Full disclosure: if I actually stuck to all my resolutions over the years, I’d be 20 pounds lighter, would have completed at least 10 marathons, started 5 businesses, become fluent in a couple languages, and would be an awesome husband and father.
I’m like the chain-smoking, overweight doctor who tells you to be healthier. Deal with it.
With that preamble in mind, here are the things that I should do, but probably won’t, this year.
1. Get your data under control. You probably throw away 99% of the data that you should be collecting and you don’t even know it. Make a list of the data sources you already have and posit their potential value. Are you creating cookie pools of website visitors so you can retarget them? Are you tracking usage data for your products so you can figure out what kinds of customers get the most value from your solutions? Storage is cheap – start logging and saving data now until you figure out precisely what is most important – you might be flushing a goldmine.
2. (Honestly) assess your digital capabilities. Take a hard look at your digital skills and programs. My guess is that it isn’t pretty. You may have a “digital team” – but that isn’t enough. Every part of marketing in 2017 should have a digital component. If you haven’t spent time thinking about how to drive more digital thinking into every part of your marketing, you are going to be left behind in 2017.
3. Get control of inbound. No, I don’t mean “get HubSpot certified” – I mean develop a real understanding of all the “front doors” to your organization and make sure that you have a decent experience and a closed-loop response strategy that can be measured in minutes, not days or weeks. With diverse web properties, social channels, phone numbers, and physical locations – you probably have communication channels that are sub-par in their experience or responsiveness. I try to spot check mine, and I don’t have too much trouble finding some scary stuff. Start with a list and a scorecard – that will give you a sense for the size of the problem.
4. Try something new. I’m a creature of habit. Unless I force myself to do something new, I do the same stuff that is comfortable. What can you do that is new? Anything. Try a new organization model. Hire a new agency (and fire an old one…) Try a new technology that is exciting, but unproven. Throw caution to the wind!
5. Sketch out your technical platform for 2020. Start with a blank sheet and define how you think your technical marketing platform will look in 2020. Your data sources from above might be a good place to start. Do you have a plan to implement machine learning to improve the performance of your marketing? Do you even know what that means? Did you realize that 2020 is only 3 years from now? You better get started…
6. Get your hands dirty. If you are like me, you get frustrated because things seem to take too long. Impatience is a virtue. At the same time, it helps to understand what it takes to gets real work done in 2017. So get out there and write a communications plan. Edit a video. Write a blog article. Write some code. You’ll probably develop a better appreciation for your staff – and you might actually get something new accomplished too.
7. Kill a sacred cow. How are you going to make time for all these resolutions? Stop doing something. This is also my favorite way to find “free” budget. What would happen if you didn’t go to that “really important trade show”? My guess is: nothing. What if you canceled an analyst contract? What if you killed the sponsorship for that “really influential website”? Probably nothing. You can start by asking your team the most important programs that are the foundation of their plan. Kill one of them. C’mon – it’ll be fun.
Will I accomplish any of these things in 2017? Not sure, but I guess I should start the most important resolution: getting myself a new job.