The time is now. Not next year, or six months from now, or at the conclusion of a five-year plan. Success won’t come with the next marketing conference, the new social channel around the corner, or the next piece of “game-changing” tech that’s just waiting to be unleashed on the world. Your future is written largely by what you do today, so the biggest single challenge for marketers in 2017 will be staying focused. Stop worrying about what’s next and concentrate on delivering what is now!
I have been very lucky in friendship. I may not have the wealth or success that some can claim, but I know what it is to have people in my life who know me well, like me just as I am (well, most of the time), listen to me, make me laugh, support me always, and who make my life better on a regular basis.
What does it mean to build a reputation? I’m not talking about brand recognition, or even the quality of the products or services you offer. Those things are important; however, a reputation is something more. It’s the little things…those moments of unprompted kindness and consideration that stick with you for a lifetime. In other words, the stuff that you truly remember.
What’s in a social impression? Better yet, what does branding actually mean to the consumer? Building a brand culture is about much more than proliferating an image or ad across social platforms, because that sort of recognition is fleeting.
If I had one piece of advice to give marketers who are beginning a career in 2016, it would be this: Millennials are not a new species. Keep that in mind the next time someone tells you they have the “secret” of marketing to Millennials, Gen Z, or whatever generation comes next.
You’ve heard me say before that everybody has influence because we all have an influence on the people around us. However, this can be a double-edged sword, especially if we let negative emotions rule us.
If I were to write a newspaper article for brands that encompasses what they need to be doing in 2016 and beyond, it would have the title: Stand Out by “Liking” Them Before They “Like” You. Why? Because social media success does not come down to a mere numbers game, in spite of what some brands would like you to believe.
A professional network is more than just a list of well-placed contacts. It’s a collection of relationships, built on a foundation of time, energy and emotional investment. The people that you see every day, at work or in any social group, are in the best position to learn what you’re all about over time. In other words, these are solid, meaningful relationships, whether they’re built professionally or personally.
There are countless ways to grab the attention of your audience, but keeping them coming back for more is where the real value lies—it’s where you build influence. Mom bloggers are a good example of this. Those who developed the greatest influence did so with good content—and kept their audiences engaged by producing more of it. But just because they were moms and their audiences were moms didn’t make them influential. It was the quality of the content they produced that resonated with a particular audience.
One of the biggest trends I’ve seen in 2016 is that more marketers have decided to stop talking past their customers, and start talking to them. It’s what I like to call “Looking People in the Eye Digitally,” and it’s great to see people embracing the concept. That’s the good news. On the other side of the ledger, the brands that have embraced personal, relationship-focused marketing present a stark contrast to the many that are still locked into the old, impersonal status quo. Industry-wide change takes time, when it happens at all, but your business doesn’t have to wait for the rest of the industry to catch up.