What better way to plan for business and marketing in the New Year, than to start with reflection!
One of my favorite activities in business planning isn’t so much the ‘planning’ aspect, although don’t get me wrong – I love that, too…
It’s actually setting aside some quiet, intentional time to reflect on the past year so when I do get into new year business planning, I can make plans that are intentional for reaching The Quirky Pineapple Studio’s goals.
So grab your favorite beverage, a journal, pen, and join me as I reflect on marketing and business in 2023 and set up new year business (and marketing) plans for 2024!
Related article, 2023 Social Media Trend Review, and 2024 Marketing Predictions
New Year Business Planning Starts with Reflection
The marketing world went through a complete ‘revolution’, in my opinion, in 2023.
Over the years, we’ve seen a rise in marketing activities like:
- Social media
- Short-form video
- Meta experiences
- Conversion marketing
But I did not expect 2023 to be such a… tumultuous, for lack of a better word, year for the marketing industry.
We saw the rise of AI-generated content, from everything like social media captions, videos, graphics, photos, and even music!
This had a huge impact on marketing as a whole, as well as all the people who work in marketing! There was a huge influx of content marketing that flooded the Internet streets and it seemed like people were producing even MORE content than before, thanks to Artificial Intelligence (AI).
While I love that AI can help streamline and facilitate content marketing for businesses – I did see that companies and brands tried to replace a lot of their marketing folks and teams with AI…
Which, if you ask me is a BIG MISTAKE 👀
So on that note, here’s what some of my biggest marketing reflections are from the past year, before sharing our marketing efforts and strategy for the new year:
- AI is a great tool, but it cannot replace the human touch in marketing! As I mentioned above, AI has made it so much easier for folks to create content or have a starting point to create – instead of staring at a blank cursor (we’ve all been there!). While I think AI is a great tool, it is just that (for now, at least), a tool to make marketing easier but if you want true strategy, one that is culturally competent, intersectional-feminist, and liberatory… you need a human for that. Impactful marketing strategies require a mix of data, analytics, imagination, nuance, and creativity – unfortunately, AI doesn’t give us that.
- Don’t forget about brand awareness in your marketing! In 2022, I attended Web Summit in Lisbon, Portugal and I remember attending a seminar where the speaker shared that in 2023, we would see a shift from the prioritization of brand awareness to strictly conversion marketing (aka sales). He was right. As we all navigated a ‘weird’ economy, the world going into flames, social justice movements, etc. it seemed like what people were most worried about was their bottom line (understandable, btw) – so their marketing efforts shifted from building brand awareness and loyalty to pure, hard sales. When this happened, however, I also saw the general economy become tired of being sold to all the time and wanted a deeper connection to brands AND people.
- Media vs. Marketing – Moving forward, we need both. With content marketing rising in the digital space, we’re seeing a shift from pure marketing efforts and strategies to media production. Yeap, that looks like brands developing media channels (ie: YouTube channels, podcasts, newsletters, magazines, etc.) that build community and serve a sub-niche of their audience. In this digital age, content marketing is changing and consumers want to connect on deeper levels to brands and people – and it looks like that’s through highly strategic, relatable, and valuable MEDIA.
What do you think of those reflections? Keep on reading to see how we’re implementing some of these into our new year marketing and business plan!
Biggest Business Reflections in 2023
Whew, if the marketing industry went through an entire shake-up…
Well, what we saw in the business also went through an entire shake-up, as well.
In 2023, we classified ourselves as a Brand Strategy and Content Marketing Studio, and in Q3, we decided to switch our direction and pivot into becoming a Creative Media and Marketing Agency.
Why the pivot? What does this mean for The Quirky Pineapple Studio and our clients in the future?
Related article, 4 Ways to Refresh Your Brand Message in 2024
Let’s first reflect on what happened in 2023 in the business:
- Relying on one type of client created financial stress for the business. The majority of The Quirky Pineapple Studio (TQP Studio) clients over the years are consultants and service providers. We supported a lot of consulting firms in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) space – folks who wanted to make a big impact in their communities and ultimately, really make the world a better place. While we love championing DEI Consulting firms, this also ended up hurting us in the future when the United States of America decided to create a law that limited a company’s funding for DEI-related initiatives…. This meant when our clients got cut… down the chain, we also got cut from budgets first.
