Yep. It is that time of year when we look back and forward to see how things might be different in the future. This look back typically ends in the all-too-familiar resolution. It seems we are not the first era of people to do so. Babylonians reportedly promised the gods to earn good favor in the coming year.
Whether you are a New Year’s Eve resolution-maker or wait for the first few days of festivities to die, we cannot help ourselves and make intentions that we hope will shape the coming year. Yet, New Year’s resolutions have become so expected that we do not flinch when we fail to stick to them and decide to revisit them during Lent (perhaps that is a New Orleans thing.)
As millions make (or already break) resolutions, there are some recurring themes: health and fitness, financial freedom, and personal development. Chances are more than a couple of your resolutions have started with the following words.
These starters can be just as valuable in your marketing resolutions.
Marketing Resolution 1: Lose
Now is the perfect time to reflect on what’s been weighing down our marketing efforts and resolve to shed these burdens. Just as one might decide to lose weight for personal health, it’s beneficial for marketers to eliminate the excess that hampers growth and efficiency in their professional sphere.
Are you holding on to branding that does not make sense for where you or your guests are today? Are you still using the same comfortable marketing channels and have yet to think about testing new things? Is there more “fat” in budget items that should be trimmed, or should you shift your “consumption” into new channels?
Let go of what could be holding your business back from growing. Lose that extra weight.
Lose Inefficient Processes Start by reevaluating your workflows and systems. Are there tasks that take up an excessive amount of time without delivering value? It could be a reporting system that is too complex or a series of approvals that bottleneck creativity. Streamlining these processes can free up time and resources, allowing you to focus on innovation and strategy.
Lose Outdated Branding. Evaluate your branding and messaging. Are they still resonating with your current audience, or are they relics of the past? Your brand’s voice and image should evolve as your market and audience do. Holding onto outdated elements can make your brand irrelevant or out of touch.
Lose Comfortable but Ineffective Marketing Channels. Examine the ROI of all your marketing channels. You might find that some of the “tried and true” methods are no longer delivering results. Perhaps there’s a reluctance to move away from these familiar strategies, but adaptability is key in a rapidly changing digital landscape. Experiment with new channels and methods to discover what resonates with your audience today.
Lose Non-Profitable Programs. Scrutinize every marketing program and campaign for profitability and effectiveness. If specific initiatives are consistently underperforming or yielding a negative ROI, it might be time to cut them loose. This does not mean giving up at the first sign of trouble but recognizing when effort and resources would be better allocated elsewhere.
Lose the Fear of Delegation. Let go of the need to control every aspect of your marketing. Empower and trust your team or find partners by delegating tasks. This lightens your load and encourages a more dynamic and responsive marketing team. With more hands on deck and diverse perspectives, your marketing can become more innovative and effective.
Lose the Fat in the Budget. Take a hard look at your budget allocations. Are there areas where spending is excessive or could be optimized? It could be an over-reliance on paid advertising when organic strategies could yield better long-term results, or it’s underutilizing tools that could automate and enhance your marketing efforts. Reallocate funds from underperforming areas into strategies that offer better growth potential.
Shedding burdens can rejuvenate and propel your marketing forward. By resolving to lose what no longer serves you –outdated strategies, non-profitable programs, or fear of delegation – you can streamline your efforts, capitalize on what works, and set the stage for a year of growth and innovation. Here’s to a lighter, more agile marketing approach in 2024!
Marketing Resolution 2: Improve
As marketers, it is crucial to recognize that a well-supported and engaged team is fundamental to lasting brands and innovative, effective campaigns. This year, resolve to improve the employee experience specifically through marketing-centric strategies, enhancing team satisfaction and campaign outcomes. Your internal marketing team could be the best and most valuable brand ambassadors and influencers.
We dedicated an entire episode of our Winning Influencer Marketing series to internal influencers because we felt the topic merited a focused discussion. We know how guests look for specific team members to help them when they visit, but now they continue to communicate with them through their social channels, often influencing where they spend their money.
Why not lean into these relationships and give team members the assets and tools to help their stars rise along with your brand? User-generated content continues to be more valued than brand-generated content, but it can be the best of both worlds when branded appropriately.
Improve Collaboration and Creativity Spaces. Create environments or platforms where team members can collaborate and share ideas freely. Whether physical brainstorming rooms enhanced with creative stimuli or digital spaces used to connect and ideate, ensure your team has a place to unleash their creativity.
