When the champagne corks have popped and the last remains of 2016 been cleaned away, it’s time to look ahead. What you as a marketer do in 2017 is entirely up to you. In this article, I suggest three new year’s resolutions that will guide you in the right direction for the coming twelve months.
1. We need to challenge our biases and assumptions
To start with certain assumptions in marketing is a must. We can’t know everything – about our brand, about our target group or about our content – and we have to start somewhere.
To start with an assumption is wise. We assume that our target group has certain needs, that we possess some level of expertise, that our clients experience this or that. But we have to prove, or even better disprove, our assumptions.
We must measure, analyse and understand. We must gain insights from all the data that flow from our digital meter. First after that can we understand our brand’s position, our target groups’ needs and our content’s impact. And then we can find the sweet spot, where our expertise and our passion coincide with the recipient’s problems and questions.
2. We must do less, to succeed more
As Ann Handley stubbornly repeated in 2016, there is only ”good” and ”bad” inertia in all marketing. And we need to learn to understand the difference and use it to our advantage.
We don’t need to create more content (trust me, the world does not need more content) but better, more relevant content. We don’t need to be active in more channels and on more platforms but getting better at using the channels we already have.
We must also take the publishing responsibility more seriously: will we act as publishers and earn the audience’s trust? Then we must value our audience and our content as if we were publishers. This means we put the audience first, always. We need to consider the audience first, and our business second.
With the hand on your heart there are few companies (read: managers) who actually do that.
3. We must find our niche and go our own way
During the autumn, I’ve found myself borrowing the following quote by Jay Acunzo:
”Good marketers follow best practice. Great marketers craft their own”.
This sums up both an important problem, and a crucial solution, for today’s marketers.
Don Schultz’s assertion that all companies could copy all we do – except for how we communicate – is no longer valid. Today, we can copy even that. When everyone has access to the same information, same books, same blogs and visit the same conferences we can communicate just as well as everybody else. But the result is often not great.
This is what Jay Baer said at Content Marketing World 2015:
”Everything you do and everything you know can and will be copied by your competition. It’s just a matter of time. But they can’t duplicate, they cannot steal if you fundamentally care more than they do. About content, and about content’s role to improve the lives of real people.”
What separates good marketers from fantastic ones is the ability to find a unique niche, make it your own and dare to try new paths. To have the courage to do the unexpected. To have the courage to be directed by passion, desire and creativity rather than successful examples.
Jay Baer asks the rhetorical question: ”Are you making content or are you making a difference?”. In 2017, all marketers must be able to answer that question.