New Year’s Resolutions
by Ian Doescher
I’m not a huge one for New Year’s resolutions. I usually go on a little diet in January—which is why I’m a little grumpy right now—but I leave official resolutions to others. Anyway, we’ve all heard the statistics about how few New Year’s resolutions actually make it through the year (or even to February, for that matter), so why make them in the first place? However, not making my own New Year’s resolutions doesn’t stop me from making recommendations for others. So here goes: here are three recommendations for you for 2014:
1. Insist on good design. Somebody asked me recently what I think Pivot does best, what our top strength is, and my answer was easy: our designers. I would put Pivot’s designers up against just about any other designers for any other company. They make everything we do—our copywriting (which is awesome, by the way, said a copywriter), our marketing strategy, our web programming, all of it—look fantastic. If you spend money on anything that you don’t currently have in your arsenal, let it be good design. Nothing makes your company look bad like bad design, and nothing makes you look sharp, professional and reliable like good design. Good design covers a multitude of other marketing problems. Don’t settle for poor design. Just don’t.
2. Review your website content. I won’t try to convince you to redesign your website. Yes, you might need a website, and sure, we would do a great job redesigning it for you. But that’s a big commitment, so at least resolve to review the content on your website. So often, we redesign a client’s website and learn that they haven’t actually looked at the content on their site in years. It’s so easy to let that happen: you put off updating something small because you’re so busy, then you put off updating ten small things. Then something goes wrong: somebody leaves your company, or your website company goes out of business, or everyone loses the password to your site. Before you know it, it has been three years and the prices, products and information on your site are terribly out of date. You don’t want to open your site in a browser because you know how awful it will be to look at it. In 2014, review that content and update it, even if that means getting a little help from a professional to access your site in the first place. You owe it to yourself, but more importantly you owe it to your customers. Almost nothing is worse for business than a website that actually hurts you.
3. Check in with your customers. I don’t know much about research, I admit. The folks who work in research for Pivot are incredibly talented, and honestly I hardly ever interact with them. But one thing they have taught me is the importance of research; it ought to be the first step of almost any marketing effort. When was the last time you asked your customers how you’re doing, what you’re doing well and what you can improve? It’s easy to keep your head down and get into such a groove (or rut) that you forget to focus on the most important people of your business: the customers. However, we all know that you ignore your customers at your peril. Customer satisfaction surveys are as simple as running a free survey online or as detailed as hiring a professional research agency (I happen to know a great one). Do yourself a favor this year and ask your customers how you are doing. Maybe the answer will lead to even more New Year’s resolutions.
Happy New Year! And I hope you’ll make some resolutions and keep them in 2014.