It seems like we blinked and another fruitful, exciting year at Quintain flashed before our eyes - and as we shared in the past, we had a lot to be thankful for in 2016. However, as we look ahead to 2017, we find ourselves prepping for the embrace of new ideas, strategies and opportunies.
(And we all know the best way to figure out where you want to go is to first reflect on where you've been.)
So, before we say goodbye to this year, we're taking this moment to share with you what our professional resolutions are for ourselves, as well as our advice to others looking to make the most of their upcoming marketing and sales goals in the coming year. Enjoy!
For herself: "In 2017, I resolve to return to writing blogs on a more regular basis, and to commit to ensuring every blog I write provides insights and is thought-provoking. This year, I took a break from writing and instead produced weekly video blogs. It's been great - and I plan to continue this in 2017 - but I'd like to supplement my video blogs with a weekly written blog."
For you: "The big thing that I think marketers need to do differently in 2017 is ungate some of their content. Buyers are getting more and more jaded all the time and there is just so much content out there. A few years back, it seemed novel to be able to fill out a conversion form and get an ebook or white paper. Today, these types of conversion opportunities are a dime a dozen and we're seeing conversion rates fall as a result.
In the coming year, marketers will need to give away some of their content without asking for anything in return both to demonstrate that the content they produce is good, and to build trust with their audience. If people read your content and think, 'Wow, this is amazing stuff,' they'll be much more likely to fill out a conversion form to get some of the other content on your website."
For himself: "2017 is the year I take more control over where I spend my time. I plan on starting a 'Stop Doing List.' These are things I spend time on that I shouldn't, or I should pass on to someone else at Quintain. When I start doing less of what I shouldn't, I'll have more time to do the things that I should."
For you: "As the old saying goes, 'It's not what you know, but who you know.' More and more people are using platforms like LinkedIn to make business connections. Everyone should allocate a portion of their week to building out their profile and expanding their connections. Set weekly, monthly and quarterly goals for new contacts, the number of comments you make and your number of posts. By the middle of the year, you'll be in a new routine, and by this time next year, you'll look back on your process. You may even find a new friend, client or employer!"
For himself: "Due to the ever-accelerating pace of marketing in today's world, my resolution is to take the time to capture ideas and create action items to bring them to fruition, as the thoughts are formed in my mind. I find myself having actionable thoughts and while my intentions are pure, unless I capture and taskify (my other New Year's resolution is to invent more words) them, AT THE MOMENT I HAVE THEM, they'll surely evaporate into the ether."
For you: "I would challenge everyone in the marketing business, clients and agencies alike, this way: are you fully investing yourself in everything you do relative to your marketing output or are you "mailing it in"? There's way too much crappy content, misguided emails and partially formed campaign executions, to name a few of the most repetitive examples in the output stream, showing up every day. So, to distill it down to a soundbite: elevate your game, like you've never done before, in 2017! "
For herself: "Last year, I rebuilt my personal website, and like any website, it needs to keep growing and improving. So for both Quintain and myself, I want to continue to build out our portfolios to really highlight the best of the work we've done, and will do in 2017. I want to take more time to show off how awesome we are, and to better promote my own work, as well."
For you: "Define your brand. No matter the expertise of your business, nor how long you've been established, it's important to know at all times who your company is, where it came from, and what its mission and core focus is. Your business' brand contains so much of who you are as a company – your voice and tone in all that you write and say, as well as how you look visually. You and your employees need to know this, and you need to be able to relay this to your audience to make it clear who you are and how you can serve them."
Me (Liz Murphy)
For herself: "In my role as our content manager, all of my energy at work focusing on creating the best content possible for our clients at a rather staggering rate. While I love what I do, this sometimes makes it hard to create for myself - both on behalf of Quintain, as well as off the clock. My resolution for 2017 is to set aside that time to write for me, so that I can continue to cultivate my own voice in the space of content marketing and keep my skills sharp."
For you: "I mentioned this during our content and design trends episode of Creator's Block a few weeks back, but I want to reiterate a word of caution: The content you produce should be a healthy mix of different presentation styles and media types.
For example, just because video is something you should definitely be doing, you shouldn't be focusing all of your content creation efforts solely on video. Instead, be mindful of the context in which you wish to present and share your ideas, and then develop a strategy that reflects a thoughtful and balanced content mix, which puts the needs and information consumption habits of your audience personas first."
For herself: "I want to help each of my clients view their contact database as a collection of individuals. This is a huge mindset shift which I've written about at length, a shift I want to pass on to each of my clients. This mindset should extend beyond just marketing efforts but to customers and vendors as well. I'll consider myself successful if I can get my clients thinking about how they can make a serious effort to personalize all of their communication."
For you: "Stop making excuses. I am willing to bet almost everyone has a long list of items they want to start doing for marketing in the new year. I am also willing to bet that you had a similar list at the beginning of this year and found plenty of reasons not to complete many of those items. I'm going to go out on a limb and say most of those reasons were probably of the 'excuse' variety. Just like exercise, marketing is a lifestyle. It starts one day at a time and requires consistency. So, stop making excuses, and just do it."
For herself: "In 2017 I want to continue building more video marketing into our strategy for Quintain and also for our clients."
For you: "The marketing world is constantly changing and it is up to you to stay on top of it. Make sure you take a few minutes a day to read a blog or listen to a podcast. If you want to stay afloat in this constant state of evolution, the answer is simple - always keep learning."
For herself: "My New Year's resolution for 2017 is to more consistently blog for Quintain and grow my project management and account management skills to better help our clients win. Knowing how to properly scope out goals quarter by quarter, or month over month, will bring clarity to the overarching goals that will help bring in new leads, conversions and sales for your clients."
For you: "If you're not already, you should be utilizing video in your marketing strategy. Many people say 2016 was the year of video but it's never too late to start using a powerful tool and help grow leads for you company with half the effort! Also, if you can, you should be using smart content. Sending personalized messages are much more powerful than using the standard default."
For herself: "Moving into 2017, I want to focus on and act upon the key marketing and sales trends we have been talking about recently to help drive traffic and leads. We have discussed greater positioning, creating longer and more detailed content (a valuable goal I am keeping especially top of mind), using more video in our strategy, heavily focusing on social media (and its paid aspect), as well as becoming an expert in both paid and unpaid content syndication. That's more than one resolution, but I am holding myself accountable to it all!"
For you: "Sometimes I think marketers guest blog and share their content solely because they are told it's a good idea and everyone's doing it. The reality is it's an amazing opportunity to increase your traffic and boost brand awareness. A valuable piece of advice is to focus on writing good, quality content with a relevant topic and enticing call to action and landing page - and then find the appropriate sites to share it with. Guest blogging is not a something to just check off the list. It's one of the most powerful ways to build strong, worthwhile relationships, share your expertise and increase traffic to your site."
For herself: "In 2017, I resolve to market for my audience, not for myself. I vow to send emails that my recipients want to read, publish blog posts that readers find value in and engage with people that I can help (with or without selling them something). I think 2017 needs to be the year of the customer where we shift our thinking and our language."
For you: "Segment. Your. Email. Lists. Stop sending all of your emails to every single person on your list. There are people who aren't right for this content, and if you send to these people when they are not engaged, you can seriously hurt your sender reputation. This means your email wont even get into the recipient's inbox in the first place, negating all your email marketing efforts."