Q1 Check-in: How’s it going?

It seems like just yesterday we had party hats on and were celebrating the New Year. Indeed, the first quarter of 2013 is nearly complete and it’s time to review the numbers and reflect on your marketing communications strategy to see if your goals are being met.

For many, quarterly check-ins are much like a reality check. It helps put your business into perspective and once again reignite the flame for making sure all of your goals are met.

If you lack the direction for where to begin, then I’ve come up with five tips to help with your Q1 review process.

Review your goals outlined for 2013.
Break out that written marketing communications strategy and take a look at the goals for 2013. As the year progresses and things get busy, we might forget about some of the goals that were outlined for the year. Taking a look might remind of you where you’re on-track and where your business is under performing.

Dig into the numbers.
This part might be the most exciting or upsetting part of your review. Figuring out where you stand year-to-date is crucial to understanding progress toward achieving your annual goals.

If the numbers are a bit discouraging for the year, hope might not be lost. It could indicate that you’ve set your goals too high to begin with. Compare the stats to same time frame in 2012 and previous years and make a call whether or not your goals need to be adjusted.

Determine which tactics are working, and which are not.
Your written strategy should outline how you are going to reach your goals, and who is responsible with timelines and budgets. Review these tactics and make sure you’re on-schedule and nothing was missed.

During this review, look to see how each performed. Measurements may vary, so try to identify return-on-investment and nix what hasn’t produced any results and reassess your approach.

Make sure everyone is on the same page.
Talk with your team and update everyone with your findings. Your team might have insight into why performance is the way it is, or recommendations on how to make adjustments moving forward. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to remind your team on your goals for the year.

Don’t drop the ball the rest of the year.
Now that you’ve taken the time to learn more about how your business is performing, don’t miss out on another chance to make things happen.

If you fail to include (and stick with) a system for monitoring your program, you could potentially end up at the end of the year with less than desirable results. So, I remind you to include methods of ensuring success via consistent monitoring and analyzing your reports.

Managing your business is not always an easy task, but having a written strategy sure makes things easier. Never forget about your plan and always reference back. That’s what it’s there for.