Some of my favorite stories to read at the end of the year are articles that look back at the year that was. It seems like every publication writes at least one “Year in Review” article.
I find them interesting for two reasons. First, I have a terrible, terrible memory. Unless an event, product or day connects with me in a significant way, I probably will forget it happened. For example, I can tell you where I was when the Red Sox won the 2004 World Series, but I have no idea who won the 2014 World Series.
Second, these lists are a great way to compare trends from year to year. What was the most popular kind of music? What were the news stories that we consumed and how did we consume them? What can we learn to make the next year different?
Admittedly, doing this sort of sociological comparison is epically geeky of me. BUT, doing this type of end of the year breakdown is a great way for your business to build on successes and learn from missteps.
You should write your own year in review assessment. I don’t mean physically write a story that chronicles your business's trials and tribulations of 2014 - but a list that you can save on your computer or hang on your wall. Use it as a way remind yourself of what you want to accomplish in 2015.
Your year in review should be an opportunity to go through your records and see what type of advertising and messages people responded to. Was there a coupon or deal that people gravitated to? When customers came into your store for a particular item, what were the top three other items purchased? Your records are more than just notations in a ledger, but a map to future success.
Your social media posts are also a great way to guide next year’s strategy. Check out your Facebook and Twitter analytics to see what posts resonated with your followers. You don’t want to copy the previous year’s message, but knowing how your fans respond to pictures, polls, questions and videos should help you create a winning strategy.
Not everything you did was a hit, but don’t be disappointed by that, instead focus on what you would do differently next year. What didn’t go well, that you thought was going to be a hit? Maybe, in 2015, you change a word or change the deal that you offered. What did you want to try but never did? Now, before 2014 is over, make the time to reexamine these situations.
Don’t think of these as let downs or mistakes, but more as as concepts and strategies that didn’t find their marks. Maybe your event was overshadowed by a big news story or a community event. Maybe, the messaging wasn’t clear or the audience wasn’t right. If you think there that a concept had potential, repackage and see if you get a different result.
Over the next week, try to sneak some time to jot down some notes in between holiday parties. Start working on plans for some 2015 campaigns build around days that you know are going to be busy. What can you do to make those days flourish even more? Afterall, New Year’s resolutions aren’t just for people.
Nick Pizzolato is the Marketing Content Manager at Wicked Local Media Solutions. For questions, topics for future blogs, or to share your favorite moment from the film “Back to the Future,” email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.