Creativity ruts are difficult to climb out of and bad marketing habits are hard to break.
But here’s your chance.
Research suggests that people are more likely to tackle their goals, break bad habits or form beneficial new ones immediately following mental landmarks such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. This is why New Year’s resolutions can be effective for those who choose to stick to them.
Here are five bad habits marketers can break in 2020 by leveraging this “fresh start.”
Bad Habit #1: The Sales Pitch In Disguise
I have tremendous sympathy for sales and business development teams. It’s a hard job.
Here’s a simple test to ask yourself if what you’re creating or distributing is a valuable piece of content: Would you trade your email address and phone number for the insights provided?
If not, it still needs work. If so, how even is the trade? The second question is important because if it’s out of balance, you may not be dividing, spreading and repurposing your best ideas effectively.
Bad Habit #2: Closing The ‘Gate’ On Your Audience
Gated content is incredibly important. However, if all your good stuff sits behind the gate, it’s hidden from Google and other search engines. It’s important to strike a balance between capturing inbound readership and getting in front of as many eyeballs as possible.
Here’s a tip: Create a rotation of gated and non-gated content. This way you keep your website content and inbound advertising campaigns fresh and get the best of both worlds. If you want to take this to the next level, you can create separate editorial calendars for your gated and non-gated content.
Bad Habit #3: Automation Addiction
With so many new, shiny tools in the hands of marketers, it’s easy to abuse these powers. Just because you can does not mean you should. While automation tools are critical for marketers to nurture leads and nudge them down the customer journey, they can also automate bad ideas at scale — and that’s not good for your brand.
Worse yet is the latest iteration of automation addiction sweeping the land — “faux casual” sales introductions written to sound personalized but are really just a ploy to use unprofessionalism as a means to break through the noise.
Marketers should use automation tools to take humans (i.e., precious resources) out of repeat processes, execute well-crafted and multi-touch campaigns, and as a means to connect prospective buyers and existing clients with the ideas and information you already know they want.
If you abuse them, you’re going to ruin it for everyone.
Bad Habit #4: Need To Come Original
There is nothing more valuable to a marketer’s toolkit these days than original thoughts, ideas and insights. Nothing.
Content has never been more prevalent and readily available than it is today. That’s the good news. The bad news is that it has created a world of copycats and “idea sheep” leaping for whatever eyeballs Google Analytics tells them are out there.
There are endless ways to be original. You can provide a new perspective on a commonly held view, connect two previously unconnected dots or, my favorite, conduct some original research. Original research is extremely valuable to marketers because it 1) allows you to ask questions of the marketplace, 2) tests a hypothesis about the world your product or service exists in and 3) hopefully makes the world a smarter place. But don’t abuse it (see Bad Habit #3).
Bad Habit #5: Leave The ‘Listicles’ Behind
This one is for me. I love lists. They help my crazy, attention-deficit brain arrange things in order or sequence. But the heuristic can make things surface level, widely adopted by clickbait content houses and vulnerable to overuse. My challenge for 2020 is for marketers to spend more time creating stronger narratives and more compelling arguments and less time slicing up key points in stackable fashion.
Research shows that stronger stories lead to stronger connections. In her book Stories that Stick, storyteller extraordinaire Kindra Hall says compelling stories carry four common components:
• Identifiable characters.
• Authentic emotion.
• A significant moment.
• Specific details.
Breaking these five habits could be the catalyst that takes your company’s marketing efforts to the next level in 2020.