2018 is officially here. While most 2018 marketing plans are crafted, we still find that this is a time of year where folks are taking stock on the year behind them, and tweaking their upcoming marketing plans.

As an agency partner to CMOs and their teams, we get the opportunity to hear many of the challenges that keep our clients and prospective clients up at night. So we’ve identified a few top resolutions that we are hearing and subsequently encouraging marketers to focus on in 2018.

1. Leveraging Analytics & Data

Companies are increasingly employing marketing analytics in decision-making. The most recent CMO Survey (Aug 2017) stated that spending on Marketing Analytics is expected to increase by 229% in the next three years. Yet they also stated that companies do not feel they have the right talent to leverage marketing analytics. It seems that with all this data at our fingertips, the challenge remains what to do with it. Leading marketers are using data to drive customer first strategies by predicting customer needs and aiding along the customer journey. The average customer journey includes touches along the many paths the customer might take before “conversion” of your product or service. These interactions can be on varying devices, various mediums, and various stages in the decision funnel. Unifying this disparate data is key to truly understanding the best way to reach your consumer base, at the correct time. We are encouraging our clients to leverage the data they have to better align with the customer experience and journey. This includes the likes of a proper deployment of Google Analytics (or analytics platform of choice), Google Tag Manager, Google Optimize, and more.

2. Increase Mobile Investment

Over the years we’ve helped many businesses face the reality that mobile is not “coming”…it’s here. The CMO Survey shows that the percent of marketing budget spent on mobile will jump from 6.0% to 13.0% in the next 3 years. Mobile searches for “where to buy” has grown more than 85% over the last few years. Even B2B businesses cannot ignore mobile, as 50% of B2B search queries today are made on smartphones, and experts expect that figure to grow to 70% by 2020. (BCG/Google 2017)

The majority of users will reach for their smartphone to conduct research in a micromoment, and it’s marketers’ job to deliver an exceptional experience (site speed, UX, predictability) in order to assist down the conversion path. This ties deeply into point #1 with analytics in that a significant investment must be made to understand the pieces of the puzzle and how & where mobile fits in.

3. Attribution Model Analysis

Another resolution that we are seeing the need for is a deeper attribution model approach. We see this a lot with unsuccessful PPC campaigns where a client is looking solely at “last click attribution” and not taking into consideration the whole story. This goes hand in hand with the proper installation and deployment of free tools like Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Understanding the attribution model that best suits your organization and your consumer base is key to being able to turn the correct marketing levers, at the correct time.

4. Customer Lifetime Value Segmentation

While customer acquisition & ROAS are important, another critical component to your business should be the ability to identify and capture your customer lifetime value. Businesses must take a step back to look at the big picture to determine the long-term customer potential and value in the cost of acquisition of that customer. Luckily, it’s getting easier to capture first party data and to create dynamic CLV calculations of customers and audiences by using tools like Google’s Customer Lifetime Value Report & Customer Insights Reports and implementing through Google Tag Manager/Analytics. We urge businesses to then utilize CLV data by segmenting those high value customers to ensure their experience is seamless. To make this easier, we have created a Customer Lifetime Value Calculator for marketers to use.

5. Integrating Social with other Campaigns

Social media as a percent of budget spend is set to increase from 9.8% to 18.5% in the next 5 years. Yet the integration of Social Media & Marketing Strategy shows no progress & the impact remains difficult to prove. CMOs answered that Social media is perceived to contribute little to company performance, which is no wonder why this area keeps marketers up a night. With spending tripling but expectations not being met, there must be a heavier focus on the integration of Social Media and Marketing strategy and how to capitalize on social media spending. Dig into the analytics to ensure your strategies are resonating with consumers and bear in mind that what resonates across channels will differ.

6. Storytelling

CMO’s stated the “Being the voice of the customer” is most critical to their role. Consumers have access to endless amounts of content and while there are more channels than ever to reach your customers, it’s also much easier to get lost in the noise. Impactful storytelling revolves around creating an emotional connection with your customer, and building a sense of community in your brand. This tried and true marketing strategy is ongoing and the best marketers are using this approach.

7. Reporting

The last resolution that we hear mostly when new clients come to us is a need for a deeper level of reporting. While vanity metrics may make us feel warm and fuzzy, they don’t pay the bills. Every business is different and there is no cookie cutter approach. Using your attribution model and data you will need to evaluate what KPI’s truly matter and drive your business, and then ensure your agency is using those metrics to drive decisions.

The common thread with these resolutions is that they all require businesses to take a step back in order to take a step forward. Leveraging your data to nurture customers through the funnel, segmenting your high value customers, delivering impactful and emotional stories to your customer across ALL channels, and properly assessing the metrics all take time and deep thought, but they are keys to long term success for your campaigns and business.

We’d love to hear your digital marketing resolutions. Reach out on our social platforms to share your stories!

…And Happy New Year from the Web Talent Marketing team!