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Stop, Pause and Do a Reality Check on Your Marketing Plans for 2013

By Priya Ramesh (@newpr)

A couple of weeks back I was addressing an audience of senior marketing, PR, communications leaders at the PR News Social Media Measurement Summit in New York City. As I listened to all the speakers and the water cooler conversations, there was one consistent theme that emerged:


I sure hope that in the next few years we will stop addressing each other as PR, Marketing, Social Media Strategist or whatever the fancy title is and start referring to each other as Content Managers because that’s what we try to do at the end of the day. We invest time, energy and budget to generate content that will attract our key audiences to engage and respond to us positively.

2012 is almost over and as we define our 2013 communications strategy, I want you to keep these three very critical elements in mind. These elements will make or break your success:

1. Start Diminishing Lines between PR, Marketing and Social Media: As the CMO or Chief of Communications, your goal will be to bring together all areas of content creation and curation within your organization under ONE umbrella. We just can’t afford to still have a siloed approach anymore especially when our customers demand real time information made available to them at the palm of their hands. Moving forward your title will have very little to do with your ultimate objective, which is creating RELEVANT, ENGAGING and VLUABLE content for your target audience that positively affects your bottom line. So at the end of the day we need to consistently think in terms of a CONTENT STRATEGY that helps you solve your customers problems.

2. Exploit BIG DATA to Define Your Content Strategy: Big data is not just a buzz word anymore but a fundamental shift in how organizations store, process and generate value out of their data to create high impact campaigns. As Don Hinman, popularly known as Dr. Data, past Chair of the Direct Marketing Association’s Committee on Ethical Business Practices describes it in his blog post:

“Regardless of how you define big data, there are five things every marketer needs to know in order to effectively leverage big data to fuel strategies and achieve ROI.

i)        Despite how the Global Language Monitor has categorized it, big data is not simply a buzz term. Big data is a fundamental shift that will affect how our industry moves forward.

ii)       Big data isn’t just digital data. It describes the vast enormity of offline and online data.

iii)     Big data is data from your customers and about your customers. In our business this includes web logs, social networks and social data, internet text and documents, call detail records, large-scale ecommerce, purchase transactions and compiled data files.

iv)     Today’s challenge with big data isn’t necessarily where to store it, but how to access it and take action. Data is useless if marketing—and IT—aren’t able to access it when it is needed, be that in real-time, or at least near real-time, to improve strategies and better engage with consumers across channels.

v)      A large quantity of data does not increase the value of data. Though the cloud has made big data more accessible, it doesn’t mean we need all of it. We must think about big data in terms of value, applications and solutions. Simply put: the data that matters is the data that drives business growth and campaign performance; data that helps brands acquire new customers, retain existing customers and improve the overall customer experience.

The key take away here is that as content strategists, we need to devote time and budget to analyze the content you have generated in all your interactions with your existing and potential customers. How many of you try to identify repeated patterns or themes or relevant feedback for future products in the big data that your organization has created.

3. Think Quarterly Campaign Ideas versus Multi-Year Plans: I do chuckle a little when some of our clients ask us to identify multi-year campaigns because the truth of the matter is we live in the “Now-Age,” where we need to constantly customize our marketing messages to a highly connected consumer. How can we be planning for 2014 now when we are frequently adapting to the millions of new updates being made on Facebook or adjusting our tactics to increase web traffic through Pinterest which never existed when we outlined the 2013 plan last year? Staying nimble and flexible with your content strategy to maximize results is key to being successful in 2013. While it’s smart to have a solid long term strategy in place so you are not just shooting in the dark, you must also build a team of content marketers that stay on top of new trends and are able to change course in order to get the maximum traction for your marketing efforts.

A smart content strategy that integrates both traditional and social and can be measured againct your KPI’s (key performance indicators) is KEY to your success next year so if I were you, I would ask your agency, internal teams to come up with  a solid content strategy. Of course if you feel a little lost, CRT/tanaka is here to help you. Just email me at pramesh@crt-tanaka.com.

Good luck, make your efforts count next year!

About Priya Ramesh:

8 Comments on “Stop, Pause and Do a Reality Check on Your Marketing Plans for 2013

  1.  by  Marissa Sayno

    Thanks Priya, it’s interesting how you mentioned big data here.. yet the challenge still remains on how to filter what matters and interpret it right. Would you agree with me if I envision 2013 to be the year of hybrid marketing strategy?

    •  by  Priya Ramesh

      Hi Marissa,
      You are absolutely right, Big Data can also pose a big challenge in terms of how we sift through piles of information BUT I do think we aught to invest sometime and energy to analyse and make sense of what our audiences are telling us so we can be smart about how we engage with them. Thanks for stopping by the Buzz Bin!

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