Improve Ideation by Fostering a Culture of Innovation. Encourage a culture where new ideas are celebrated and tested. Allow team members the autonomy to experiment with unconventional strategies or campaigns on smaller scales. Even if every idea does not pan out, it fosters a dynamic, innovative environment where marketers feel their creativity is valued.
Improve or Implement Feedback Loops. Create structured opportunities to give and receive feedback on various initiatives. This can be through regular team meetings, one-on-one sessions, or anonymous surveys. Constructive feedback is invaluable for improvement and makes employees feel involved and valued.
Improve Knowledge and Skills. Offer opportunities, such as attending industry conferences, subscribing to leading marketing publications, or providing in-house training on the latest marketing trends and tools. Knowledge growth directly translates to improved performance and job satisfaction.
In improving the employee experience from a marketing perspective, you will enhance job satisfaction and drive more impactful marketing results. Let 2024 be a year of significant growth for your team and your brand.
Marketing Resolution 3: Try
One of the best things you can do for your marketing is to rid yourself of the phrase, “We’ve always done it that/this way.” Make a “change jar” and have your team put a $1 in every time the phrase slips out. Every time someone resists new ideas based on tradition alone, have them contribute. This playful approach is not just about collecting money for a team treat; it’s a tangible reminder to challenge the status quo and embrace innovative thinking. It is a visual cue that encourages your team to question outdated practices and propose new, dynamic strategies.
Celebrate when the jar gets full – not just because you can treat the team, but because it represents how often you have chosen innovation over comfort.
Understanding that what worked in the past might be ineffective now is essential. Marketing is an ever-evolving field, and staying stagnant means falling behind. If one business area has proven independent of sacred cows, it is marketing. Some of you might remember when we used only paid advertising or the Yellow Pages. It is genuinely laughable now, yet it was not that long ago. Today, digital media and Artificial Intelligence are reshaping how we understand and reach audiences.
Encourage your team to bring forth new ideas, no matter how unconventional they may seem. Commit to incorporating at least one new marketing tactic this year and meticulously measure its impact. Whether leveraging the latest AI technology, delving into a new social media platform, or adopting a unique storytelling method, the key is exploring and evaluating. Every attempt is a step towards discovering what engages your audience and sets your brand apart.
But do not limit yourself to your industry only for inspiration. The most groundbreaking ideas often come from cross-pollination of concepts between different fields. Attend interdisciplinary conferences, network outside your usual circles, and invite guest speakers from various sectors to share insights with your team. This approach fosters creativity and equips your team with a more holistic understanding of the business landscape.
Remember, the aim is to foster a culture of curiosity, agility, and boldness. By the end of the year, you will have a collection of dollars in a jar and a rich portfolio of experiments, learnings, and possibly a breakthrough strategy that sets your brand apart. Let 2024 be the year you not only keep up with the changes in marketing but lead the charge with innovative, impactful strategies.
Marketing Resolution 4: Learn
Part of the process we go through in onboarding our Casino Marketing Boot Camp attendees is learning what they are trying to accomplish and what their leadership is looking for. We learn so they can learn more.
As marketing leaders, you must ask critical questions to learn and create the most effective marketing programs. It is too easy for leaders to become so entangled in execution details that we risk making non-strategic decisions. I like to call this The Starburst Effect: rather than understanding the challenge, we focus on a small detail that may never get us to our goal.
Embrace Strategic Learning. Emphasize the importance of understanding both the macro and micro elements of campaigns. Learning is not just about accumulating knowledge but about contextualizing information to make informed strategic decisions. Encourage your team to ask deep, probing questions that go beyond surface-level understanding to truly grasp the complexities of each campaign and its impact on the overall business strategy.
Implement Agile Learning Processes. Adopt a mindset of agile learning, where the cycle of tracking, measuring, adjusting, and repeating becomes second nature. Encourage your team to view every campaign as a learning opportunity. By continuously iterating and refining your strategies based on real-time feedback and results, your marketing efforts become more dynamic and responsive to the ever-changing market demands.
Align Learning with Business Objectives. Ensure that all learning initiatives align directly with your organization’s business objectives. Whether improving customer engagement, increasing sales, or enhancing brand reputation, every educational activity should have a clear, measurable goal contributing to the overarching business strategy. Gone are the days when we could coast on vanity metrics. You need to measure revenue and the cost for that revenue or conversion.
Leverage Media Intelligence. If you are buying media, stop buying the media you consume and shift your media buying strategies from intuition-based to intelligence-driven. Educate your team on the power of targeted media buying, where decisions are based on robust data about your audience’s behaviors and preferences. By understanding and targeting the media consumption habits of your most responsive audiences, you can optimize your spending and maximize ROI. 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 and responsive audiences against media usage profiles.
