It would be an understatement to say that marketing is a field that is rapidly evolving. You’re not dreaming if it seems like there’s a new tool or platform for you to learn every day. No matter how effortless we try to make our work appear, marketers all over the world are constantly learning and changing.
Take it from someone who, over the past 12 years, has worked in marketing for the New York City Marathon, Adobe, two healthtech startups, and three digital marketing agencies and has been attempting to keep up with the constant stream of changes. I’ve had to become familiar with—and keep up with—the most recent approaches and best practices for web content, SEO, email marketing, and a growing number of social media platforms during this time, all while teaching myself how to use more digital tools than I can count on two hands.
The good news is that you can take steps to adapt and juggle the many changing hats that today’s marketer must wear. Based on what has worked for me and three other seasoned professionals with experience in events and field marketing, email marketing, and marketing strategy, here are 4 tips you can implement right away.
#Find Your People
To find people you can bounce ideas off of before launching a major campaign or commiserate with after a video you put your heart and soul into didn’t garner as many views as you’d hoped, look for mentors, peers, and networking groups (in person and online). They might be coworkers, but occasionally you might find yourself working alone or being the only one with expertise in a particular branch of marketing.
According to Stephanie Gohn, an email marketing manager at Penguin Random House, finding her people through Reddit, Slack, Facebook groups, and the Women of Email network has been essential to learning about constantly changing best practices. It appears that more people are open to knowledge sharing across businesses and industries in these settings.
The sales and customer service staff of the marketing tools and products your business uses should also be made friends with, advises Gohn, as these relationships can be invaluable for staying on top of updates and new features.
#Identify Your Go-To Resources
It’s obvious that the marketing industry is (and probably always will be) in a constant state of change, but it’s not always simple to stay on top of what the most recent and significant changes are. Finding trustworthy resources to assist you in keeping up is essential for both your company’s and your career’s long-term growth. You want to be among the first to know about significant changes and to have a solid game plan for what to do when they occur—for example, when longform content is out and video is in.
Gohn’s go-to resources for information on email marketing, for instance, include the Twitter feeds for Really Good Emails, Emma, and Litmus, as well as their email newsletters. However, the sources will change depending on the marketing strategy you use and the sector you work in.
This reliable source is Econsultancy, according to Aarti Gala, Vice President of Marketing Services at NetStrategies, a marketing firm whose customers include a Michelin-starred restaurant and the Trimark Corporation, a producer of automotive parts. The subscription platform provides case studies, trend reports, best practice guides, and weekly insights and analysis briefings. As a field marketing manager for Nestlé USA, Danielle Adone relies on two main sources to stay informed: reading AdWeek frequently to stay up to date on what other brands are doing and attending yearly marketing conferences to learn what other marketers are thinking.
Ask coworkers and new acquaintances what resources they use, pay attention to what your colleagues post and discuss, and spend some time doing your own research. You’ll learn what works best for you over time.
#Keep Your Eyes on the Competition
Analyzing your own marketing metrics and channels will only give you so much insight into engagement trends. You should monitor the competition and even brands in entirely different industries to get a bigger picture understanding of changing consumer preferences. By doing so, you can gain inspiration, see what is and isn’t working, take a break from your own daily routine, and gain some much-needed fresh perspective.
Additionally, viral campaigns frequently start new trends, which you might be expected to follow or learn from because your employer wants you to try to emulate their successes or because a campaign is so successful that it enters the cultural lexicon.
Major tentpole events like the Super Bowl offer a great opportunity to keep an eye out for new marketing campaigns, tactics, and strategies that either flop or take off, despite the fact that it can be difficult to keep up with everyone’s activities all the time. Adone cites the Mr. Peanut Super Bowl campaign as an example. For weeks, it “had everyone buzzing about an iconic yet dated brand mascot.” When she observes campaigns like these succeed, she enjoys delving further to determine what factors contributed to their success and how she might incorporate fresh concepts into her own initiatives.
When you start a new job or company, especially one in a different industry, it can be especially helpful to look at the competition. In order to identify areas for improvement in terms of social media followers, engagement, and campaigns as well as overall website presence, blog content and format, and email themes and cadence, I like to conduct a landscape marketing analysis of the company’s digital channels and presence as well as that of their competitors whenever I start a new job. Since best practices are a moving target, I use this exercise to expand my understanding of them using current, relevant examples from other professionals in the industry.
#Let Yourself Experiment
Trial and error is sometimes the best way to learn, and, according to Adone, customer testing can be more beneficial than market research. Your objective should be to quickly test things, learn from your experiments, and modify based on the outcomes.
You need the tools in place, such as social listening platforms, A/B testing capabilities, and engagement analytics, to be able to quickly gauge how your target audience will react to any changes you make if you want to be successful. Adone asserts that if you try something new, you ought to be able to tell right away if people like it and if they don’t.
Early success indicators may include an increase in social media followers, email subscribers, or comments, depending on the initiative. However, more favorable reviews, an uptick in general customer engagement, and higher conversions or sales could be longer-term indicators of effectiveness.