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5 New Year's Resolutions To Build The Ultimate Marketing Plan

We marketers too often find ourselves trapped on the execution treadmill, with hardly any time at all to stop and assess our impact on the bottom line. But as the year winds down, it’s imperative we take stock of what’s worked and what hasn’t, so we can chart a better course for ourselves and our businesses in 2018.

If there’s anything we’ve learned in 2017, it’s that the customer journey is continuing to transform and evolve. Seventy-eight percent of purchase decisions now begin with a web search. Fifty percent of buyers rely on social media and peer reviews to guide the process. Marketers ought to do all they can in the new year to tailor and adapt their outreach to the changing online journeys their buyers travel – to have in place the right strategies and technologies to orchestrate one-to-one engagements at scale, across the customer lifecycle.

Here are five resolutions to ensure digital programs really drive revenue in 2018: 

1. Identity changes in customer decision making. Prospects, new customers and existing customers all act differently. The digital transformation shift requires marketers to rethink current strategies and adopt new engagement models that are responsive and adaptive to the individual customers. Marketers can no longer look at the customer journey as linear, but as an evolving path that is unique to each individual. New levels of intelligence are required to map your customer journey and adapt the communication strategy to each individual.

2. Tailor content to individual buyers. Long gone are the days where marketing was simply responsible for filling the top of the funnel with new leads. It is imperative that marketing tailor messages across the “Brand, Demand, Expand” stages of the customer lifecycle. In the Brand stage, messages should attract new prospects by establishing trust. In the Demand stage, content should aid in decision-making and address specific pain points. For Expand, content must train, educate and increase adoption. All content should deliver messages that adhere to four key tenets: addresses buyer pain points and needs, simple to understand, relevant during all stages of the buyer’s journey and durable enough to stand the test of time.

3. Focus on specific tactics to reach buyers in each stage. The complexities around the modern buyer’s journey can be simplified with proper campaign planning, pairing the right content with the right tactics for each stage. Begin the process by setting the right goals and identifying the right KPIs. The tactics in the “attract” stage may include increased inbound activity and website traffic while tactics in the “nurture” stage would focus on educating, engaging and building trust with prospects. When planning specific tactics, identifying and resolving gaps is an important component. For example, if the tactic is to increase web traffic, ensuring resources are available to build fresh content and having the right SEO tools in place are essential.

4. Validate success with the right reports. Know what marketing campaigns, channels and content drive bookings for your business. The right reports can validate this success and prove your team’s ROI. Create reports that map goals to the overall customer journey and get buy-in from your entire team. Establish overall funnel metrics and develop specific KPIs that measure progress against the gaps you identified earlier. 

5. Champion your big idea. Marketers’ most important resolution is to determine how they will make a mark and innovate in the coming year. What is your big idea? Identify a new channel that will create new revenue streams. Go beyond the eBook and create new and interactive content. Identify new ways to motivate your team. Seize the opportunity to position marketing as a leader and change agent in your organization. 

Creating the ultimate marketing plan is not easy. Take the time now to jump off the execution treadmill and look back at how far your business has come over the last year, where it needs to be in the next year, and how you will help it get there. Build on your success to date with new levels of creativity and passion. 

Here’s to 2018!

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