Cultivate a Data-Driven Culture. As casino marketers, we are awash with data; the skill is not just in gathering it but in interpreting and leveraging it effectively. Resolve to deepen your team’s understanding and use of data analytics. Invest in training that enhances their ability to discern patterns, predict trends, and make informed decisions. By understanding what metrics matter, your team can focus on the KPIs that align with broader business goals, moving beyond vanity metrics to those that drive real, sustainable growth.
By adopting these learning resolutions, your marketing team will be more knowledgeable, strategic, data-savvy, and aligned with the business’s goals. Let 2024 be where learning propels your marketing to new heights of effectiveness and innovation.
Marketing Resolution 5: Appreciate
In 2024, let us commit to nurturing and appreciating our brands and workplace culture more profoundly, recognizing its critical role in driving employee satisfaction and brand success. A strong, cohesive culture is not just a nice-to-have but a strategic asset.
As previously mentioned, when team members are separate from our brands, our work as marketers gets more challenging. Studies have shown that brand messages can reach 561% further when shared by team members than via the brand channels, but a Gallup study showed that only 27% of team members believed in their employers’ brands. Imagine if just 1% more of your team believed in and shared your brand messages. What if you could get that to 30% or more?
Recognize and Reinforce Positive Culture. Acknowledge the resilience and adaptability your team has shown in recent years. Celebrate the successes and learn from the challenges. Actively look for ways to reinforce the behaviors and attitudes that contribute to a positive, productive workplace. This might include recognizing individual or team achievements, sharing success stories, or creating moments for team bonding and relaxation.
Empower Your Brand Ambassadors. Understand the power of internal brand ambassadors. As studies suggest, when employees genuinely believe in and advocate for your brand, their endorsements can significantly amplify your marketing messages. Invest in training and resources that help employees understand and articulate your brand’s value proposition. Encourage them to share their positive experiences and stories across their networks.
Increase Belief in the Brand. Strive to increase the percentage of team members who believe in and are willing to advocate for your brand. This begins with transparent communication about your brand’s mission, values, and goals. Ensure every team member understands how their role contributes to the brand’s success and feels valued for their contribution. Regularly solicit and act on employee feedback to demonstrate that their input shapes the brand’s journey.
Audit and Enhance the Employee Journey. Take a detailed look at the employee journey, from onboarding to development to retention. Identify any pain points or opportunities for improvement. As you meticulously craft a customer’s journey with your brand, apply the same care and consideration to the employee experience. This might involve updating onboarding processes, offering personalized career development opportunities, or enhancing the workplace environment.
Foster a Culture of Understanding and Resilience. Recognize that friction and challenges are part of any dynamic workplace. However, a culture grounded in mutual respect, open communication, and shared goals can turn these challenges into opportunities for growth and learning. Encourage a mindset of continuous improvement, where feedback is welcome, and mistakes are viewed as a natural part of the learning process.
By focusing on appreciation and nurturing a positive, engaged workplace culture, you enhance employee well-being and satisfaction and strengthen your brand from the inside out. Let 2024 be the year where your appreciation for your team and culture translates into tangible success for your brand.
Marketing Resolution 6: Listen
Listen to guests. Listen and ask why repeatedly until you root out the issue.
The most successful businesses know their guests and invest in research. Look at your guest’s journey. What are their pain points? What are the elements that make an ordinary experience extraordinary? Focus groups and online surveys can give you a wealth of insights to help you build your marketing programs. Understanding your guests is essential to long-term growth and should be central to anything you do.
Cultivate Active Listening Across Touchpoints. Develop a culture of active listening across all customer touchpoints. Whether social media, customer service calls, or in-person interactions, ensure every team member is trained to listen actively and empathetically. Encourage them to probe deeper with follow-up questions that uncover the underlying reasons behind customer feedback.
Implement Advanced Listening Tools. Leverage the latest in listening technology, including sentiment analysis, social listening tools, and voice of the customer programs. These tools can help you capture not just what your guests say but how they feel, providing a more nuanced understanding of their experiences and expectations.
Regularly Engage in Qualitative Research. While quantitative data is crucial, qualitative insights often reveal the more profound stories behind the numbers. Regularly conduct focus groups, in-depth interviews, and ethnographic studies to understand your guests’ lives, needs, and how they interact with your brand.
Create Feedback Loops. Establish robust feedback loops that collect guest insights and act on them. Show your guests that their input is valued by communicating what changes or improvements have been made based on their feedback. This enhances customer satisfaction and reinforces their willingness to share in the future.
