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5 things marketers can do to keep up with progress

It may have never been more difficult to work in marketing as it is right now. There are more channels than ever for your brand to be seen, and while new channels are added to the marketing mix, the traditional ones still have to be maintained. User expectations on quality, relevance, and personalisation increase with every week, and earning user attention requires new approaches.

 

Meanwhile, internal requirements and expectations increase as well, as employees and management teams discover, through digital channels, what content and functionalities competitors and global actors are able to create. It’s simply very challenging to be an appreciated marketer today.

The speed of progress has completely exploded in recent years. Social and digital platforms launch new formats, features, and ad solutions almost every week. It’s not just the technology that has evolved; the preferences and behaviours of users have been greatly influenced by technological development. In order for marketers not to fall behind, which results in the material produced being irrelevant to users, they need to keep up with progress and, preferably, be one step ahead.

To feel confident in the role of marketer in 2017, being able to create value for the organisation you work for, you need knowledge about the surrounding world, allowing you to guide your organisation in the right direction. A new environment with new conditions requires marketers to update their approach. Here are five things you can, and should, do on a regular basis:

Test all hypotheses, every format, and every target audience
There is a big difference between what is theoretically and practically possible in marketing. Most things are theoretically feasible today and limits are becoming fewer by the week. But it’s the practical reality that you face during implementation that will tell you whether it really worked, and which parameters were crucial to make it work in this particular case. If you want to understand if something works and how it works, you have to test it yourself. By daring to try new things, you add to your experiences and you probably won’t repeat the mistakes you made during previous trials. As a marketer, it is unlikely to find the perfect solution on the first try. Campaigns that work really well are the results of many trials and failures; you need to dare to try and fail as well.

Find a routine for keeping up with news flows related to marketing
This is a fairly simple thing to do but one that takes discipline in order to be effective. You need to find websites, newsletters, accounts, and blogs that give you a good mix of what is relevant in your area. There are a number of tools to help you gather and filter all content; Feedly is a good example of such a tool. It’s not enough to just gather all the articles; you need to read and understand the content and this requires time. Many claim that there is no time, but what alternative is there in order to develop? No one who wants to succeed in marketing today can afford not to learn new things and evolve.  Make it your ambition to set aside 30–40 minutes each day when you go through everything that is new and delve deeper into the topics that interest you. In order to succeed, you need to do it every day and that takes discipline.

Meet people who can teach you something new
Networking doesn’t necessarily have to involve attending boring mingling events where everyone non-committedly switches business cards with each other. Networking can actually be quite useful. Meeting other people who work in marketing is often rewarding as long as you know what you need to talk about in order to evolve. By keeping in touch with people you think are competent, you can learn a lot. Ask about their challenges, projects they’re working on, or what they think about the future. The important thing is that you feel that the conversations give you a better understanding of the surrounding world. Conversations with industry colleagues can also serve as a good indicator for how far other actors have progressed in different areas.

Get the whole company on board
All the work you do to evolve is not just about you; it’s about creating better results, for your employer and your customers, along with your colleagues. You strive to be one step ahead of development and all your work will make a difference and help your business be seen and grow. However, this change is not something that you can do on your own; you need the organisation on board in order to create operational improvements. Unless the entire organisation moves together, there will never be any real change that can have positive effects.

Challenge yourself even if it’s tough
The simplest and most comfortable option will always be not to change anything in your work. And not developing any aspects of your work may work just fine in the short term, but over time, your competitors will sail right by you and you’ll find out how hard it is to catch up when starting from scratch. Learning new things, finding new routines, and contacting new acquaintances may seem inconvenient and uncomfortable, but it’s what it takes to get ahead. The alternative is to continue with the exact same routines and approaches that you’ve had for the last few years, but very likely, you’ll end up irrelevant to the market

Finding new routines takes time, changing your approach may be frustrating, and trying new things may be scary, but the question for marketers is, can you really afford not to?