How to create your crystal ball

Crystal ball with bar graph

The next big thing: taking control of your crystal ball

We all want a look into the future. We want to see what’s coming, both good and bad, so we can be ready for it.

But unless you believe in soothsayers, you’re not going to find that proverbial crystal ball no matter how hard you try. Instead, you’re left to your own devices.

So: What can you do?

Make your own crystal ball, by planning your future.

When you plan your future, you set out to make things happen. You don’t rely on the vagaries of fate. You figure out your goals, and the results you want to achieve, and set yourself and your organization into motion.

Creating your own crystal ball also means setting a course that lets you know step by step if you’re getting closer or if you’ve veered way off track.

With regard to marketing, planning is 100% essential. Otherwise, you’re spending lots of time and money on just hoping that things will work out. And hope, as they say, is not a plan.

If you haven’t already created your marketing plan for 2022, here’s how you can get started on achieving your goals for this year.

The Ultimate Marketing Checklist

For your 2022 marketing, you’ll want to look at your:

    • goals
    • current metrics
    • marketing strategy
    • website
    • brand
    • social presence
    • collateral
    • calendar and budget

Identify and set your goals

As Psychology Today notes,

Written goals provide a road map by which employees can measure their efforts and see how they contribute to the success of work teams and ultimately, to their organizations.

In the same way, goal-setting helps motivate athletes, entrepreneurs, and individuals to achieve at higher levels of difficulty.

People who set goals are highly likely to achieve them, and likelier to feel more motivated by their progress. If you don’t set goals, you can’t measure success, and you run the risk of letting one day after another slide by rather than moving forward on a path that you have laid out. Setting goals helps you determine where you want to go, and how you want to get there.

At Counterintuity, we are fully engaged in the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) management approach. EOS mandates quarterly goals, one-year goals, three-year goals, and even a 10-year goal. We know where we’re going because we’ve already set out these goals and are working to achieve them.

Your goals might include:

    • increasing your marketing outreach
    • growing your revenue
    • serving more people
    • driving your social engagement
    • moving into a new building
    • actually buying the building
    • expanding your offering

It’s best not to have too many, and it’s best to write them simply, around numbers. You want to set goals you will actually pursue — and achieve. We set four separate quarterly sales goals last year and beat every one of them because we knew what they were, we focused on them, and we monitored them every week.

My goal for the gym in 2021 was simple: Just go at least three times a week. Simple but effective. (For 2022, I’m setting higher goals there.)

Some of our clients want more individual donations, while some want more awareness, or other things. These are all worthy goals. We work with them to define what success means to them so that we’ll mutually recognize it when it arrives, and to frame it numerically whenever possible.

While words can have shifting meanings (“cleave” meaning both to cut apart and to hold together, depending upon how it’s used), numbers are pretty cut and dried. You either hit the number or you didn’t.

Analyze your current metrics

To set those goals, you’ll need to know your current metrics. Looking at past years, both good and bad, can help you determine reasonable, attainable improvement.

Regarding your finances, your accounting program will obviously reveal a lot. For us, QuickBooks Online reveals the ups and downs and ins and outs of various elements of every year we’ve been in operation. We can see which of our offerings are growing, and how, and that helps with establishing staffing levels. Looking at your previous performance, you can also set reasonable goals for future performance.

Listing your current metrics enables you to set a baseline: the starting point that can help you compare data and analyze the progress. Applying this sort of systemic review to your marketing reveals other metrics to review now. You could establish the baseline of your:

    • Number of unique visitors to your website
    • Number of qualified leads per month
    • Number of followers on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.
    • Engagement rate among followers
    • Bounce rate from your website
    • Email subscribers
    • Open rate
    • Clickthrough rate

And then decide where you want to drive growth.

Write your marketing strategy

Newly armed with your baseline, and with the goals you’ve set, you’re ready to ask yourself the big question:


How are we going to grow revenue by 20%, or add 5,000 relevant people onto the email list, or increase engagement in our social media, or whatever.

