7 Life Truths That Strategic Marketing Taught us in 2017
The digital marketing landscape is ever-changing, especially as consumers continue to demand real connections, with real people, in real time. So long are the days of executing general market strategies. It’s about exposure, reach and personalization. This has naturally prompted many advertisers and marketing professionals to shift their efforts and adapt accordingly-or drown in a sea of irrelevance.
From breaking barriers in the beauty industry to transforming entire agency business models, there is much to be said, and learned, from this year’s trailblazers. Never have we seen creative innovation and downright scrappiness look so good. That said, let’s review some of this year’s worthy highlights and unpack what we should carry with us into the new year.
1. Embracing change is good.
The push for personalization was full throttle in 2017, forcing agencies to restructure their business model to produce more mindful messaging. Anomaly was at the forefront of this change, mastering data analytics, intellectual property and multicultural marketing, all while still managing to tackle identity politics. Their revenue jumped 44%, and landed them the number one spot as AdAge’s 2017 Agency of the Year. Whether you’re starting a new job, a new business venture, or moving to a new city next year, you must prepare yourself for the healthy challenges you will inevitably face during your transition. Keeping an open mind and remaining flexible are useful strategies when embracing change. It’s how we respond to life’s curve balls, and learn from those experiences, that define the success of who we are as people and as professionals.
2. Don’t be afraid to take risks.
I’m sure we were all thinking the same thing when heavy media coverage reported the Bitcoin rose to 900% in value this year, due to the cryptocurrency surge: “Where the heck was I eight years ago when they were only worth a few measly pennies?” Likely somewhere nestled within the comfy confines of our safety net. However, those who decided to take a leap of faith undoubtedly made a generous return on their investment this year. And many companies like Overstock.com, Expedia and Goldman Sachs are riding the wave, too. When we take risks, we reveal parts of ourselves that we otherwise never knew existed. Don’t be afraid to start that new passion project, or ask that senior-level executive to mentor you, or finally gun for that well-deserved promotion. The real magic happens when we remove ourselves from our comfort zone.
3. Research is a major key.
It’s no secret that Big Data runs the advertising world today. However, the story we tell through the analysis of this data is crucial. Rihanna didn’t personally release any new music this year, but she did launch Fenty Beauty, offering 40 different shades for all women, (and men, too). She knew there was a need for inclusivity in the beauty industry, and as a result, she earned $72 million in her first month of sales. What Rihanna’s team did was the result of looking at the hard statistics, listening to the consumer conversations in the space and addressing their needs. Data gives us the why, our plan of action is the how. Which leads to our next life truth.
4. Your plan only works if you do.
E-commerce retailer and tech giant, Amazon, has had a phenomenal year to say the least. Their growth and efficiency in 2017 was largely driven by cloud computing, automation via drone deliveries, and AI by introducing new integrations of their voice-powered Alexa service within their Echo products. Not to mention their blockbuster deal acquiring Whole Foods Market, and talks of HQ2. They moved when necessary, increasing their stock prices by more than 53% and growing their task force with more than 235,000 new employees. We should operate more like Amazon in the new year. By this, I mean creating opportunities that aren’t readily available to us, or don’t necessarily look like anything we’ve seen in the past. All of the wisdom we’ve acquired about goal setting is worthless if we don’t take action and do the work. No time is better than the present and you must start moving now.
5. Confidence is half the battle.
Procter & Gamble made a bold move this year with the release of their anti-racism ad titled, “The Talk” from their “Black Is Beautiful” campaign. The commercial depicts realistic discussions about racism that black Americans have had with their children for decades. While the ad sparked an onslaught of polarizing debates on social media, P&G insists the campaign isn’t meant as a political statement, but a means to get Americans to empathize about one another’s experiences in this country. P&G has stood by its commercial, the same way we should stand by ourselves when we show up to work everyday. Self-confidence is as simple as knowing what you do well and what your value is. Accept failure as an opportunity for growth and enlightenment, and relish in the victories.
6. Progress takes a village.
New Zealand police made major headlines last month with the launch of what appears to be the most entertaining recruitment video we’ve ever seen. Their new campaign, geared towards recruiting more diverse applicants, drove over 1 million Facebook views, an 800% increase in site traffic and 333 new applicant profiles in just one day. It took a village of 70 real cops, a police band, several helicopters, and one Police Commissioner to bring their vision to life. This is a true testament that we could stand to diversify more than just our investment portfolio in 2018, but also our network. Getting connected in your respective field provides the insight, support, and empowerment we need to advance in our careers. Attending industry events and volunteering are great ways to meet new people and forge positive connections, while also providing a sense of fulfillment.
7. Never underestimate your personal power.
Each of these highlights mentioned have one common thread: the influence of your words, your hustle, and the company you keep is extremely powerful. Tapping into your personal power will unlock a world of unlimited possibilities. If you truly believe in yourself and your skills, and confidently project that to the world, it’ll show up in your work and lead you to some great achievements.
As we embark on a new year, let us not hold back. No one wants to be that timid speculator who lets the looming decision of Net Neutrality keep them from shooting their “Bitcoin shot” in 2018. Now, more than ever, we are more experienced, better connected, and fully attuned with ourselves to kick the new year off making conscious decisions that improve our marketing, the people we work with and the overall success of our careers. Let’s get to it.