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Align marketing, strategic goals for your Vail business

Kelly Coffey
Vail, CO

In many of my columns, no matter the topic, I stress the need to link marketing strategy with business goals.

It doesn’t matter if you’re planning a Web site, activating a sponsorship, or figuring out if you should buy more ads in the newspaper. These strategies all need to align with your goals, otherwise they’ll likely waste money.

Goals give you a target to aim for. They make it easier for you to see the correct path. And being able to see where you’re going makes decision-making much easier: if I do this, will it bring me closer or further away from my goal?

With infinite possibilities of options for your marketing dollars, it’s crucial to pick the right options that will be best for the health of your company. For every dollar you spend on marketing, ask yourself, “How will this bring my business closer to its goals?” If you can’t come up with a good answer, save the dollar.

The first step is to make sure your business has defined goals. They need to be big, yet achievable. What’s stopping you from being the largest plumbing service in Eagle County? Or even Colorado?

Your goals need to be specific and detailed. The more detailed your goals are, the easier they are to visualize. It’s worth repeating: if you can see what success is, you can make the right decisions to get there. A vague goal will keep you floundering around.

Your goals need to be measurable. Otherwise, how do you know when you accomplished your goal? Wanting to be the best plumber is one thing. But how will you define best?

Vail Mountain’s goal is to be the best ski resort. It measures that goal by focusing on being ranked #1 in Ski Magazine’s annual rankings. Instead of blindly trying to be the best they can be, now they can focus on the criteria that Ski Magazine uses to rank the resorts: grooming, food, customer service and so on.

Vail then needs to communicate those goals to their employees correctly. Everyone in the company, from the line cook to the snowcat driver to the CFO can figure out what he or she needs to do to get closer to that goal. Do the same for yourself and your employees: rephrase that goal into statements that are measurable ” annual sales, repeat customer percentage, number of clients.

Finally, don’t forget to give yourself a deadline. A deadline looming over your head makes sure you’ll get the things done today. Without the deadline, you can always put it off until tomorrow.

With concrete, measurable goals it’s much easier to wade through those infinite marketing options. When you design your Web site, you will know what message should be on the home page. You’ll know what customers you want to attract and what they’ll want to get from your Web site. You can then design the site to give them the stuff they need quickly without them sloshing through the stuff they don’t want.

When a non-profit offers a sponsorship for an event, you will know if it is right for you. Are the attendees your target market? Does the non-profit’s values align with your company’s values? How can your company interact with the event’s attendees to turn them into customers? How will that sponsorship bring you closer to your goals?

Your company’s goal might be to make enough money this month to keep the lights on next month. And that goal might keep your company afloat. But if you set goals that you need to stretch for, your company will grow and thrive, not just survive. To make your business thrive, every marketing decision you make needs to bring you closer to those goals.

Kelly Coffey is the founder of Harebrained Marketing, a firm that specializes in connecting local businesses with local customers. Reach him at Kelly@harebrainedmarketing.com or (970) 926-0888. For more marketing tips, resources, and to sign up for his newsletter, visit http://www.harebrainedmarketing.com.


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