January. It’s the month in which we traditionally make intentions that will shape the rest of the year. Yet, New Year’s resolutions have become such an expected occurrence that we don’t flinch when we fail to stick to them and decide to revisit them during Lent.
As a marketer, this is also the time when I make some resolutions that I believe will improve my businesses and bring success. I share them here with you.
Make data actionable
Marketers are now the beneficiaries of a plethora of data. Make a resolution to use data to make your marketing smarter or more efficient. If you’re buying media, stop buying the media you consume and start using data to buy media your targets are consuming. Identify where you can find quick hits and build a highly targeted and efficient media plan that you can track via your database. With this segmentation approach, you can match the highest growth, highest responsive audiences against media usage profiles.
Get to know your customers
The most successful businesses know their customers. Invest in research. Take a look at your customer’s journey. What are their pain points? What are the elements that make an ordinary purchase experience extraordinary? Focus groups and online surveys can give you a wealth of insights to help you build your marketing programs. Understanding your customer is essential to long-term growth and should be at the center of anything you do.
Simplify Your Message
Please, I beg you…. less is more. Sometimes it’s just a style. Sometimes, it’s our desire to maximize our media and creative expenses, but when you concentrate on simple messages, your customers will be able to hear and understand your message. Marketers with billboards loaded down with images and copy, I’m looking at you here.
Make A “We’ve Always Done It That Way” Swear Jar
This is my favorite and will be yours too. There are beliefs and structures that have become obsolete, and yet we continue to base our marketing programs on them even though we have no idea why. The next time you implement something because it’s always been done that way, throw $5 in the swear jar. I’ll guarantee you that after a few deposits you will change much of your marketing. You’ll either dig back into history to understand the why or someone will come up with a better, fresher idea. If there is one area of business that has proven itself to be independent of sacred cows, it is marketing. Remember when we used to only paid advertising or the yellow pages? Marketing has changed more in the last two years than it has in the last 10 and continues to evolve. Keep an eye out for changes and trends outside of the industry and try to see if there is something you can use in yours.
Use Your Get Out of Jail Free Card and Try Something Bold
Years ago, I listened to a marketing hero of mine tell a story of a promotion he developed as chief marketing officer of Kodak. It was a massive and expensive misstep. His lesson to us: “no one is going to die.” Most business can sustain a little creative thinking. Test something out. Think it through but take the risk. I’m giving you a (figurative) Get Out of Jail Free Card to try something bold and different. Email me your ideas. I’d love to hear them.
Track, Measure, Cut or Repeat
It makes sense that we need to track what we do in order to understand which efforts drive the behaviors we need to meet our business goals. Select key performance indicators that are directly related to the business goals. Gone are the days when we can coast on vanity metrics. You need to measure revenue, cost for that revenue, conversion, etc. If you’re not measuring the things that are related to business goals, you’ll soon find yourself with nothing to measure.
Don’t Forget the Most Important Part of Your Marketing
You. Pick an area you want to improve to make yourself a valuable part of your team. Make a reinvestment in yourself.
A shortened version of this column appeared in the December 2017 issue of Biz New Orleans.