Some of my favorite aspects of working at a marketing agency are the continuous opportunities to encounter new ideas and learn new skills. Our team recently got together to share the top lessons we’ve learned this year from our client work and our internal company improvement projects.
Here are our 17 marketing lessons from 2017:
1) Focus on the Metrics That Matter
2) Don’t Pursue Every Lead
- Can you devote enough time and attention to ensure you deliver quality results?
- Is this prospect in our company’s wheelhouse – can we really help them?
- Are they ready to undertake this project internally?
It’s okay to turn down work or to delay the project start until your team is better equipped. You’ll notice better outcomes and more satisfied customers because of it.
3) The Art of Persuasion Is Alive and Well
Marketing teams have long known that turning a negative into a positive is a tried-and-true tool. What we’ve learned across all communication channels (and from politics to social gatherings) is persuasion – giving someone a reason to believe you – really works. People have an innate desire to trust then verify. In marketing, give your audience news they can use and a persuasive reason to believe, and they’ll open your email, download your case study or reach out to connect with you.
4) Engage With Social Media
Sometimes the best place to reach your audience and prospects is on social media. While face-to-face interactions are still wonderful and needed, everyone that is influential is online and most likely so are the business leaders you want to connect with. A strong online presence is key; you can have so many more interactions and introductions that way.
Think your company’s Twitter feed or Facebook posts alone are going to drive engagement? Nope. You have to make an effort to spark interesting and meaningful conversations. Engagement will become even more critical this year as audience behaviors change and app-based experience at home and in the workplace gain popularity.
5) The Generation Zers Are Coming!
Move over millennials, Gen Zers (born 1995-1998) are entering the workforce at the same that Millennials are moving into leadership roles. In the U.S., the age with the largest population is 26-year-olds! These decision-makers think differently from their baby-boomer parents and so will their younger siblings from Gen Z. If marketers understand how to work with the next generation, their companies will benefit from it.
Keep in mind that for Gen Z, every phone has been smart. And speaking directly to these individuals will require a different set of cultural references, (hint: they don’t know what the “Borg” is.) Gen Zers are likely more familiar with YouTubers, podcasters, and Instagram influencers than they are with traditional Hollywood icons.
6) Voice and Video Are on the Rise
Want to get your message across clearly? Add video and voice as another delivery mechanism. From Alexa to Siri (and everything in-between), the fastest growing social connection is through video. If it’s not already on your list for 2018, make sure you add it.
7) Marketing Department Audits Are Becoming More Mainstream
Why audit? Whether you have a marketing budget of $50K or $50M, you can benefit from a structured audit process. Reviewing your marketing department’s goals, campaigns, budget and resources on a scheduled basis can significantly improve your company’s performance.
8) Personalization in Marketing Continues to Evolve
We didn’t see personalization grow as quickly as we thought it would in B2B marketing last year. However, we expect to see broader use of this technique in 2018.
Our clients are beginning to feel more comfortable trying personalization in individual and collective forms such as email campaigns and marketing automation. Catered content gives the user identity and inflicts an emotional response that they’re unique. Check out Demand Base for a great example of both web copy and content personalization.
9) Page Speed Is Becoming a Major Ranking Factor for SEO
The ever-growing mobile crowd expects pages to load quickly. To meet this need, Google wants to reward websites that deliver seamless consumer experiences. Large hero images and videos look great, but will significantly slow a website down. We expect to see the usage of these types of hero graphics decrease in 2018.
In addition, illustrations look great and can compress to much smaller file sizes than photographic images. To reduce the use of images, anything that can be done with CSS should always be done with CSS.
10) Keep Small Screens in Mind When Designing Logos
An excellent logo has always needed to be simple, but now it must be something that is identifiable on tiny screens. These new forms are called “responsive logos.” For example, sticky headers (smaller navigation that stays on screen as the user scrolls), icons on smartwatches and favicons use small logo sizes.
11) A Blog Series Is a Content Anchor
Having a weekly series on your blog is a great way to stay in touch with your audience on a consistent basis. A blog series with a specific theme and publishing schedule lets your fans know what type of content to expect and when they’ll hear from you next. Dividing a complex industry topic into a 4-part series is one way to demonstrate a high-level of subject matter expertise for your company. Customer Q&A posts are also some of our favorites!
12) Use a Combined Social Media & Blog Calendar
This year we abandoned our outdated spreadsheet system and adopted a digital calendar for our blog and social media management. Our team now uses the CoSchedule app to access a digital calendar where we can make universal changes to our company publishing schedule in real-time. Adopting this tool helped our team streamline our social media marketing efforts, save time, and eliminate other more bulky tech tools.
13) Regularly Document Your Content Processes
Document your processes for writing blog posts, creating newsletters, and running social campaigns. While it may take a few hours to get this mapped out, it will make onboarding new employees much quicker and smoother. Record your favorite industry resources, formatting tips, imagery suggestions, and key login information on one unified document. You may be surprised at how many steps are involved just to create a small piece of content! Set aside a few minutes every month to skim through and update your process docs. Also, make sure you have an organized system for sharing these documents company-wide.
14) It’s All About Accounts
Salespeople do not speak about how many leads they closed. They tout how many ACCOUNTS they’ve closed. In 2018, we expect that marketing will get more aligned with this philosophy using ABM methods.
15) SEO Is Still Valuable
16) Your Audience Is Talking. Are You Listening?
Monitoring your media channels may seem like an obvious task to perform, but not everyone does it. Or if they do, they may not take it a step further by seeing what lessons they can take away from social media conversations. You can learn a lot about your clients, your competition, what is relevant, what info people want, and much more if you actually analyze your accounts!
17) Get Your Creative Team Involved Early
This year we plan to get our creative team involved earlier in client engagements. When your creative team has a full understanding of a client’s goals and the objectives of a specific project, they are better equipped to make creative strategic decisions.
Marketing in 2018
Watch our blog this year for more posts covering these topics!
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