2013 New Year’s Resolutions for Consulting Firms

As we approach the end of 2012, many consulting firms are beginning to evaluate their marketing communication success and failures. Striking the right balance of new and traditional tactics can be tricky but as we approach a new calendar year, it is time for marketing communication teams to evaluate new ways of thinking to transform their business while engaging with clients and prospects.

To that and, here are some New Year’s resolutions to consider:

1)      Resolve to relate your communication goals to your business goals. At the surface, it seems like every communication plan should be aligned to your business’ goals, but all too often sales and marketing create their strategies in silos. Make 2013 the year that your communication plan is collaborative. Invite others outside your traditional team into your brainstorming process. Often sales team members are a perfect complement to communication strategy brainstorms because they are your organization’s front line operations that speak to clients and prospects on a regular basis. You should ask them:

  •  How do you plan to sell our services in 2013? Are there any new strategies you are employing?
  • What are our customers and prospects saying? What are we doing well and where are we losing business to competitors?
  • How are we aligning our business? Is there going to be a new focus on industries in 2013?
  • Bonus Question: How can we help you?  This one is very important and will only make securing customer testimonials and spokespeople easier.

Once you are able to answer these questions you should align your strategies and tactics to the preferred communication method for these subsets of your audience. This brings me to my next resolution…

2)      Ensure that your communication strategy speaks to all your demographics. We all consume information differently and so do our audiences. A successful communication strategy speaks to each audience in the language they understand. I am not talking about translating your marketing materials into foreign languages but rather understanding how your audience consumes information. From e-books to mobile apps to microsites, there are a variety of options for publishing your content. In 2013, ensure that your content is as optimized as possible to meet the needs of your audiences and to attract new clients. And while you’re optimizing your content with your current audiences in mind…

3)      Make 2013 the year you implement one new publishing medium. You might already be doing an excellent job reaching your current audiences, but adding a new content distribution channel could expose your brand to an even larger audience. Consider expanding your thought leadership platform to include new elements like video, self-publishing or social media. Speaking of social media…

4)      Focus on simplification, 140 characters at a time. It is easy to craft messages that resonate internally or with customers that are intimately aware of your business. Crafting messages that specific, or filled with ‘insider’ lingo, can alienate new or potential customers. If social media has taught us anything over the last few years, it’s that concise, simple messages resonate. Not sure if your message is too complex? Try distilling it down to a Tweet. If you can’t fit it into 140 characters reassess your message. But maybe you like talking things out…

5)      Meet more media face to face.  I have always encouraged people to have casual meetings with members of the media. As integrated communication professional, media are our true litmus test. If a message does not resound with them, it’s likely that it will not resonate with clients or prospects. Set time aside in 2013 to meet with a handful of media face to face without an agenda. Use this as an opportunity to learn what makes them tick, how they like to be pitched and any other idiosyncrasies specific to them or their publication. Personal relationships are always the strongest, so make 2013 the year you build your relationship bench.

These are just a handful of resolutions for the New Year. What are your business resolutions?