Written February 18, 2014 by Heike Baird
No matter the size of your marketing team or programs, you need to decide what the rest of 2014 holds for your strategy. This time of year, the winter lulls can start to creep in, and all those impressive 2014 plans you created in December and January can begin to fade into the background. Use these recommendations (inspired by our 2014 State of Marketing research) to help “spring clean” your marketing strategies, prune the weeds, and plant the seeds for success that grows over the rest of the year. Focus on customer engagement. 1. Map your customer journey to understand at exactly what points your customers engage with you. 2. Develop a plan around how you manage those engagement touchpoints and think through how you could improve each.Develop a clear data strategy. 3. Take inventory of the data you have today and the data you need to collect. 4. Create a plan to collect that data over time and across multiple customer interactions—because asking for a lot of information at once can be a barrier to engagement. Consider your channel options. 5. Use this report to compare the channels you’re using to the channels other marketers are using. 6. Form a strategy around your presence on those channels—whether you flock to the most common channels or you choose to stand out by using an underutilized channel, like mobile. Email: Evaluate your lifecycle campaigns. 7. Take inventory of your programs across all four lifecycle stages—acquire, onboard, engage, and retain. 8. Identify gaps across the lifecycle stages and implement campaigns to ensure that you have some form of engagement with your customers during each of these critical stages. Email: Roll out responsive design. 9. Determine how many of your subscribers open your emails on a mobile device. 10. If you have a substantial amount of mobile opens—like most marketers reported—put a responsive design plan into action right away. Social: Start small. 11. Evaluate the social media channels available and create a pros and cons list for each. 12. Choose one or two channels to focus your efforts on first—then you can more easily scale successful strategies to other channels later on. Social: Hone in on clear objectives. 13. Establish measurable goals to avoid feeling unsure of whether your social media efforts are performing. 14. Add consistency to the list, and create metrics around how often you will post content, how quickly you’ll respond to customer messages, etc. Mobile: Don’t ignore the importance of mobile. 15. For most businesses, mobile is still a largely untapped opportunity—evaluate if mobile is right for your company. 16. Use this report to see what pioneers in mobile are already doing and see if any of those strategies are relevant to your customers. And since mobile marketing is still in its infancy, don’t be afraid to try out a few of your own ideas, too. Mobile: Integrate your mobile efforts. 17. Map your broader marketing strategies alongside your mobile strategy to determine areas where the two can work together. 18. Bringing your email and mobile efforts together can be one of the easiest ways to see an instant return and pilot the success of mobile integration. Customer Journey: Take a deep look at how customers are currently experiencing your brand. 19. Whether online or offline, and whether it’s a function of marketing or another department entirely, examine and document the current brand experience your customers have at every touchpoint. 20. Remember that these touchpoints transpire anywhere from call center to social media to brick-and-mortar and beyond. 21. What are your gaps and areas for improvement? These should be addressed in your new activation plan to both establish the ideal customer journey and develop a strategy for incrementally getting there. Personalization: Start communicating 1:1 with your customers. 22. Collecting behavior-based data is the best way to start working toward high-quality personalized messages. 23. Launch a more robust preference center to give customers the opportunity to voluntarily share the data they’d like to shape future messages. Personalization: Think about personalization beyond email. 24. Today’s marketers are unveiling personalized web experiences that reach far beyond email-only personalization to reach customers wherever they are. 25. Begin working toward cross-channel personalization for social, mobile, and web if your email personalization is already top-tier. Marketers experienced industry-affecting change last year, from the sale of Tumblr to Yahoo to Pinterest’s announcement of sponsored pins and beyond. 2014 won’t be any exception—agile marketers will lead 2014 and win customer attention in an ever-crowded marketplace. For more tips and strategies for marketing that grows all year-round, take a look at our 2014 State of Marketingresearch, a survey of over 2,500 marketers.