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It's December, Do you know where your 2014 marketing goals are?

Holy (expletive), it’s December. When did that happen? I feel like December always sneaks up on me, despite the availability of calendars and the Christmas countdowns that start in August.

So now that it’s the end of the year, it’s time to start evaluating the success or failure of your 2014 goals. Although I really hope you’ve been paying attention to them and actively addressing them throughout the year. I’ve worked with some companies that set goals at the beginning of the year, then never mention them again until the end of the year when it’s time to measure success rates. Bad move.

Ignoring goals throughout the year is the best way to ensure you won’t meet them. This is usually tied to poor goal-planning blunders. So you’re not left crapping your pants next December, I’m going to point out some of the most common ones I see and how you can correct your goal-setting processes for 2015.

Blunder 1: You set the wrong goals to begin with . You didn’t really spend much time analyzing the current market or anticipate the way things might change, and now you’re stuck with goals that are pretty much meaningless.

The Fix: Start your goal planning earlier and adopt a more agile approach. The fact is, market conditions, trends and customer preferences change often, so being too rigid in your goal setting won’t give you leeway to adjust. Tie goals to revenue, but build in some flexibility as to how you’ll accomplish those goals.

Blunder 2: There’s no goal transparency. Leaders often think they’re the sole owner of goals and don’t bother to share them with the rest of the team. Kinda dumb. How will everyone know what they need to accomplish if they have no idea what they’re working toward?

The Fix: Your employees are smart people. Let them in on the high-level conversations about department and company goals, and they’ll have a clearer understanding of how their role fits into the bigger picture. Now you’ve got everyone rowing the boat in the same direction with the same destination in mind.

Blunder 3: You don’t have a plan. So, are your goals going to get accomplished by magic? Nope. It’s all well and good to set nice goals, but without a plan for attacking them, you may as well write your goals on a piece of paper and then promptly throw it away.

The Fix: As you set goals, create a plan for how you can get there. Bring in members of your team and solicit their input for not only what’s attainable, but what strategies and tactics might be taken to achieve them. Again, your people are smart and they know their business. Give them the chance to contribute.

Blunder 4: You haven’t really been tracking your goals. I don’t even know what to say about this. How…? Why…? WHAT IN THE HELL IS THE POINT IF YOU DON’T TRACK IT?

The Fix: For the love of all that is holy, put measures in place to track the progress of your goals throughout the year. Create dashboards, scorecards, whatever works for you. Not only that, but actually respond to the status of goals as things change. Don’t wait until the end of the year to say, “Welp, guess we shoulda done something about that sooner.” You can. You should.

I don’t know how your 2014 went. And if you’re guilty of any of these blunders, maybe you don’t really know either. But take my advice into consideration for 2015, and I guarantee you’ll have better results. Let’s talk next December and see what your pants look like.

Also, if you’re interested in taking a look at my predictions along with industry experts like Craig Rosenberg, Matt Heinz & Ann Handley start here.

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