Published on December 20th, 2016
Often times, mistakes prove to lead to the best lessons of all.
As long as you can minimize the damage and learn to not repeat your mistakes, you can be better at what you do -- the same goes for marketing.
In marketing, there are many challenges to be overcome before creating a successful marketing strategy.
Now, I'm sure you’ve received more than enough blog notifications promising marketing predictions or do's and donts for 2017, so I won't do that.
Instead, I'll share some tried and tested marketing lessons anyone should learn before ringing in 2017.
Lesson #1: Don't “Aim for the Bushes”
The truth of the matter is, many companies are "aiming for the bushes." They're going into an initiative blindly, not knowing what they want to achieve or what they'll need to achieve it.
They might have relied on some blind luck in the past to score some marketing wins, but in the long run, this lack of direction will only take you so far.
For 2017, your team might be looking at you, shrugging and saying that, they’re going to "wing it," but that won’t get you to where you want or need to be in 2017.
If you haven’t already, start by understanding your ideal customers in 2017
Here at IMPACT, we talk about understanding our ideal customers a lot. Many companies are working aimlessly because they don’t understand their ideal customers. Because of this, questions about their marketing communications sound like this:
- Where should we be?
- What should we be doing?
- What should we say?
You can’t be the company for everyone. That's why your ideal customers are your three-to-four best-fit prospects. When you identify those ideal customers, and get to know them like your closest friends, you’ll begin answering your own questions.
Lesson #2: Align Your Team Early On
At any given organization, there are some divides between teams and/or departments. This could be the marketing team being at odds with sales or leadership at odds with client service.
You need to resolve interdepartmental conflicts to move forward -- and the new year is a perfect time to do that.
Conflicts are absolutely toxic for not only your company’s culture, but how far you’ll make it in the new year. If you have these inter-department disputes, you need to make formal efforts to resolve them.
- What caused that rift? How can you fix it?
- Why do peers frown at each other at meetings? Why are they at odds? How can it be resolved?
Then, build your team around a common goal—company growth.
Once you are able to solve these issues with and between your team, it’s time to help them work together effectively.
It doesn’t matter what department someone is working for in your company—the goal should be the same; Growing your company. You should all be fighting to move the entire company forward, and it’s worth acknowledging the truth—that every department shares equal success at achieving that main goal.
Encourage your team to share information, both amongst themselves and within the wider organisation. Also, try to communicate more with your team. This goes beyond simply holding meetings, and includes things like being open to suggestions and concerns, asking about each team member’s work and offering assistance where necessary, and doing everything you can to communicate clearly and honestly with your team.
#3. Be Data Driven: Don’t Believe Every Marketing "Prediction" About the New Year
This is the time of the year where everyone has a prediction about the marketing landscape of 2017.
You’ve heard it before—people claiming that social media is dying, public relations is dying, paper is dying, desktop is dying, and so forth and so on. Some people might even put together a compelling argument and make you fall for it.
Watch Your Audience—Not the “Predictions”
Here’s the bottom line. Understand your audience like you understand your best friends or closest family, and you’ll know exactly what your audience will or won't use in the new year. There will be no speculation involved.
#4 Don’t Waste Time on The Wrong Social Media Platforms
A common marketing mistake every beginner makes is trying to master every social network. If it exists, you've got to be there, right? Wrong.
Every year, there is bound to be a new break out social network, but that doesn't mean it'll be right for your business.
If you haven't conducted proper audience research, you probably don’t know which social platforms are best for finding and engaging your target audience, so you spread your marketing out across several .
Not only is this practice time-consuming and expensive, it’s also inefficient. Instead of wasting your budget, find out which social networks your target audience prefers and concentrate your marketing efforts there.
As of the third quarter of 2016, Facebook had 1.79 billion active monthly users, making it the largest social media platform in the world. This could make it the best place for your brand to focus your social media marketing campaigns, but only if your audience is active there.
Putting together a marketing strategy isn't an easy task, and not always fun. Take these four marketing lessons into 2017, and start the new year with a stronger, more focused marketing strategy.
Another way to avoid serious marketing missteps in 2017: scoop up IMPACT’s Buyer Persona Kit below to ensure your strategy is crafted with your ideal client.
What marketing lessons are you carrying into next year? Please share your comments below!