Forget Resolutions…

As every year draws to a close and a new one begins, marketers begin to think about resolutions. This year, I would challenge marketers to think a little differently: make 2017 a year of action, instead of creating resolutions.

The difference is all in the details. Resolutions are made, and then promptly forgotten. An action plan, however, can be executed against. You plan, prepare and get to work.

Here’s how to get started:

Pay attention.

Keep an eye out for opportunity every day by paying attention: Pay attention to what your audience is doing and saying; pay attention to trends, competitors and events, and pay attention to what marketing and branding efforts are succeeding or falling short.

When your brand has a strong point of view and position, it’s easier to identify opportunities as they occur. Use that insight to shape effective strategies that connect with your audiences.

Read, read, read.

Reading has always been the bedrock of everything I do. I read for pleasure; I read for work; I read to stay informed. As a marketer, reading is a great way to stay knowledgeable, and just as important, to stay inspired. It can be through fiction, non-fiction, blog posts, white papers, social posts. It doesn’t even have to technically be reading: watch videos or listen to podcasts. Just keep learning and growing so you can stay in tune with what’s happening around your company and customers.

Do a gut check.

Marketing and branding is more art than science. Most of what we do is following a gut instinct – well informed by insights, information and research. What does your gut say about past and future initiatives? Does it feel like a campaign is going to hit the mark? If something feels off, chances are there is a reason. Successful marketing and branding initiatives connect with consumers – through shared ideas and emotions. And if you’re not feeling “it,” neither will your target audience.

Engage others.

Get other people’s perspectives to help effectively shape strategy for 2017. Ask customers or teams on the front line and work with colleagues outside your department. It’s all too easy to stay in our comfort zones as we churn out plan after plan, and implement tactic after tactic. Challenge yourself – and your 2017 plans – by finding someone who is willing to ask the hard questions and push you forward to a new way of thinking.

Make a plan and get to work.

As you’ve been paying attention, reading, talking to others and honestly gauging your work, your plan has probably already taken shape. Spend some time refining your ideas into a cohesive checklist that supports and positions your brand for success in 2017 and beyond.

What other ways do you plan to take action in 2017? Share them with us on Twitter, @intrinzicsays.

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