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Marketers—Get uncomfortable in 2013

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Nolan Ryan once said, “Enjoying success requires the ability to adapt. Only by being open to change will you have a true opportunity to get the most from your talent.” We must remember that with a new year comes more change along with new opportunities.

Over the course of my career I’ve witnessed a lot of change—both good and bad. I’ve learned that in order to succeed and continually grow is the ability to adapt and be flexible in your approach, because the only constant in life is change. What does this mean for marketers? It means stop doing the same things that you’ve been doing over and over again in 2013—especially if you haven’t seen the results that you want.

Every year I make it a point to meet with my respective team members to do a year in review. I think long and hard when I’m evaluating my results from the year prior and the actions that I took. The amount of equity—time and resources—put into your marketing initiatives account for your actions and dollars spent. So, let’s wipe the slate clean and begin anew.

Hits and Misses

Only by reviewing, assessing and evaluating the results of 2012 will you be able to craft meaningful and smarter marketing. By looking back at the key initiatives tied to business goals will you see if you met your goals. By doing this, you can determine what did you do exceptionally well. Things to consider:

  • What are the campaigns that generated most success?
  • Did your content strategy work and what types of content resonated with the audience?
  • How successful was your execution plan?
  • What are the opportunities you missed and areas that you could have done better?

Test of True Success

CMOs are under greater pressure to demonstrate results to the upper management team—results that are tied to the overall revenue. It’s the job of the marketer to fully understand key measurements and KPIs (key performance indicators) that are tied to this success. It’s important to look back at how your measurement was structured in 2012 to understand how you will approach this in the new year. We have to get our heads out of the cloud when it comes to measuring marketing success. Don’t think only in terms of marketing interests or leads or marketing generated opportunities. The funnel feeds the company’s revenue health. Think about the health of the funnel and how much marketing contributed to this. Speak to your sales team to understand how marketing is contributing to the business and readjust how you organize your marketing campaigns and programs and how those convert into real, tangible business opportunities.

Poll Your Internal Audience

Your most important internal target audience is the sales team. You don’t market in a bubble—you essentially work as an extension of the sales team to drive more qualified leads to sales. Do an internal survey—one-on-one conversations—with your audience to see how you did. What campaigns worked and what didn’t so you can improve your approach. It might not always be pretty, but at least you have the facts in front of you to tackle what’s ahead. Plus, they’ll appreciate the fact that you’re getting their input and in turn, you’ll create more champions for your work.

Start the 2013 Planning

Now that you have all the facts in front of you, you are more likely to build a smarter marketing program. This is where you adapt your thinking and plan. Look at the results and data to make better marketing decisions. We’ll continue to see new trends that will impact the marketing function—technologies, processes and practices. Get ready to take the critical trends into consideration rather than just checking the box. Be the change you want to see in 2013 for your organization and define an innovative, integrated and smarter marketing strategy and program that will make your organization be recognized as the leader in the space. For more on some marketing trends, be sure to check out Hubspot’s Marketing Trends for 2013 .  

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