By Peggy Bekavac Olson
A s each year passes, time flies by faster, and last year was no exception. As the dawn breaks on 2011, I've been reflecting and working on making personal and business New Year's resolutions, as well as helping some of my clients make marketing resolutions for their businesses. All this thinking piqued my curiosity about the origins of New Year's resolutions, so I fired up my computer and googled to search for an answer.
Encyclopedia Britannica and the International World History Project recognize New Year's as the oldest of all holidays. The first recorded evidence of its celebration was found inscribed in cuneiform on ancient Babylonian clay tablets dating back to around 2000 B.C. - yes, that's four thousand years ago. The Babylonians believed that what a person does on the first day of a new year will affect what he or she does throughout the year.
According to the Encyclopedia Mythica and Roman Colosseum websites, the tradition of making New Year's resolutions originated in 153 B.C., when the early Romans named the first calendar month after Janus and declared January 1 as the start of the year. In Roman mythology, Janus is the god of beginnings and endings and the guardian of entrances and exits. With two faces, one on the front of his head and the other on the back, Janus could look both forward and backward simultaneously.
Early Romans who worshiped Janus believed that with his help, they could look back on the events of the past and receive forgiveness, while at the same time look forward to the New Year and pledge to better themselves. Janus represents transitions: balancing hopes for tomorrow with a keen awareness of what happened yesterday. This evolved over time into Janus becoming a symbol for New Year's resolutions.
Making New Year's resolutions today is an annual ritual of deep, honest assessment and a desire to do better, which is often combined with goal setting. People typically make personal New Year's resolutions like spending more time with family, getting fit, losing weight, quitting smoking or drinking, and finding a better job.
Companies like yours and mine commonly use the annual business planning process to make resolutions and set quantifiable goals. These resolutions frequently revolve around revenue generation, product development, employee number growth, investor return and more, with the hopes of moving closer to achieving corporate missions and objectives.
Since this article began to take shape while I was working on New Year's marketing resolutions for some clients, I'd like to offer a few resolutions for you to consider that can help propel your business. These resolutions encompass some of the basic building blocks of marketing. Even though they may sound intuitive and somewhat trivial, you'd be surprised at how many companies don't have them solidly in place.
Resolution 2: Build a strong, professional corporate identity (logo mark and color scheme) that properly reflects your brand visually.
Resolution 3: Create corporate identity and brand messaging guidelines so your marketing team, employees, freelancers and outside agencies can deliver consistently across all marketing channels and tactics employed.
Resolution 4: Align sales and marketing teams and activities so they are harmoniously integrated and pursuing common revenue goals and growth objectives.
Resolution 5: Create an integrated marketing and communications plan with a deliverables calendar for 2011. Specify all the channels, initiatives, tactics and activities you will use to support your business goals and sales objectives. Assign responsibilities for completion of the actual work.
Resolution 6: Develop a budget and secure funding for your marketing plan.
Resolution 7: Execute, execute, execute. Be disciplined. Make the time and exert the effort.
Resolution 8: Measure your marketing results at least once a quarter and make adjustments accordingly.
We're already a couple of weeks into 2011, but that doesn't mean it's too late to make resolutions. There's no need to start worshiping the mythological god Janus, but some serious reflection on past marketing efforts and consideration of the list provided will shine a brighter light on the New Year's resolutions that will give you the edge to start the year off right.
Mark my words: these resolutions, when committed to, will help your marketing efforts to deliver better than ever and produce top notch results.
Your success is too important to be left to chance. Businesses that make meaningful resolutions are more likely to achieve their goals than those that make no such commitment whatsoever.
Here's hoping you make some New Year's marketing resolutions and that you have a fantastic 2011.
Peggy Bekavac Olson is the founder of Strategic Marketing, a full-service marketing and communications firm specializing in financial services and electronic payments companies, after serving as Vice President of Marketing and Communications for TSYS Acquiring Solutions for more than five years. She can be reached at 480-706-0816 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Information about Strategic Marketing can be found at www.smktg.com.
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