Starting a new year is a great time to assess what has and hasn’t worked in your marketing programs, and to push the re-set button on out-moded ideas and tired tactics.  Whether you work for a corporation or an agency, there are common threads that cause all of us to feel angst from time to time.  Here are some of them:
Is the “big idea” a thing of the past?
At the risk of sounding blasphemous, creativity is no longer the big differentiator, but rather, it’s a given.  If you are a marketer, you’d better be able to generate creative ideas.  Companies want to know, first and foremost, if their marketing directors or agency partners have a real understanding of their business, the industry they operate in, and their competitive landscape.
They want to know that you have a strategic understanding of how their business runs and the metrics that matter most to them.  They expect you to execute eye-catching campaigns, but rather than beginning the conversation around a creative idea, you’d better be beginning it around a true understanding of the business.
Is it okay to say, “That’s a bad idea?”
It’s never easy to tell your boss or client that they’re wrong, but if it’s the case, it’s always the right thing to do.  Marketers should provide professional advice, built on experience and focused on a well-thought-out direction.  “The customer is always right” may not always be true, and you have an obligation to lend your best advice to the conversation.  A good marketer is knowledgeable, confident and articulate enough to speak up against a bad idea and offer constructive criticism when needed.
What if you miss out on “the next big thing?”
Those of us in marketing have an inherent fear of missing an important trend or change, even when that trend doesn’t apply to our particular situation.  Fear of missing out (or FOMO, as it’s called) is especially inherit in the ever-changing digital world, where marketing has increasingly gone these days.
However, the reality is that some trends come and go, and chasing all of them can be unproductive.  It’s important to analyze them within the context of your business, and if it’s something that’s here to stay and is truly applicable to your business, then you’ll know it.
How personal is too personal?
Today’s consumers are smart, deliberate and want more conversation and less presentation. Gone are the days of creating manufactured, presentation-based content for creation’s sake.  We’re moving toward a more personal, emotionally-connected content marketing environment.
We see experiential marketing becoming a more strategic focus.  Connecting with how people experience your brand should drive the creation of content.  In other words, it’s hard to be “too personal” these days.
How can I prove my worth?
Courageous and conscientious marketers should be thinking all the time about their value proposition relative to their companies or clients.  We should constantly ask ourselves how our efforts are contributing to the growth of the business’ revenues and profits.
Fortunately, the digital world has provided us with new and more effective tools with which to measure how well our marketing strategies are working.  They allow us to “play offense” and to seek out better answers to questions regarding effectiveness and measurability.  We actually have never been more able to prove our worth in terms of moving the needle for businesses.
Cathy Ackermann, founder and president of Ackermann Marketing and PR, may be reached at

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