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New Year’s means new marketing resolutions for 2015!

While people sing, “Should Old Acquaintance be forgot, and never thought upon,” every New Year’s Eve, business owners should also take heed which is why the New Year means new marketing resolutions for 2015!

The lyrics of the famous Scottish song “Auld Lang Syne” start by posing a rhetorical question about whether it is right that old times be forgotten. Many people take this to mean that it is time to remember long-standing friendships. Much like a good marketing plan the song poses a question followed by a call-to-action which makes it a perfect transition into an article on marketing around the New Year!

Marketing campaign can almost always benefit from adjustments, sharpening of goals, revisiting demographics, reviewing data and most importantly, new ideas. You should always be looking to improve your ROI on marketing and it is just as critical at the beginning of the year as the end. Rather than bask in the glory of a successful year, or shamefully hiding in the closet after a down one, the focus right now needs to be on the year 2015 and how you can crank up the ROI!

Marketing Resolution for 2015

So what should be the focus for the coming year?

The battle over Quality and Quantity:  There needs to be a good balance between the quality of your marketing and the quantity. What this means is that rather than approaching your audience as a general category of “users” or “customers” and spewing large doses of content, you need to delve deeper to create quality content that will have a meaningful impact on your audience. So how do you do this? The first step is to use analytics, read comments and listen to social conversation from that target audience about what you are currently producing.

Next you need to focus the quality of the content based on the first step to provide more of what the audience is looking for in both general content that tries to appeal the whole, AND targeted content that appeals to the sub-sections that every audience has. You need to think of the success of content based on attention minutes from your audience more than anything else.

If you are publishing higher quality content that your audience finds interesting it will help increase the likelihood your brand stays on the mind of your audience. A high level of engagement will make your business more relatable and “humanized” which are both keys to success online.

Avoiding over-automation:  Automation is a great thing that can really help streamline the marketing process. Things like HootSuite and Optimizely are great tools to help try and maximize the customer experience, however there needs to be a balance. If your automation encompasses too many facets of business customers will notice which can lead to annoyance and being ignored.

One good example is a large company (that is a cable TV supplies which shall remain nameless) that was mixing in automation to their “live chat” customer service. Whenever the words “thanks” or “thank you” would be entered by a customer a canned response of “That is not necessary, it is our pleasure to help you however we can” would pop up. People noticed quite quickly and the company was ridiculed on public forums for pretending to care while actually using automated responses rather than addressing customer problems with the respect they deserve. While this is a step away from marketing, it speaks to the concept of over-automation.

There needs to be a balance between automation and non-automation in marketing (and customer service). This allows both speedy responses and the ability to target the audience properly. You need to understand customers’ needs and pain points if you want to deliver the proper message to maximize ROI. One concept is to start slowly with automation, using unique messages for different segments within the audience which makes things look less robotic. From there automation should spread slowly and monitored carefully in its use with any backlash immediately acted upon.

Be honest:  Why be honest? The simple answer is because transparency is much easier these days than the alternative. There is simply too much sharing of information to ever take any road other than being open and honest with customers, especially when mistakes are made. If there are delays in shipping you update your blog and post to Facebook. If you make a mistake, take the time to own it rather than creating an excuse. Blogs and newsletter should tell readers to unsubscribe if they are not interested because you only want people who are engaged or will actively participate. Consumers these days are fairly intelligent and loyalty is harder to earn which is why a policy of honesty and being more upfront about your desire to cater to the audiences needs will be better received.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that customers are not statistics. Likes, clicks, open rates and subscriber numbers are just that – numbers. For 2015 your New Year’s new marketing resolutions need to focus on humanizing your message and marketing, to not only better engage your audience but also step apart from the competition.

 

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