Smart goal-setting in action: How to make progress on a giant goal

When it comes to breaking down a gigantic goal into actionable, measurable steps, things can feel a bit daunting. To quote Carl Sagan:

If you wish to make apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe.

No pressure, right!

Similarly, what if you have one of these goals:

  • Grow Monthly Active Users (MAUs) by 10x
  • Increase Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) 50% year-over-year
  • Dominate the customer service market
  • Reposition your brand to serve the Direct-to-Consumer (DTC) space

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How to make a marketing roadmap

One of my favorite marketing articles from 2019 – you can see the full list of favorites here – was a post on Tom Tunguz’s blog about marketing roadmaps.

You can check out the full post here.

The gist is this:

A solid marketing roadmap contains a clear picture of how your product makes life better for your customers. Then you take that vision, turn it into messages, and distribute the messages far and wide.

I went through the full exercise recently, armed with the knowledge of our target customers and our recent conversations about brand beliefs, mission, and taglines. Here’s what I came up with.

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Goals for 2019.

Every new year, I come up with ambitious new goals to pursue … then forget about them as soon as February. But! I like to think that the act of goal-setting, anytime, allows the goals to seep into my subconscious where they drive my secret unknown behavior all year long. Because when I happen upon my annual goals sometime in November, they never seem all that alien. In fact, I’ve typically accomplished several, unbeknownst to me.

With such a limp-and-loose approach to goal follow-through, I like to think that it affords me some flexibility to how I go about setting my goals each new year.

You can see previous years here: 20132014201520162017, 2018.

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The Psychology of People Management: How to Motivate People to Be Their Best

Two months into my new management gig, and I very nearly made a huge mistake. 

There I was, blind to the strengths of my teammate, trying stubbornly to fit the teammate into a role he did not want. I was failing him as a manager, and worse, I was projecting my management failure onto him. I, the mighty manager, must be right; he must be the one failing.

I realized my mistake after a series of hard conversations and a bundle of self-reflection. I realized it just in time. Not only had he yet to write off me or the company, he was still so gracious and warm-hearted as to become a trusted colleague and amazing part of our team, thriving in the role I should have been more aware of all along.

My mistake was one of hubris, definitely, but it was also one of ignorance.

I didn’t know how to manage people.

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The 10 Most Common Fallacies and Biases for Marketing Leaders

These are the fallacies and biases that plague all of us and are particularly trippy for marketing leaders.

They are the infamous “unknown unknowns,” which I am hoping — by virtue of this blog post — may now at least be known a bit better.

For a full list of fallacies and biases, I highly recommend the book The Art of Thinking Clearly. It’s been foundational for the customer research we do at Buffer and for the way we approach problems as clear-minded as possible (we think). Many of the fallacies below were pulled from the book.

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