Analyze and Act on Guest Journey Insights. Dive deep into your guest journey analytics to identify friction points and delight moments. Use this data to streamline and enhance the customer experience at every stage. Remember, the goal is to make the entire journey seamless and enjoyable, turning satisfied guests into enthusiastic brand advocates.
Foster a Company-Wide Listening Culture. Ensure that listening to guests is not just a marketing function but a company-wide priority. Every team member from the C-suite to the front line should understand the value of guest insights and be empowered to act on them. Create cross-functional teams to implement changes based on customer feedback, ensuring that improvements are made swiftly and effectively.
In 2024, elevate your commitment to listen to your guests actively and empathetically. Understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points is not just about gathering data; it is about building a genuine connection that fosters loyalty and drives strategic, customer-centric decision-making. By making a concerted effort to listen and respond to your guests, you position your brand as responsive, caring, and customer-focused. Let this be the year you transform listening into a strategic asset, deepening guest relationships and driving meaningful growth for your brand.
Marketing Resolution 7: Quit
Maybe this one deserves a dedicated blog post. Quit jumping on trends without thinking. Quit creating communications that only resonate with you rather than the target audience. Quit ignoring trends because you believe they do not apply. Quit exclusively looking to your industry for best practices; the “next practice” could lie elsewhere.
Quit Impulsive Trend-Chasing. Avoid jumping on every new trend impulsively. Before adopting a new trend, critically evaluate its relevance and potential impact on your brand and audience. Not all trends will align with your brand values or appeal to your audience, and that is okay. Be selective and strategic in the trends you choose to pursue.
Quit One-Sided Communications. Move away from creating communications that resonate with you but fail to engage your target audience. Shift your focus to understanding and addressing your audience’s needs, preferences, and pain points. Every piece of communication should be crafted with the audience’s perspective in mind, ensuring it is relevant, engaging, and valuable to them.
Quit Neglecting Outside Inspiration. Expand your horizon beyond your industry’s echo chamber. Look to other sectors for inspiration and best practices that could be adapted and applied to your brand. Innovations often occur at the intersections of industries; by exploring broader sources of inspiration, you might discover your next breakthrough strategy.
Quit Focusing Solely on Features and Embrace Your Emotions. Reorient your communication to highlight the benefits of your products or services, not just the features. Emphasize how your offerings improve lives, solve problems, or deliver unique value. Connect with your audience emotionally by addressing their desires, fears, aspirations, and needs, creating a compelling narrative beyond technicalities.
Understand and leverage the emotional triggers of your audience. Engage in deep market research to uncover what truly motivates your customers, their core needs, and how your brand can meet them. Tailor your messaging to strike an emotional chord, making your brand not just a choice but a partner in fulfilling their desires or solving their challenges.
By quitting these limiting habits and approaches, you open up a world of possibilities for more authentic, impactful, and customer-centric marketing. Let 2024 be the year your brand breaks free from the old constraints and embraces a more thoughtful, engaging, and effective marketing strategy.
Don’t Forget the Most Important Part of Your Marketing.
As you venture into the new year with these resolutions, remember that you are the most pivotal element in any strategy, campaign, or innovation. Your growth, mindset, and well-being are central to the vitality and success of your marketing efforts. Choose an area for personal and professional enhancement, commit to it, and watch as it positively transforms your work and the entire team dynamic.
Continually seek opportunities to learn new skills, broaden your understanding, and stay abreast of the latest marketing trends. Whether taking a course, attending a seminar, or simply dedicating weekly time to reading industry-related materials, make a conscious effort to grow. As you expand your knowledge and skills, you become a more valuable asset to your team, capable of leading and contributing to more successful outcomes.
Embrace challenges, learn from failures, and celebrate successes. A growth mindset is about acquiring knowledge and evolving how you think, approach problems, and collaborate with others. Encourage yourself and your team to view every obstacle as a learning opportunity and every success as a stepping stone to even more significant achievements.
And remember that a healthy work-life balance is essential. Stress and burnout can stifle creativity and productivity, so taking care of your physical and mental health is crucial. Whether it is regular exercise, meditation, or ensuring you take time off to recharge, find what works for you and make it a non-negotiable part of your routine.
As you embark on this year’s journey to refine and improve your marketing strategies, keep sight of your role in their success. Invest in yourself with the same passion and commitment you give to your marketing campaigns. Your personal and professional development is beneficial and essential to your team and brand’s continued success and innovation. Here’s to a year of growth, achievement, and transformation!