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6 Marketing Habits to Break in 2017
Your brand’s success is closely linked to the habits of the people behind it — your marketing team. While we often think of habits as characteristics of individuals, habits have a domino effect in large groups – such as companies – so small changes in individual behavior can have large-scale effects. The good news is that many habits have fairly simple psychological underpinnings – so, with a little effort, bad habits can be broken.
The pace of change in many marketing organizations is rapid, and marketing leaders need to be especially nimble, adjusting the way they think about their work in real time. From poorly optimized processes and static marketing calendars to ignoring campaign brief management, here are six habits marketers should break to unlock greater value from their resources in 2017.
1. Optimizing bad content
How you create is just as important for the economics of your content as what you create and how you distribute it. Better marketing is ultimately the result of better processes, and better processes enable collaboration, transparency, and consistency. Much of ROI optimization comes long before you make post hoc calculations about the efficiency of your content and goes all the way back to how you structure your organization and share information between teams.
2. Putting relevance above effectiveness in your advertising
Technology has enabled marketers to target advertisements with astonishing accuracy – but just because you can target doesn’t mean you should. While your content should be relevant to your audience, research has shown that for brands looking to sustain long-term growth, mass marketing is more effective. In fact, P&G, the world’s biggest advertiser, pulled back on its targeted ad strategy this past year, as their CMO told the Wall Street Journal, “we targeted too much, and we went too narrow.” In 2017, we expect to see more global brands rethink their targeting strategy to make way for broader-based campaigns that speak to a wider audience of light- and non-buyers.
3. Setting and forgetting your campaign briefs
Writing detailed, thoughtful campaign briefs is a good marketing habit. But how often does your team align on a brief at the start of a campaign, email it out, then never look at it again? Briefs should be top of mind throughout the lifecycle of each campaign, and should be used even after your campaign is complete to measure success and kickstart future efforts that have similar mandates or are for different regions.
4. Relying on static calendars
We’ve all received content calendars that were outdated by the time they reached our inbox. Further, many marketing calendars are primarily lists of due dates that don’t increase visibility into your team’s process. In global organizations, this is especially problematic as you add more people, regions, channels, and time zones – content calendars can often be less a plan for the future and more a relic of the past. Marketers should stop relying on static calendars that are a poor resource for aligning their global teams around shared processes.
5. Keeping social in a silo
Separating social media from general campaign planning and strategy is a habit shared by marketers all over the world. But the brands that get the most value out of their social strategy treat it as a mass publishing medium – akin to television and print – that enables them to reach new customers and generate revenue. In 2016, BBDO won social agency of the year – ironically – for not doing social at all. Instead the agency brought its client brands back to “campaign-based thinking” and “increas[ing] their customer base to include light category buyers and non-buyers.” With this shift away from chasing vanity metrics such as likes, shares, and comments, the agency saw a 75% increase in effectiveness across its campaigns.
6. Ignoring the “process” in Creative Process
Much of marketing today – especially for those at senior levels – is increasingly data-driven and process-oriented. But many marketers have a blind spot when it comes to managing their creative team, assuming that all creative work is stifled by management interventions. However, marketers know that the cost of content is rising, and even the most creative endeavors have repeated elements, distinct steps, and measureable outcomes. Marketers should challenge their creative team to think about their work in terms of systems and to innovate improvements to the marketing process as a whole.
If you and your team are ready to embark on your bad-habit-breaking resolution for 2017, we have some more resources that might help. Use these 50 trends to guide your marketing strategy for the year, and this campaign planning template to translate that strategy into action.