Be the Author of Your Marketing Success in 2019
in Marketing & Communications
By: Marissa Anema, NJCUL Vice President, Marketing and Communications

It’s funny how things appear and recur in your life when you need them the most.

I was pondering my accomplishments and struggles of 2018 leading up to New Year’s Eve, and beginning to map out what I think my 2019 should look like, when an article originally published by NPR in 2015 titled “The Writing Assignment That Changes Lives” serendipitously came up in my Facebook feed.  

 file 15
 Ironing out my personal and professional goals over the weekend...
 I even bought myself a "Success and Life Planner" for the first time!

Not only did it remind me of the philosophy “what you are seeking is seeking you,” but it also reminded me that back in 2015, upon reading the original article, I bought the book it discussed, “Maps of Meaning.” I looked mournfully at the mint-condition copy of the book on my shelf. I never even cracked the binding.

Failure on my part.

Personal note: add “Read 'Maps of Meaning'” to your ever-growing list of 2019 resolutions. Noted.

Anyway, the article--which I DID read, now twice--focuses on a researcher at the University of Toronto (and author of said neglected book) who had his students complete a set of writing exercises that combine expressive writing with goal-setting. The researcher, Jordan Peterson, calls the two parts "past authoring" and "future authoring."

This is exactly what I was doing and I didn’t even know it! We all were, weren’t we? Those of us who nostalgically uploaded our “Top Nine” collage of our most-liked photos of 2018 on Instagram; who compiled a list of all our accomplishments and transitions over the past year, crafting mini creative non-fiction Facebook posts; who remembered the forgotten resolutions of the early days of 2018 and with cheeks flush with embarrassment, realized you didn’t even scratch the surface of half of them…ok that last one was just me.

We were "past authoring,” reflecting on important moments in our past; defining ourselves by what we’ve been through over the past 12 months as we transition to a new calendar year. The next step is "future authoring,” identifying key personal motivations to create plans for the future, including specific goals and strategies to overcome obstacles.

This theory can--and should--be put into practice when evaluating your past marketing efforts and whilst ironing out your 2019 plan. I know, I know, it took a while for me to loop that in. Call it dramatic build. And that’s also the first time I used “whilst” in a sentence. I’ve been binging Sherlock Holmes. Don’t judge.

I digress…what this all comes down to is: define and write down your marketing goals.

Look back on your marketing “resolutions” of late 2017/early 2018. Did you reach those goals? Did you tweak them along the way to evolve with the market and/or meet member needs? What struggles did you face? How did you overcome them? If you didn’t, how will you overcome them in the New Year?

Then, turn your gaze towards the horizon. Start "future authoring.” Write down goals. That’s the first step. Goals first; process later. Identify the “what” before you identify the “how.” Think big. But think precise. Visualize where you, your marketing plan, your credit union want to be this year. Then paint that picture, so to speak. Physically write the goals down (don’t type, just yet). Then build the plan from there.

Numerous studies on the "goal-setting theory" show that writing down concrete, specific goals and strategies can help people overcome obstacles and achieve great things. In one study mentioned in the article, "self-authoring" students greatly improved the number of credits earned and their likelihood of staying in school. And after two years, ethnic and gender-group differences in performance among the students had all but disappeared.

"The act of writing is more powerful than people think," Peterson says.

Next on my list of resolutions: Actually write down the resolutions.

Happy New Year!