Take advantage of today. January 2 can be a very unique workday for marketers. The massive holiday sales effort has wrapped for ecommerce and consumer marketers. The sprint to the finish to close deals in the fiscal year is done for those in B2B. Nonprofit marketers have hopefully secured funding from their supporters before the year end.
You’ve had a nice break from work yet aren’t digging out of massive amounts of email on your first day back because everyone else was off as well. And while sales kickoffs and marketing offsites and annual plan launches are all in the immediate future, they haven’t quite hit yet on January 2nd.
So marketer, take advantage of this day. Marketing is relentless. Near-term goals cloud your vision and tactical execution is a daily demand. But today is a day to take a deep breathe and look at the fundamental, core elements that will truly power your success in 2019.
Here are some ideas for New Year’s resolutions for the coming year.
1. Get Your Website in Shape
I’ve recently talked to three different tech startups that had impressive-sounding technology, but when I went to their websites, the shoddy design and poor copy sapped their credibility and seriously undercut their perceived value.
No matter how good the actual product or service you offer is, if your website doesn’t communicate that value, you are destabilizing all of your marketing efforts.
For more established brands, search, social and targeted display ads – not to mention offline direct mail, print ads, and DRTV – take the majority of focus throughout the year. But if all of the effort and budget you pour into those marketing campaigns directs prospects to an underperforming landing page or product page for conversion, your efforts will underperform.
So take a good look at your website today. Have you created efficient funnels? Can you set up a regular practice of landing page optimization to improve conversion? Do you need a page one rewrite of your website – a website redesign?
You’re going to spend a lot of effort and life energy drawing attention to your brand and getting people to your website this year. Before the deadlines start hitting, take at least one day to really go through it and experience your website like a skeptical customer would.
2. Start Consuming Healthier Data, and Less Metrics Overall
Switching to a healthier diet of data and analytics can be incredibly tricky when we are inundated with information. Log into social media analytics and there’s impressions and engagements and mentions. Review the average public relations report and there are tons of total pickup with metrics about that overall site’s potential audience. It’s all so exciting and feels like so much is going on. But what really matters?
What are you trying to accomplish for your customers? For your business? And how will you know you’ve accomplished it? What do you expect from each vendor, platform, and media buy? And how do you know it’s been achieved?
Make sure you’re well versed in what key analytics actually measure. Look at all the metrics reports you’ve asked your team and vendors to provide on a regular basis and determine if anyone is still reviewing them and how they impact decision-making. Understand how to interpret the data you are getting so you’re aware of what the data is actually telling you.
Approach the year with curiosity. What do you really want to learn about your customers and business this year?
But also approach the year with skepticism. What is your current data really teaching you? Take the time today to consciously plan your data diet for the year focusing on high-value information and cutting loose the low-value time wasters from last year.
3. Learn a New Device Language
I’m not talking about a programming language – I mean how to craft messaging to customers on a device your brand hasn’t really mastered yet.
For some marketers it may mean learning how to increase mobile conversion rates. For others it may be learning how to add or optimize messages for voice shopping and virtual assistants or podcast advertising.
Or, if you’re already quite digitally savvy, learn the language of newspaper and magazine advertising. Even if you’re a digital marketer, keep in mind that older offline tactics have tremendous ability and potential to drive online action.
The point is, when all we have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. Marketers tend to want to communicate with their potential customers on the devices most comfortable to them. Emerging devices can intimidate us and older communication mechanisms can get overlooked.
4. Feed Your Creative Soul
The previous resolutions are pretty business-focused. But I wanted to add a crucial resolution that is a little more touch-feely. A little deeper and more nuanced.
To truly be a successful marketer and have a fulfilling career, marketing has to be about more than just meetings and emails, projects and milestones, tech implementations and campaign planning.
The best marketing comes from deep sparks of customer insight, the ability to tap into an essential truth about your product and communicate it brilliantly in a noise, skeptical world.
The challenge of the corporate creative is that deep inspiration doesn’t necessarily occur in a cubicle under fluorescent lights. Or in a board room. Or while consuming industry content.
Never stop feeding your creative soul. Stay curious. Go to museums and musicals (even if the arts bore you). Read the Sunday New York Times and The New Yorker (even if you’re a digital diehard). Explore forests and beaches (even if you’re not a nature lover). Spend time with kids (even if they’ll get you sick with a cold). At the very least, go for a walk at lunch to clear your mental headspace (even if you’re under a deadline).
It’s hard to step out of the grind. It can feel like a luxury. Only a hedonist uses his PTO.
But the salary cap for a functionary is pretty low and is mostly getting replaced by automation.
You add value when you bring something new to the world, even if it’s just more relevant Google Ad copy or a postcard that taps more deeply into a true customer sentiment. You add value when you bring art to advertising, literature to direct mail, and philosophy to marketing.
Never confuse your tasks with your job. Take this day to determine what feeds your soul – even new, scary stuff (especially new scary stuff) – and send yourself some Outlook invites to make sure you don’t overlook your creative soul this year.
Daniel Burstein is the Senior Director, Content and Marketing at MECLABS Institute. Daniel oversees all content and marketing coming from the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa brands while helping to shape the marketing direction for MECLABS — digging for actionable discoveries while serving as an advocate for the audience.