Yes, it's August, but any smart business owner will tell you that it's already time to start making preparations for next year! As we inch closer and closer to the year 2020, we're sure that you'll hear the word “renew” get tossed around frequently in the business world. Unfortunately, after years of being used so often, the spark these words once ignited begins to dim. The implications behind them lose their power, causing their true meanings to become hazy.
In our opinion, that’s what has happened with the whole idea of “renewing” in terms of business. Too often, business owners and marketers roll their eyes at the thought of renewing their current strategies. They have thoughts like, “What we’re doing right now is good enough for us.” But is that really how anyone should view themselves? Just good enough? Today, we want to add meaning back to the watered down concept of renewal so that businesses will once again take it seriously.
The Meaning of Renewal
At the risk of sounding like the most cliché speech of all time, we’d like to start with Webster’s definition of the word renew: “to make like new; to restore to freshness, vigor, or perfection.” While renewing could involve redefinition, it doesn’t always have to be that drastic. Renewing can simply mean that you’re adding in a new, fresh idea or removing an old, outdated tactic.
Practically speaking, what does effective renewing look like? Maybe for your business, this equates to realizing your need for an up-to-date, compelling website that is optimized for multiple platforms. Or maybe it means renewing your current advertising contracts, so that your business’ marketing will continue to bring in new business. Or maybe it does mean redefinition: A full facelift for your logo, a responsive website, or fresh creative for a new, digital campaign.
Renewal is a Year-Round Concept
One of the biggest misconceptions about the concept of “renewing” is that it’s something that businesses only do at the end of the year. It does make sense that fourth quarter is a good time to reflect on the past and look to the future with a new perspective; however, truly successful businesses understand that renewing is more of a year-round, state of mind.
Businesses should always be examining their day-to-day operations and marketing strategies, searching for areas that need some form of renewal. By doing so, businesses can remain well-prepared and equipped for any changes that arise throughout the year. This mindset also allows businesses to maintain relevancy in their market by helping them to stay up-to-date on current marketing trends. Overall, this “renewal state of mind” is key for businesses who want to stay ahead of their competition and not just survive, but thrive, during every month of the year.
How to Cultivate a “Renewal State of Mind”
Safeguard your business against the lie that thinking from a “renewal” perspective only comes at the end of the year. Stay in a “renewal state of mind” by consistently (and frequently!) implementing these three self-examination strategies:
1. Examine Your Marketing ROI. "Is our marketing really working? Has our advertising become stale? Are our ads still bringing in new customers, or do we need to freshen things up?" Not knowing exact answers to these questions at any given point during the year is simply dangerous. Your marketing must be closely monitored to ensure that it is doing what it is supposed to: Bringing in results! Failure to set up the right marketing ROI (return on investment) goals and metrics can lead to sunk marketing costs and a lack of new business. This further proves that careful examination of your marketing ROI is a practice that should be implemented throughout the year.
At Zimmer, we understand the importance of thinking in a “renewal state of mind” and because of that, we are committed to accurately tracking all of our clients’ marketing ROI to ensure that their advertising is still effective. We are diligent in setting clear and specific goals, then examining these numbers multiple times throughout the year. If your current marketing partner is not doing the same, it may be a sign that they are not looking out for your best interests.
2. Examine Your Marketing Bridge. While effective advertising is vital to the success of any business, it’s important to remember that much is required on the business’ end in order to ensure a successful marketing campaign. Businesses must constantly inspect and carefully critique themselves from their customers’ point of view. The most effective tool for helping businesses stay accountable in this way is “The Marketing Bridge.”
The Marketing Bridge is made up of everything that connects you to your customers (and prospective customers). That means, literally, every aspect of your business. It’s composed of five categories, including: Your Business, Price/Value, Merchandising, Personal Selling, and Advertising. These five factors are the forces that must combine in order for your business to make a sale. Your business’ ability (or inability) to strengthen each of these individual categories will ultimately determine the success (or demise) of your business. By consistently examining these areas throughout the year, your business can determine whether or not certain aspects of your company need to be freshened up and renewed.
3. Examine Your SMART Goals. Does your business currently set SMART goals? You should! SMART goals allow businesses to develop laser-like focus. They outline a specific path to success, help owners (and employees) stay on course in a timely fashion, and best of all, make vague goal tracking a thing of the past. SMART goals are specific, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound. Businesses who set their goals with these guidelines in mind are destined to see results.
The concept of setting SMART goals closely aligns with staying in a “renewal state of mind.” To read about setting SMART goals in more detail, click here.
Hopefully, this post has reignited your belief in the concept of renewing and has changed your perspective of it: It’s a state of mind, not a one-time act. By regularly implementing the three strategies above, it will be easy to identify and implement renewed changes to your business that could mean year-round increases in productivity and your overall sales.