Three New Year’s Resolutions For Marketers

The gym is overcrowded, Facebook is full of motivational quotes -- this can only mean one thing:  it’s a new year and the resolutions are runnin’ wild! While I tend to avoid the hoopla around resolutions, I thought it would be fun to identify three resolutions that I believe should show up on every Marketer's set of goals for 2016:
  • Redefine the “top of the funnel"
  • Evolve competitive insights
  • Grab the brass optimization ring
Redefine the “top of the funnel"
In our industry, "top of the funnel" typically refers to the reach and acquisition investments of an organization. While the emails, ads, social posts, and all of your other investments need to be eye-catching and ultimately invoke a customer to complete a valuable action for your business, it should not be the only focal point when thinking about the funnel.
Truth be told, your funnel actually begins with your agency relationships before anything ever hits the network for your customers to see. It’s important, in today’s transparency age, for you to ensure that you optimize your agency relationships and align on a core set of KPIs to audit performance from a cost and quality standpoint. Taking that a step further, it’s also important to audit the financial compliance of your agency relationships to ensure that your money is going to the right places, and that ultimately you are benefitting from receiving money back from the agencies when owed.  
Audits are not a bad thing, despite the negative stigma associated with that word (especially for an Italian like me). They also aren’t going to negatively impact the long-standing relationships you have with your agencies. In fact, when done correctly, these audits will improve your relationships long-term and the outputs of that relationship in the form of better performing media at a better cost. 
Your agencies should be incentivized on providing better performance, and strategic audits will not only help you measure the improvements but they will also provide you with a clear set of insights to take action on.  When we perform audits for customers on TV (national and local), Print, Digital, or Financial Compliance we typically see the following positives from them:
You can optimize your owned channels and better convert customers with targeting, but in order to see the full return on investment you need to ensure you are optimizing the entire funnel. 
Evolve competitive insights
Some of the coolest projects we have been a part of recently have involved working with organizations on their expansions into new markets or to breathe new life into existing markets.  This has provided for a very unique blend of measurement and performance analytics combined with real-time monitoring and analysis of the key competitors’ messaging in that region.
Think about the markets you are active within right now, and which markets you may be underperforming in. With the advances in technology in recent years, you can now monitor creative (digital, print, etc.) in near real-time from your competition around the globe and create alerts to maintain that visibility into what matters most.  
This is a game changer, as it creates the perfect storm of analytics for your reach and acquisition efforts combined with the insight into your competitions in-market approaches. The end result is a well-informed capability to generate insights and truly optimize your reach and acquisition efforts beyond just your standard personalization principles.
Grab the brass optimization ring
I’m an avid WWE fan. A while back, Vince McMahon challenged the youth in the WWE to “grab the brass ring” as many of the vets that had been carrying the company suffered injuries and were generally on the downturn of their careers. 
With that in mind, my challenge to marketers is to grab the brass optimization ring in 2016. It’s there for the taking in your organization and I can assure you that there is ample opportunity to provide immediate value. Not only is this the key to your next promotion, but it’s also the key to your organization breaking free from the reporting mold that most likely exists today.
Now is the time to shift the focus of your program to optimization, build a plan, and execute. If you don’t have time to take this challenge on, then you need to scale back efforts that aren’t core to your evolution as an organization. As you embark on this journey, one of the best places to start is with the customer experience and use that as a leading indicator of where the low-hanging fruit exists. If you’re looking to learn more about that, I urge you to check out our webinar in February. 
2016 is the year of transparency in marketing and will be a huge year for marketers around the globe.  The resolutions that I have outlined in this newsletter could help you take your program to the next level and ensure that you are creating efficiency for every dollar you spend in your key markets. Here’s to a successful year and to grabbing the brass ring in 2016!
What are your marketing resolutions for 2016? Let me know in the comments below!
By Bill Bruno
About the Author:

Bill Bruno is the CEO - North America, Ebiquity.

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