New Year’s Resolutions for Marketers

Every New Year we resolve to do the things that are good for us: Eat better, spend our time more wisely, organize, make our endeavors more meaningful, exercise more, etc. Those things are very general, and I’m sure we’ll do them all, to some degree. But we can translate some of those things we do personally into our professional lives, so we can further enjoy our work and be better at it.

So here are a few New Year’s Resolutions for Marketers in achievable steps that are pretty easy, and designed to be effective and fun:

Automate More of Your Processes. The better you are at doing more with less, the more time you have to work on the other resolutions and have more fun. It also shows that you understand your processes intimately when you can reallocate resources from the mundane tasks to the higher profile projects.

Interact with Other Departments. Understanding the impact of your work on others gives you more insight during planning, and helps others to see you as a big picture thinker. It also gives you a more meaningful grasp of how consumers are likely to see your company and the products you market, and enhance the value that others place on the opinions of Marketing. You have to do it at least weekly.

Devise Actionable Solutions. Proposing solutions is a lot better than just pointing out problems (nobody wants to be the problem guy, so be the solution guy ~ or girl, of course). Make it a point to think through and propose some tangible steps every time you bring a situation to the table. Even if there is ultimately a better idea than yours, make your thoughts the stepping-stone to the fix and you’ll surely be known as the forward thinker.

Build Your Portfolio. Any Marketing department that has been at it a while has lots of past campaigns from which their current practices were derived. Put them together. Appreciate history and deepen your understanding of what has worked, and your new directions will be more insightful.

Enhance Your Soft Skills. Most other departments will expect that the marketers are the best communicators anyway, so live up to that title. But that doesn’t just mean that we’re the first to stand up in a group setting. It means becoming the ambassador of the ideas of others. If we are in charge of bringing the company’s ideas to the marketplace, we should also be great at trumpeting the benefits of the new HR policy requirements, or the showing the company why the Ops re-org puts our best foot forward. So join the Toastmasters or the Saturday debate club at your local library, or the Association for Business Communication, or some such organization (this is by no means a comprehensive list of the many great groups out there designed to help you advance your skills in this area), and get better at getting the word out.

Participate in the Industry. Many of us see marketing as our discipline and where we ply our trade as secondary, but whatever industry holds your focus now is worth jumping into with both feet. If you’re a marketer in the movie business, you have to go to premiers and you have to be a film aficionado. So if you market industrial equipment, join the council that drives safety standards. Whatever it is, as marketers, we have an obligation to be the leaders within our fields, so that consumers have more representation in the development and direction of products and services that will be offered to them. That fewer CMOs are becoming the CEOs is a disturbing indicator of the trend that companies are employing reactive leaders. Besides (I’m being purely subjective here), isn’t it more fun to work in a company where Marketing drives, or would you rather have corporate counsel or finance at the helm?  (Of course, I do love lawyers and bean counters, and would be the champion of their innovative and exciting ideas.)

Here’s to greatness for all of us next year. And however you choose to ring it in, whether in quiet reflection or with fanfare and fireworks, have a safe and joyful turn of the calendar, and we’ll see you in 2013.

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