Resolutions for Marketers in 2012

2012 concept pic with world & businessmenI’m not big on making specific resolutions for the new year, but I do take time to reflect and see what’s working and what’s not both in my personal and professional life. It’s a great habit to get into on a regular basis, not just once each year.

So, marketers—especially CMOs (Chief Marketing Officers)—what are your plans for 2012?

5 Resolutions to Bring Marketing Success in 2012

1. Listen to your customers more.

Technology and social networks continue to make it easier than ever to listen to your customers. You have no excuse for not knowing what your customers want. Focus groups are no longer the most powerful tools in your hand.

Many social networks (like Facebook and LinkedIn) let you conduct polls on as many topics as you want. SurveyMonkey allows you to poll customers in even greater depth. There are many tools you can use. The point is you should use them to your advantage.

Beyond polling, your employees who manage the social networks for your company can use all sorts of filters on each network to find out what people are talking about. Even better, platforms like Radian6 and Alterian do the listening for you, compiling comments and posts from across many networks.

I repeat, you have no excuse for not knowing what your customers think and want.

2. Learn how to speak the language of your customers.

No customer wants to hear about verticals, synergies or continuums. Listen to the words your customers use. Use those same words when you speak to them. Get rid of marketing jargon once and for all.

The more simply you speak, the easier it is for people to hear—especially among all the other noise out there. If you want to be heard, you don’t have to be the loudest, you just have to be the most clear.

3. Create the ideal marketing department.

Do you really have the right distribution of strengths and skills throughout your marketing department? Or is your marketing department still structured the same as it was in the 1980s or ‘90s?

Your marketing department should be full of people who understand three things—technology, human behavior and communication.

You need at least one person (ideally, more) who not only understands new technology quickly, but also keeps up on all the latest developments and can readily inform you and the rest of the marketing team. Being quick to adapt is crucial in this new age of marketing.

Communicators are also key. Your team must be able to understand and communicate well with all types of audiences. The immediacy of social networking requires communicators who can engage, entertain and stay calm under pressure.

4. Listen to your employees more.

Your employees are already on social networks in their free time (and while working). Use their expertise, even if they’re not in your marketing department. The best ideas often come from those who know what it’s like to be a customer and have good and bad experiences to share.

Find people most excited to spread the word about your company and let them. Marketing can be easily taught—personality and enthusiasm, not so much.

5. Don’t try to do it all.

Just because a social network exists doesn’t mean you have to be on it. Choose your channels wisely. (For more info, see: Which Social Media Channels Should Your Business Use?)

Consider the following:

  • Where is your audience hanging out?
  • Where is your audience engaging most?
  • Do you have the resources to handle the channels you choose?
  • If you could only handle one channel well, which would that be?

Don’t be afraid of only being on one social network. If that’s where your audience engages most, that one network might be enough.

And one more…

If you haven’t figured mobile out yet, you’re already behind. Hire designers, writers and technology experts who can start figuring out how to best reach your customers through mobile. With tablet and smartphone growth, you’ll need to have useful apps and promotions that appeal to customers rather than annoy. If you’re in retail, understanding this technology is even more important. So, get to it!

Good luck with all your resolutions this year!

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Photo provided by Kookkai_nak at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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