Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

New Year CatAs I get ready to take a few days off around the holidays, I was thinking about 2014 and what I want to do differently to continually challenge myself. Plus, I am in the process of welcoming a new team member and saying goodbye to one who has become a terrific asset and friend. So I created a list of marketing resolutions to capitalize on what has changed and developed in 2013.

  • Enhance and leverage the brand. We used a strategy agency to help us hone our plans for the next three to five years in terms of new markets and services. Not every company has the resources to do this and it was a first for Affinity Express as well. But that means we have an excellent opportunity to make sure we are completely integrated. We can reorient everything we do around our brand and the promise it carries. As Marketing Thingy suggests, marketers should go beyond advertising to every communication piece, the structure of our offices, the forms we use and programs we develop. The point is to use the brand like a lens to view everything we do. Even if you didn’t revisit your strategy like we did, you can still focus on integrating your brand.
  • Produce great content. We have been deep into content marketing for a while now but I’d like to broaden to more formats and increase visual marketing this year. There is a good rationale as nearly 40% of U.S. companies use blogs for marketing purposes and companies that blog have 55% more website visitors. On top of that, 90% of companies market with custom content today. Content marketing is less expensive and more effective than traditional mass marketing and it is more appropriate for the digital era. If you are seen as an expert on relevant topics, you will build a larger following. The components of a content marketing plan are:
  1. High-quality blog with frequent posts
  2. Content in a variety of formats such as presentations, white papers, etc.
  3. Visual marketing on YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and on your website
  4. Content distribution plan on social media, your website, etc.
  • Develop a keyword strategy. When we want to find something, typically, we use a search engine. That’s why it is essential to determine what keywords your customers are using to find you. As Hubspot advises, you especially want to concentrate on long-tail keywords because they are associated with more qualified traffic and people who have progressed further down the purchasing path. Affinity Express done a good job in comparison to competitors for important keywords but it’s time to expand now that we plan to target several new sectors and are offering a complete range of digital services.
  • Be more social. I still hear objections from internal people about using social media for business and requests for “proof” that it impacts the bottom line of the company. We saw Facebook’s IPO in 2012 and Twitter’s public offering in 2013, indicating that social media is not going anywhere. But all you really need to know is that people are using it. That means marketers need to do more not less with social media in order to have meaningful conversations with clients and potential customers. While Affinity Express already has profiles and posts often on several channels, I’d like to do more to customize and build specific content for each.
  • Get mobile. Along the same lines as social media, it is critical to be mobile-ready. I’ve said many times this year to my CEO that I don’t want to hear we are building any other tools or assets that are not mobile-compatible. Thank goodness we have got a new website that will live up to the mantra! It doesn’t matter whether you are B2C or B2B, global smartphone use will reach two billion by 2015 and a majority of people use them to access emails and information. Forty percent of mobile users will click another mobile result if a site is not mobile friendly and 46 percent say they are unlikely to return to a website they had trouble accessing from their phone. If you want to go beyond a mobile website, you can write mobile optimized ad copy, use mobile bid modifiers and create mobile-optimized landing pages.
  • Improve email. We implemented a contact management system in 2013 after many, many years of suffering without one. Now I want to be sure we get our contact list in shape. Constant Contact recommends we all take the time to:
  1. Find out who is actually reading our emails: We should review reports to see who opens emails and create a separate list to send more targeted promotions.
  2. Learn what interests people: See the content that attracts people by leveraging click-through data and consider segmenting lists based on how they engage with you.
  3. Fix problems: If addresses bounce every month, fix or delete them.
  • Track activities and measure. Now that we have a contact management system, a larger sales force, a growing trade show calendar and more, I want to be sure we are measuring and reporting on all of our activities to ensure our small team does not wasting a minute on anything without value. For example, we will look closely at how each blog post performs and which releases or resources are downloaded from our website to determine the type of content in demand. Think about doing the same for your marketing efforts. As Social Media Today notes, “Smarter metrics are necessary in order to obtain clearer insights and more accurately measure ROI.” The Content Marketing Institute offers ideas on how to do this and an interview with Jason Falls with real world examples of social media measurement.
  • Learn new techniques and tools. This one is big for me because the deadlines of the day can be so overwhelming that I find I did not do anything for me (which in turn helps my company because I might become more productive, better informed, etc.). Going forward, I plan to take a three-pronged approach:
  1. Attend seminars—I can network at the same time.
  2. Learn online—Both with my colleagues and on my own.
  3. Tap into emailed sessions—I should be able to spare an hour here and there for compelling topics.
  • Teach others. I hope that my experience in marketing, as well as my tenure with Affinity Express will give me the basis to teach my team and others in 2014 so they can enhance their performance, their business success or even their lives in the same way I benefit so frequently from them.

Beyond the resolutions above, I like the perspective shared by Curt Hanke. He resolved to take more time to think and explore, leave the office, be proactive (i.e., offense rather than defense), get additional perspectives and allow himself to fail at times in order to improve. That seems like a great attitude to maintain heading into an exciting and challenging new year.

How are you planning to ring in the new year and  improve your marketing efforts in 2014?

About Kelly Glass
Kelly has been vice president of Marketing at Affinity Express for nine years now. She drives company strategy and all marketing activities.

3 Responses to Marketing Resolutions for the New Year

  1. Nader Ashway says:

    Great thoughts and resolutions here, Kelly. I especially love the final bullet point (Teach Others.) What an excellent endeavor to espouse, and yes, another fine way to spread the Affinity Express brand. And best of luck with your 2014 resolutions.

  2. Pingback: A New Face for Affinity Express’s Blog | Affinity Express Blog

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