However you answer that “how” makes up your marketing plan.

“We will increase revenue by 20% by developing a referral campaign for existing supporters and by doing outbound marketing into a certain new sector.”

“We will add 5,000 people onto the email list by promoting a desirable, downloadable report to people in exchange for an email signup through our website, and we’ll promote that via our content campaign and an offer on Facebook.” (And to do that, we’ll need some website development and of course writing and designing the download.)

“We will increase engagement in our social media by asking questions that will elicit responses, and then promoting the valuable insights we’ve gathered.”

Once you’ve got that logline, that “We will achieve this by doing that” formula, then you just need to establish the steps required. This should include setting up how you’re going to track that — through a digital marketing platform like HubSpot, or in Excel, or even just with a pad and pen.

Be reassured: No, you do not need to write a giant omnibus marketing strategy. Your marketing strategy may require only a page or two. Frequently in life, simpler is better. You just need to know what you’re going to do, and how you’re going to do it. And then you’re going to attach it to:

Organize your calendar and set a budget

If it’s not on your calendar, it doesn’t exist.

If it’s not budgeted, it’s not going to happen.

Otherwise, it’s out of sight and out of mind.

Now, your definition of “calendar” may vary. But whether you use project tracking software, as we do, or what’s on your iPhone, or even a datebook or a company whiteboard, somewhere it has to be noted what needs to be done, and when.  Because otherwise it won’t get done.

And if you’ve allocated exactly zero resources to it, in money and in time, you haven’t fueled it, you’re not serious about it, and it won’t happen. If you need website development, have you calendared it and budgeted it? How about that content campaign that’s going to increase your awareness?

Here’s the better way to be: If you’re determined to forge your own fate rather than merely hope it happens, and you’ve figured out what you need to do, then attach dates and money and time to it and do it.

Establish your marketing presence

As part of your annual review and goal-setting, and paving the way for the future you want, you’re going to assess the current state of your marketing. Whatever you find, just know this:  We can all do better. There’s no need to think of this exercise as a version of “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

Take a look at your collateral and ask yourself if you like it. Does it look like your organization? Sound like it? Do others who work with you like it? Did your intended audience like it? Does it accurately reflect who you are and what you do, and does it do that right away in a startling way that makes people take notice?

It should do all of those things.

When you find some of it that doesn’t — and you will find some of it that doesn’t — you shouldn’t despair. You should prioritize. Ask yourself: How important is it that I fix this right now? How far off the mark is it, and when does it make sense to address this? Because you can’t do everything, and you certainly can’t do everything all at once.

You should apply that sort of rule-of-thumb prioritization to all of your marketing presence:

    • Your positioning
    • Your voice
    • Your brand
    • Your collateral, both digital and print

And then make a plan — in your 2022 marketing strategy — for tackling the most important pieces that need to change. Now that you know what your goals are, you can see which elements are essential to meeting those goals.

If you’re planning to put out a new product /service offering, maybe you don’t need an entirely new website — rather than full website development maybe you can add a new landing page expressly for the new offering, and do a redesign of just your home page to help promote it.

Instead of ditching your entire PowerPoint presentation, maybe you can just update the look and swap out some slides.

Perhaps your logo and tagline don’t quite scream YOU, but it’s not the biggest deal for 2022.

On the other hand, if the key to unlocking greater revenue is getting more eyeballs and your social designs are a disaster? Then you’d better do that update.

Acknowledge your achievement

When my eldest moved out of the house, he packed up some of his high school trophies… but I found others in the trash. Those he didn’t want, he said, because he hadn’t earned them. They were participation trophies.

Here’s what we’ve learned about most of the people we’ve worked with:

You’re in the role you’re in, yes, to make money — but also to make an impact on the people you work with, the people you connect with, and the world at large.

Meeting your goals will translate into making an even greater impact, and feeling the pride of accomplishment that comes with it.

Which will make for a very attractive vision in your crystal ball.

Ready to create your future? We’re happy to help. Reach out if you have questions.

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