It’s that time of year. Year-in-review, planning, resolutions, you name it (do I hear a collective groan?). We’re all sitting down to set our marketing goals and priorities for 2017 and, hopefully, many of you are well on your way to doing so.
This post isn’t a list of hot trends to incorporate into your plans or new tools to try – there are plenty of other resources for both of those. Instead, I want to remind you to revisit the basics and instill these values in your organization throughout the entire year. Much like our well-intentioned resolutions, we tend to start off running in January and then slip back to old habits when reality sets back in a few months later.
The following five goals are core to any marketing and business practice. Read them, internalize them and refer back to them. Building a solid foundation for your organization will support any tactics you adopt.
1. Know and respect your customers.
Don’t guess your audience. Actually know who you’re talking to, and know them inside and out. Remember that every customer is a consumer (and a human!) first. How does your product or service make your customers’ lives easier? Mobile-first on-demand companies, like Uber, set consumers’ expectations and those expectations are passed on to you – it doesn’t matter if you address a different market, because you’re still dealing with consumers at heart. Says NextView’s Jay Acunzo, “So many marketers lose sight of treating people like people instead of leads.” Don’t be one of them.
2. Internalize your company goals and set your marketing goals accordingly.
Make sure marketing earns a seat at your company leadership table. Be involved in setting company goals for revenue, new customer acquisition and improved retention – the numbers your CEO and board care about. Then, trickle that down to your marketing plan and set secondary goals for new leads, conversion rates, engagement and so on. It’s up to you as head of marketing to articulate organizational goals to your team and show how day-to-day marketing efforts are contributing.
3. Align with sales. For real.
There’s a lot of finger pointing between sales and marketing. Cut it out and get on the same page. Marketing and sales leaders must realize they are working toward the same goal. Partnering and supporting each other’s functions will only improve performance for the company. There has to be 1) data sharing and 2) an open dialogue about challenges, objections, successes and targets to make sure everyone’s winning.
4. Cautiously evaluate new opportunities and channels.
Yes, Snapchat’s for the cool kids and everyone’s doing it. Should you, too? Before hopping on the train, ask yourself: is that where your audience is (again, go back to No. 1)? If yes: Is there a way for your brand to establish a presence and engage your audience in an authentic (read: not annoying) way? Rinse and repeat for other new-to-you marketing opportunities.
If you can’t make the case to dedicate resources to go all in on a new channel, wait. Focus on what will work for you and what is right for your brand, rather than haphazardly joining everything. You’ll benefit more from a thought-out, intentional presence than from being spread too thin.
5. Hone your writing and storytelling skills.
Admit it, we can all use more practice. Content – written or not – permeates all that we do now. It’s so important to know how to write and know how to tell a story that draws your audiences in. No one cares about content marketing for the sake of content; you’ve got to be able to draw people to your stories and your cause.
Join me in kicking off 2017 by going back to the basics.