It’s mid-January and if you’re like nearly 60 percent of the population you’ve already recycled your high-minded New Year’s resolution with the empty champagne bottles.
I usually lose my resolve by about Jan. 5, but this year I switched it up a bit. This year I didn’t ADD one more thing to my endless to-do list. This year I subtracted. I’m resolved to create a little space in my brain by slowing down, tackling fewer things, and being more present in the task at hand. If all that sounds like life-coaching hogwash, take heed. As I’ve been contemplating my navel, I have learned a few things that are directly related to our work as marketers and communicators. May my own failure lead to your success!
- Say a little less. As communication methods have exploded, I’ve driven myself crazy trying to respond to every one I know on every medium I use. In the past, marketing experts have recommended brands do the same. In 2015, the pendulum is shifting. According to ADWeek, marketers should focus less on “real time” and more on “right time.” As content marketing becomes the norm, delivering valuable content to our customers at the RIGHT time has more impact than simply reacting in real time. A cool infographic is here.
- Listen a little more. If you’re not talking, you’re listening, right? Wrong. If you’re like me, listening is done while also checking email, texts or news updates. Our brains really can’t multi-task (check out why here), so you may want to reconsider answering that email while listening to the boss. Brands should consider their listening skills too. Though social media has added to our burden, it also has changed the marketing paradigm from a monologue to a dialogue. We have the opportunity to hear what our customers are saying now. We should listen.
- Do a little less. We’re awash with information about our industry, our competitors and new technologies and practices. Information is power, Francis Bacon said, but it is also pressure. We are tempted to respond to every competitor’s move or jump on the newest platform or technology. But just cuz Seth Godin tweeted it doesn’t mean you have to do it. Which leads me to the fourth bullet…
- Plan a little more. A recent review of the movie “Selma” about the great Martin Luther King, noted that the “measure of King’s greatness is not how he pushed forward, but how he knew when to retreat.” I’m not suggesting we retreat, or ignore new technologies, but innovation only works if it achieves a goal. Instead of chasing every new shiny object, first consider goals and objectives. Once we know where we’re going, we can assess how the shiny things can help us get there.
I’m failing miserably as many of you can attest to. But I’m learning. Besides, as Arianna Huffington said, “Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen.”