The 7 No-Choice-About-It New Year's Resolutions for Marketers

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Let's resolve to stop giving programmatic dollars to worthless middlemen and networks of hijacked computers.
Let's resolve to stop giving programmatic dollars to worthless middlemen and networks of hijacked computers. Credit: iStock

Each year we make personal New Years resolutions for one reason: We want to change, to be better versions of ourselves .

So why not carry that same idea into business? Given all the disruption, transformation and other words we heard way too many times in 2016, shouldn't we have a list of marketing resolutions to help us to make the changes we know we need in 2017?

Hopefully these will last longer than most of our personal pledges.

1. I will not buy anything, no matter how good it sounds, just on the number of impressions it delivers.

Who cares about impressions? That's a TV metric, and even there, its days are certainly numbered. Digital is about actions, yet a surprisingly large number of us are still using worthless measures like impressions to justify non-performing marketing activities.

2. I will make no more unseen videos.

Everyone knows you need a lot of video, so everyone went out a made a lot of videos. But that doesn't mean anyone is seeing it. Most brands have an embarrassing amount of videos sitting in their YouTube channels with 256 views. Never make something, no matter how cool you think it is, that doesn't have an audience and a distribution plan.

If a video is made and no one sees it, was it really made? Yes, and when the bills come due you will be in big trouble trying to justify the expenses.

3. I will stop targeting by demographics or psychographics, and start targeting communities.

Get off the circa 2007 targeting methodology, and start infiltrating communities built around common interests and passions. Pick communities where your brand can become hyper relevant, where tight communication hubs and spokes amplify every dollar in paid with several dollars in earned media. The internet is one big connections engine. Use it that way.

4. I will centralize all data in one place and then actually use the data to predict what will work BEFORE I spend the money.

You may not need a creative agency of record but you sure as heck need one for data. There is no way to optimize spend and decisioning without having all the data in one place, managed by data geeks who also know a thing or two about marketing. This is the one aspect of your marketing that cannot be fragmented. Comparing apples to oranges requires a common currency.

5. I will stop giving away my programmatic dollars to worthless middlemen and bot rings.

Only about 20% of every programmatic dollar ever reaches a real, live consumer. The rest goes to the endless stack of suppliers who make up the programmatic ecosystem. And when they are done, you still need the ad to be both viewable, and seen by a real human, not a bot .

Cut out as many layers as you can, or at least track the cost/benefits of each vendor to optimize across the stack.

6. I will commit to a higher purpose for my brand, not just for millennials, but because it's how all great brands operate.

Yes millennials want purpose-driven brands, but that isn't the reason to have one. All great brands that we admire are about something more than just making money. It's ironic that the brands that make profit secondary to purpose actually make the most money and have the highest valuations, from Apple to Nike to Tesla.

7. I will pay partners who deliver more, and those that don't less -- and throw the FTE model out with the torn wrapping paper, boxes, and dried up Christmas tree.

Let's finally do away with paying by the system that a Boston lawyer developed 97 years ago, the dreaded FTE, or full-time equivalent.

Pay by deliverable, and if at all possible, by results.

Pay your high performing agencies, media, and suppliers more than those who don't. You'll get top talent motivated to make you money, and all will succeed. Top talent can't resist a meritocracy. That's why Lebron James makes upwards of 50 times what a borderline 32-year-old NBA player does. He is not an FTE, and you shouldn't be either.

Happy 2017.

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