you made for 2019 and tinkering with the ones you’ve identified for 2020.

If you find yourself smiling and feeling good about the goals you set in 2019, congratulations! You obviously had a clear plan for the year, near-flawless execution, and expected results.

But if you find yourself scratching your head, wondering what went wrong, we’d like to ask you a question: how realistic were your goals to begin with?

Setting overly ambitious or vague goals not only makes them harder to achieve, but it also makes it harder on you to recover from, emotionally and psychologically.

According to the public relations and digital marketing strategy experts at Koch Communications in Oklahoma City, “Some (marketers) set lofty, unattainable goals and end up discouraged, or they set goals that are too easy and insignificant, causing them to miss out on potential growth.”

As you continue to evaluate the success of your marketing strategies and campaigns for this year, keep the following tips in mind to help you set goals you can feel confident about next year:

· Estimate your time, and then add a few days. We all tend to underestimate how long something will take, and you will inevitably encounter at least one setback, distraction, or unexpected crisis. Give yourself a little extra time to achieve your goal, and be sure to celebrate when you reach your goal early.

· Create a plan for worst-case scenarios. Having a back-up plan, particularly for large projects, lengthy projects, or projects involving multiple groups or outside vendors not only forces you to consider all of the possible outcomes of your plan, but it frees you to solve those problems—or at least come up with possible solutions—now, while you’re still calm and confident, not during the midst of the crisis.

· Check your resources before you start. Do you have the time, resources, and budget you need to accomplish everything? Before you set a goal, make sure you have what you need to see it through, or at least have a plan in place for hiring additional staff members, identifying the right vendors, etc., before setting the goal in stone. If you don’t, you could be setting yourself up for failure before the new year even begins.

· Share your goals with everyone. Communicating your goals with the rest of your marketing team, your designers, your executives, and your customer service reps helps get everyone on board now and provides an opportunity for others to identify possible problems or make valuable suggestions ahead of time.

· Monitor your progress. Take time throughout the project and the year to make sure that you’re on track and that things are going as expected. If they’re not, then you still have time to make adjustments and meet the goal.

· Monitor everyone else’s progress. If your goal depends on the work of others, monitor their progress regularly, too. Everyone has their own goals and priorities and can stray from your projected vision. If you find that folks aren’t doing their part, gently remind them of their responsibilities and get them back on track.

· Have a clear vision, not a rough idea. If you really want to make a difference with your marketing, you have to know exactly what results you want. That means setting specific goals with measurable results. It means basing your marketing goals on your business’s overall goals. Serious achievers don’t say, “I want to lose weight by Christmas.” They say, “I want to exercise 5 times a week, drink at least 70 ounces of water a day, and lose 10 pounds by Christmas.” To truly grow your market and your company, you have to know exactly what you plan to do and be able to track how you did it.

No one likes falling short of a goal. Help your company—and your department—rock the new year with thoughtfully crafted, easily trackable, and well-supported goals.

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