- Simplifying workflows and operations. We love efficient marketing practices, as well as any type of efficient business practice! This means using technology to streamline workflows and processes, cutting out a lot of churn, and being VERY intentional with efforts and goals. With AI coming into the marketing mix, we saw a lot of people focus on quantity of content instead of quality, which made our workflows and operations for content production bulky and inefficient. To create effective and impactful content marketing for our clients, having a simplified and intentional strategy with systems and processes to support that has proved to be the most successful – in terms of bringing in clients, revenue, and quality.
- Leaning into what The Quirky Pineapple Studio is great at! Over the six years we’ve been in business, each year we get clearer and clearer on what we’re great at, where we can support our clients best, and the best types of clients to work with. This year was no different – we got even clearer on The Quirky Pineapple Studio’s mission, vision, and where our team’s skillsets could come in and support the work of our clients. We kindaaaa just wish we leaned into it sooner because once I shared these findings with the team, it was like everything totally clicked!!
What about you? What were some of your biggest business reflections this year? From all that reflection, let’s get into what we’re planning for business and marketing in the new year!
What We’re Planning in the New Year for The Quirky Pineapple Studio
Where do we go from here with the reflections mentioned above, as well as the lessons we learned along the way?
After many meetings with Team Quirky, here’s what we’re planning and looking forward to in the new year – and a few hints of what you can expect from The Quirky Pineapple Studio moving forward!
- Media AND Marketing Production. Since our pivot from Brand Strategy and Content Marketing Studio to Creative Marketing and Media Agency – we’ve been brainstorming and putting plans together to bring you high-quality media and marketing production, from our brand, as well as supporting our clients to do the same. We want to work with brands, organizations, thought leaders, and Creators who understand the importance of having BOTH/AND – media and marketing; and want to partner with a creative agency that can systemize and operationalize the production of both to build community, share fun and engaging content, while also making money and a difference in the world. If you’re THAT type of brand or person, let’s get on a call to discuss how we can do this together.
- Strategy-first marketing and media efforts. While we LOVE creating content and media over here at The Quirky Pineapple Studio – we love doing it with intention and strategy, so no one is creating content for the sake of content (aka leading to burnout and resentment). All of our marketing and media strategies apply a 3-part framework that brings in a culturally competent, intersectional feminist, and liberatory lens – making sure that we don’t recreate systems of oppression in our brand and marketing strategies. We work alongside our clients to bring in lived experiences, culture, identity, and values-based marketing to connect and build brand loyalty.
- More community-focused efforts! One thing I adore about The Quirky Pineapple Studio is we have built an international and global community across the world. I have loved meeting our clients and community members in person throughout the years through random coffee meet-ups, networking events, and hosting our own VIPiña Brand Retreat! For the new year, we are planning to bring more community-focused efforts – keep a lookout for those, which will be coming via email! (You can sign up for our weekly email newsletter sent on Mondays here and receive a free Website Copywriting Checklist as a special gift!)
Those are just a few of our new year business plans for The Quirky Pineapple Studio! I haven’t even gotten the chance to reveal the new year marketing plans yet (hehe) but that will have to be another post for later!
If you’ve read this far and are inspired to have your own business and marketing reflection and new year planning session – here’s a simple outline of what we do at The Quirky Pineapple Studio and with our clients:
- Reflect on the biggest lessons or revelations in business and marketing from the past year. I like to look at both business and marketing because they, of course, influence each other! Some things to reflect on can be what you enjoyed most, what were some of your biggest challenges, if there were efforts that didn’t lead to results, etc.
- Map out your new year goals after you reflect on what worked and didn’t work. Team Quirky and I do this in our Marketing Roadmap template, something we also create for clients. In it, we map out marketing (and business) goals, strategies, and high-level ideas to be implemented throughout the year. You can get our Marketing Roadmap Template in our All-Access Template Vault which also includes 30+ marketing and business templates you can use in your business!
- Set the action steps to reach your goals and build them out into your project management tool. Now that you’ve reflected on what worked (and didn’t), and what your goals are for the new year, now is the time to create the action steps to reach those goals! For us, we put all these action steps (the more detailed process) into our project management tool so each team member is clear on their responsibilities and tasks. If we’re doing this for clients, we build out the marketing systems and operations they need to make their marketing goals become a reality – then set monthly meetings to review data and goal progress! If you’d like support in your content marketing efforts or building branded media for your brand – let’s get on a Clarity Call to discuss how this can look.
We’re excited to see what these new year business plans bring for us – we’ll check back in after 6 months to share a lil’ update!
Until then, if you’d like to receive regular marketing and media updates, tips, and advice from us – sign up for our weekly Marketing Musings newsletter, sent every Monday! Sign up here and receive a Website Copywriting Checklist completely free!