The champagne has been popped, the last of the holiday cookies have been eaten, and the 2010s are officially in the rear view. As we head back to the office to start the new year, most of us are resolving to do things like exercise more, eat fewer holiday cookies, and finally achieve longstanding goals. True, most resolutions don’t make it to February – but here’s 5 New Year’s resolutions for 2020 that marketers should actually keep.

1: Get Serious About Your Customers’ Journey

The top lesson we learned in 2019 was that generic marketing messages based on broad audience segments have officially expired. Customers expect a personalized experience that demonstrates understanding of their pain points – and if they don’t get that, they’ll go elsewhere.

If you haven’t yet built out the kind of detailed customer journey map that helps you understand what your customers are trying to accomplish at each stage (and how to provide it), there’s no time like the present. It’s not just about meeting expectations; ultimately, a deep understanding of the customer will help you produce more effective marketing with the resources you already have.

2: Get to the Root of Content Challenges

For most of the 20th century, the biggest challenge for marketers was the limited number of channels for reaching their customers. In the 21st century, the situation is flipped: channels are plentiful, and the limiting factor is creating enough relevant, high-quality content to make use of them. 

We’ve discussed this content bottleneck before, and it’s very common for enterprises to face challenges in their content creation, though the details may vary. Sometimes the issue is that the organization simply can’t create enough content. Other organizations may have a quality issue – the amount of content is good, but it’s not the right fit for the audience, and so it isn’t resonating with customers. Still others may have all the pieces they need, but struggle to connect them to the right place and time.

Content challenges are common – and it’s also common for the root causes of those challenges to be unclear. If you aren’t sure what’s causing the problem, though, you can’t take steps to fix it. Make 2020 the year you get to the bottom of things (and if you need someplace to start, give our diagnosis chart a try).

3: Break Bad Organizational Habits

There’s a lot of talk about how enterprises should break down their organizational silos. And that talk is correct. Silos slow down your processes, create more opportunities for error, and make it hard to measure big-picture success. Breaking them down, however, can also be a significant project, especially for long-established enterprises. Significant, but not impossible – and well worth the effort.

A good first step to breaking down larger team barriers can be to tackle the walls between your various martech systems. Once your data is able to flow freely between your different tools, you’ll remove one of the key visibility barriers that keeps teams apart.

In 2010, silos were a hassle, but in 2020 they’re a serious liability. Resolve to get your teams (and systems) working together more closely this year.

4: Make Sales a True Partner 

It’s no secret that sales and marketing departments are more frequently rivals than friends. Different goals and incentives can lead to tense relationships, at SMBs and larger enterprises alike. But with increasing customer expectations (and shrinking margin for error), it’s vital for marketers and sellers to remember they’re on the same team.

Like most relationship issues, there’s usually blame on both sides. Marketers can resolve to start fresh for the new year by taking steps to improve alignment with sales – like making communication and feedback front and center. 

One of the most frequently cited issues between sales and marketing is the ability for sellers to find what they need in a timely manner, with the information they need to use it correctly. Technology can help, but tackling this issue ultimately requires commitment from the marketing team to prioritize alignment, and treating sales like a partner. The increased engagement with customers will make it all worth it.

5: Treat Ecosystem Like a Strategic Advantage

We already talked about needing to break down silos, technological and otherwise, in order to avoid potential pitfalls. But it’s not all about trying to avoid problems. The API-connected martech ecosystem also presents a world of opportunities.

A well-integrated best-of-breed martech stack takes the best of what the 7000-providers-and-counting martech field can offer, and brings it together to enable faster collaboration, new workflows, and deeper insights into what’s working and why. 

To take full advantage of the opportunity, however, you need to have the right mindset toward your martech stack: that it’s a strategic advantage, not just an operating expense. As you go into 2020, approach marketing technology with an eye towards the greater whole, and how each tool can better work together to help your team win.