Roadmapping is the necessary evil of every successful organization. It’s the non-billable, extraordinarily time consuming, yet unbelievably productive and collaborative meeting that we do every, single year. And will continue to do for every year to come. As a commerce agency, putting gears into place and turning the handle to set tasks into motion, we pride ourselves in helping orchestrate the projects that bring life to our clients’ goals. And all of that begins with roadmapping.

But that’s only if you do it well. Sitting your key players down in a conference room, throwing out ideas that make people feel warm and fuzzy like “SYNERGY, CROSS PROMOTIONS, LEAD GENERATION, or COMPANY CULTURE”, isn’t going to make your year one of quantifiable growth. If you want your business to stay ahead of the competition, there are some key considerations that should make it onto the meeting agenda.

Setting Realistic Goals

Boy, it sure would be nice to double profits, have 200% ROI on every campaign, see your homepage rank 1st for every relevant Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and, heck, for every lead that comes through to turn into a sale. But it’s not going to happen. So before you begin assigning KPIs to 2019, start at a higher level. A good place to start with setting goals is to decide on some broad objectives that will help you make decisions throughout the year. Review the performance of your business on every public facing platform including paid advertising, social media, and, of course, your website. Take a nice, long stroll through all of the available analytics. See what months of the year had the highest traffic, the highest rate of conversion. Review your percentage of new users, the device conversions are made on, and where your customers are located. These are just some of examples of questions you should answer to get an overall better understanding of where your business IS, and then move forward. Sorry to play on the map analogy, but it’s hard to see where you can go if you don’t know where you are.

Make sure that your broad goals are something that allow your team, throughout the year, to ask “Will this task contribute to the fulfillment of my goal?” If yes, it’s obvious that the team can commit and invest. If the project does not directly contribute to a larger goal, then no, you may want to re-prioritize and ditch that task to the island of misfit tasks.

Turning Those Goals Into KPIs

Next, you need to identify KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track throughout the year. If you’re a commerce shop, one of your top KPIs should be associated with growth in sales. Whether you’re looking at overall revenue, eCommerce sales, increased ROI, or the like, establishing reasonable KPIs is the golden rule. Take a look at what KPIs you were tracking against in 2018 and whether or not your were able to achieve them.

As with setting broad goals, their quantifiable sibling should be based on past performance. If you have an average annual growth rate of 5%, you’re likely setting yourself up for failure if you set the goal of 30% overall growth in 2019 and aren’t breaking into a new market or have a serious nest egg for launching your business into a new tier. Sustainable success, more often than not, is achieved over time – whether we like it or not. So determine KPIs that identify as ones that not only are accessible, but also look beyond the current year.

Now Lay Out Your Marketing Plan

January and February are generally slow months in eCommerce and provide a good opportunity to plan marketing initiatives for the rest of the year. It may seem silly to be thinking about the summer vacation, back to school, or holiday shopping seasons but taking down time as an opportunity to plan for the busier times is not only smart, it’s profitable. If you’re able to get ahead of the madness and do your research now, it will afford you the opportunity to more acutely strategize and execute your plans when the time comes.

Look back on the 2018 holiday season while the memories are fresh in your mind. Use analytics for the hard numbers. What worked? What didn’t? Use that information to your advantage while you have the time available for true analysis. Another effective practice in developing a successful marketing strategy is to keep up with the times. Read up on trend predictions for the year and consider how your marketing can maintain a competitive presence.

And Update Internal Processes

A great time to take stock of out-of-date processes, technology, or initiatives that need attention is when you’re setting goals. Be it in the name of efficiency, consistency, or company culture, reviewing your team’s processes for improvement opportunities, is never a bad idea. At Human Element, we always have that voice in the back of our minds. But it’s during our roadmapping that we really focus on the core of our internal and client facing processes for improvement.

Just because you’ve always done it one way, does not mean you should blindly follow that practice for the sake of following that practice. The commerce ecosystem is changing darn near every day – if your organization is inflexible, your growth will be too. Be willing to look at things from a different perspective. Reconsider your brand voice, logo, sales funnel, and development standards; anything and everything that could be affecting your relationship with your customers. Is your site ADA compliant? Have you considered whether staying on your Magento Community site is limiting your abilities? Get into the grit of your organization.

Ready, Set… Roadmap

Now it’s your turn. We hope that this information helps you feel more confident in your abilities as a team to effectively roadmap for the coming year. Keeping these principles in mind can help make 2019 your best yet. And it all begins with your roadmap.

Want to begin plans for your 2019 eCommerce strategy and aren’t sure how to get started? That’s where Human Element steps in. Our team of experienced developers, digital marketing specialists, and UX experts can tell you how to improve and set goals for attainable growth. Feel free to get in touch and see how we can help your eCommerce business grow.