Winter is coming…and so is 2018

October has arrived. Say hello to playoff baseball, Halloween and pumpkin-spiced everything! As the year winds down, it’s time to look forward into next year. Yes, I’m referring to 2018 New Year’s resolutions. Too soon? Maybe. But an early start never hurt anyone.

While most resolutions in the coming year focus on curbing bad habits like junk food, poor exercise or lack of sleep, I’m challenging you to take on a resolution that will improve your career. October is the perfect time to begin thinking about marketing goals that will lead to a New Year filled with revenue growth instead of expensive champagne bills. Okay, champagne is still important – forget I said that.

Here are 4 signs that show it might be time to adopt a fresh marketing strategy (or agency) for 2018.

1.When your current agency is still reporting on impressions and clicks, but you want to use data to predict your audience’s next move.
You’ve moved into the data era of digital marketing and are tracking analytics inside and out - Good for you! While your current agency sends you dashboards filled with data points like visits, impressions and clicks, the marketing world has already changed in some way. You need to stay on top of ever-shifting trends by moving away from measuring vanity metrics and step into the world of action metrics.

Why do you need to make this resolution in 2018? Speed is the new currency. In the past, marketers used analytics to react to their audience’s behavior. Later, that transitioned into using data proactively. For 2018 and on, data will be used for predictive analytics that will deliver hyper-personalized online marketing campaigns in real time. If you’re not progressing toward this type of measurement, then you’re allowing your competitors to reach the same target audience before you do. Not to mention, they’ll be delivering more relevant content.     

2.When your current agency is focused on buzzwords and shiny features, but you want traffic and conversion.
You like big ideas, everyone does. However, you and your marketing team have started to play Buzzword Bingo during conference calls with your agency. Sure, vendors can demo marketing technology so cool, it’s reminiscent of a SciFi movie, but you care about revenue and results! Can these buzzword features do that? The simple answer is yes ...wait, I meant to say it depends.

Why do you need a buzzword-free resolution for 2018? As I mentioned, results can vary. Personally, I find marketing technology and buzzword features are a lot like life insurance – It’s sold to you instead of buying it yourself. Your current agency can sell you with slick demos and repeating lingo from various Ted Talks, but results often lie in your marketing strategy. This is typically free of shiny objects and is only concerned with one thing - achieving your measurable business objectives. So, make 2018 the year you’re truly results driven. Don’t fall off strategy because of features that you or your current agency don’t know how to integrate, implement or execute. 

3. When your current agency’s focus is based on individual marketing channels, but you want to provide a personalization that builds brand loyalty.
You currently treat each marketing channel as its own strategy. Television, email, social media, print, paid media, SEO, direct mail, website development, contact center, customer service and sales all live in their own little silo separated from the entire customer experience.

Your audience can interact with your brand in a variety of ways. This could seem overwhelming to anyone outside of the marketing field. The first challenge is seamlessly integrating a personalized message across channels. The second challenge is moving your data outside of a separate channel and advancing toward journey analytics.

Why do you need to make this a resolution for 2018? Delight. There it is, the old marketing term used to describe outstanding customer service or appreciation for your brand. New generations care more about personalization than price or brand name. Reaching them at the right time, with the right message, across marketing channels is how you’ll provide a delightful experience.

4.When your marketing results have stalled, but your competitors continue to grow in the market place.
You’ve hit a wall. Your campaigns seem tired. Engagement has decreased, and you anticipate revenue will be the next thing that’ll take a hit.

As time goes on, people change, preferences change and so does technology. There could be a lot of reasons why this has happened. But one thing is for sure, you can only live with this flat-line for so long before something bad happens.    

While you might really like your existing agency, deep down you know they haven’t delivered results for your business in years. Start thinking about 2018 with this new resolution in mind. Whether you relate to this final sign or any of the previous three – we’re happy to chat so you can be your best self, and make 2018 the best year of your professional career.