New Year's Resolutions

  • by , Op-Ed Contributor, December 30, 2013
Before you tip your glasses and celebrate the start of a new year or sign your blood away on your final 2014 budgets, you should reflect on 2013 and set goals.

Several major acquisitions in the email industry have cast a huge spotlight on the importance of email in the marketing stack.  Major changes at Google were a shocker for many, considering email is an industry that hasn’t experienced much change at the ISP level for years, outside of how they block your email.   This will challenge how you think about advertising in the inbox next year.  With shifts in privacy, security challenges and a big push for transparency with data, marketers are really taking inventory all forms of earned, owned and paid media and the data that supports it.  

My goals for 2014 are both strategic but also meant to challenge me to think about things a bit differently.   Trying to look around corners is impossible when the corners continually change. Thus my goals are more about attitude and focus than trying to reach the proverbial finish line faster than others.  They are:

  • Get out more.   There has never been a trip I’ve made where I didn’t bring back some valuable information, insight, perspective or connection that served me well. I commit to meeting new people and continuing to challenge my perspectives against those of others. My goal is to talk to as many marketers, strategic thinkers, and people outside our industry who just see things differently, and talk to the “doers.”  It’s amazing the perspective gained when you are tuned to the sounds around you.  As David Ogilvy wisely said, “Advertising people who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore decodes of enemy signals.”
  • Play offense.   Playing it safe in marketing is dangerous   I commit to increasing my risk position in all respects in 2014. I commit to developing products that will stretch and radically improve how we operate marketing today. I commit to more than just testing, I commit to optimization knowing full well that I’ll fail every day. I won’t wait for the best idea to take action.   As Steven Wright said, “There is a fine line between fishing and just standing on the shore and looking like an idiot.” 
  • Press the mobile engagement ceiling.   This holiday season was no blip.  Email is mobile, and mobile is simply how the new age of the consumer has shifted.   I commit to developing the richest insights into these behavioral shifts, targeting these behaviors and thinking mobile first.  2014 is the year to set the baseline for your customer base that will be the new normal for engagement across the mobile/tablet experience.   I commit to the mobile engagement itself, I commit to mining this behavior and translating it into meaningful ways to describe how my customers business is changing. 
  • Accelerate social advertising. The rising market caps of Facebook and Twitter is not a fad.   The fact is, advertising will go where the consumers are.   I commit to social advertising and striving to connect my email databases and customer databases to social --  not for the sake of engagement, but for reach value.   We’ve been talking about email, social and mobile for over 10 years now, but been looking at it all wrong.  I commit to challenging how I think about consumers and social, and not settling for “share value” as the proxy for success.   We have to find the commercial value of social -- it has to show a payoff  -- and that will take willingness to invest in it persistently throughout the year.



As Winston Churchill said, “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity. The optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”

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