If there’s one thing that 2016 has taught us, it’s that a lot of cliched sayings should be top of mind. “Expect the unexpected”, “hope for the best, prepare for the worst”, and so on. As this roller coaster of a year comes to a close, what can we learn to be better prepared as marketers in light of uncertainty?
Assume less, prepare more.
Instead of relying on predictions, focus on reacting better and having a plan for more possibilities. A lot of this year’s expectations were supposed to be a “sure thing” — this term has no place in a marketer’s vocabulary. If you find yourself assuming a certain outcome, maybe it’s time to step back and look at things with a fresh set of eyes. Think about times in the past year when you’ve taken some sort of outcome for granted — how could that have gone another way?
Read and Research
It’s always good advice to read more and to research more. You draw upon the collective knowledge of those that came before you, and if you can avoid some sort of mistake due to that, then everyone’s happy. Make sure you’re up-to-date on the competitive landscape, on new emerging technologies, and on the strategies that are in place nowadays and in the foreseeable future.
Use data to your advantage.
Today, we have a better opportunity than ever to analyze consumer behaviors and noticing patterns early. This allows us to make more informed decisions based on hard numbers, rather than emotions or snap reactions. Ensure things are performing within your target ranges, and constantly work towards refinement and improvement of any digital campaigns.
Digital marketing is always a game of iteration, and you can’t improve if you don’t measure. Make sure you know the right metrics to be looking at for any campaigns or strategies that you might have.
Don’t try to stay on top of trends.
Unless you’re really lucky, you’ll only hear about a “trend” when it’s in full force and on its way out. When marketers try to hop from trend to trend, it oftentimes becomes a huge waste of time and resources at best, and at worst it can do harm to the brands that you’re working with. It’s very inauthentic to pretend that something is a part of your brand because it is popular.
You’re better off actually being authentic, and making sure that the audience can see that. That’s lasting, while trends and fads are fleeting.
Above all, remember your audience.
In the end, you are marketing to a certain set of individuals. Don’t get too caught up on reaching out to certain cohorts that aren’t a good fit (a bit like how everyone seems to want to reach millennials now, one way or another). It’ll cause your messaging to seem forced and awkward. This goes along with the previous point — make sure that you’re authentic in your marketing. Too few brands are doing that these days.
As the year comes to a close, we have time to evaluate what we did well, and what we can improve upon. With 2017 coming around, we can learn from the past and put new strategies into action — making sure that we learn from past mistakes and reach our goals.