7 Things Marketers Should Stop DoingIt’s that time of year when a lot of folks like to make resolutions. New beginnings and all that. Well I’m not gonna take the conventional path here.

I mean if you want to lose weight, the steps are pretty simple, right?  Exercise every day, weigh yourself once a week, count your calories.

But sometimes it’s not about what you need to start doing, it’s really about what you need to stop doing that is so important. Everyone knows that if you can only do one thing to lose weight it is to stop eating so darned much.

So here’s my list of 7 things for marketers to stop doing right now.

And if you follow these steps, just think about all the amazing business results you’ll achieve and how great you’ll feel when it comes time to put that bathing suit back on!

  1. Stop making everything all about you. Put your marketing super ego aside and start making your marketing all about your customers. Putting your audience first in everything you do is probably the most important resolution marketers can make. But this can only happen when we lay aside our human tendency to self-preserve. And that my friends, takes courage. But don’t worry, we’re here to support you.
  2. Stop making everything so darn complicated. Sometimes my mouth moves faster than my brain and I confuse the acronym K.I.S.S. Is it “Keep It Stupid-Simple” or “Keep It Simple. Stupid!” Certain situations might require either interpretation. And this is so true for many of us marketers as planning and tactics and details are part of the skills we need to be successful. But in the end, the simplest path is often the right one – as long as you stay focused on adding value to your audience.
  3. Stop acting like an automaton. Read your website, your emails, or your latest campaign and ask yourself if the copy is written in the way you would write a personal email to a friend or if it is written by a computer for a machine. Get personal. Be human. Be interesting. Take a risk and tell a personal story or two. I often debate whether the difference between B2B Marketing and B2C Marketing still exists. The real answer is that to be successful in both, you have to simply relate to people and be more human.
  4. Stop speaking to yourself. Many of us in marketing are speaking to ourselves. We never get out of the office and when we do, it might be to a conference to speak to other marketers who are just like us. So stop insulating yourself. Get out and speak to a customer. Talk to your colleagues in sales. Make great friends with the CIO and the CFO. If you’re an introvert, that’s OK. Do some customer research. Analyze search traffic and keywords. The point is to allow the realities of the outside world to guide your perspectives.
  5. Stop focusing on tasks and activities. Ask many marketers how they did last year and they will tell you how many campaigns they executed. But is the number of activities completed any real measure of success? We need to start focusing on results. To be successful in marketing today, we need to contribute to the business using metrics the business uses. That’s why you need to be friends with sales, finance and the technologists. Make sure you have the tools you need and understand the process inside your company well enough to analyze what really works.
  6. Stop being anti-social. You can still be an introvert and yet be social. We live in an increasingly social and inter-connected world. And as a marketer and a business person, I think it’s an imperative for all marketers to get active on social platforms. If you have friends or family, then you can start right now. Connect with them wherever they are. Start there and see how it goes. Follow people who you think do it well and emulate them. Find an existing blogger (like me) and ask to contribute a guest post. There are easy ways to dip your toe in the social waters. You have a brain and a personality and a perspective on the world that you can share in order to start getting involved in social conversations.
  7. Stop holding on to the past. The “good old days” of uninformed and disconnected buyers ain’t coming back. Your audience is more informed than some of your own sales people. And they are telling their friends. They are also open to having a relationship with you based on common value and trust. So start by giving them what they want: educational content, maybe entertainment or even some sought-after distractions, not unwanted interruptions and meaningless promotions. Change has come to B2B Marketing. Are you Ready?

So it’s my first day back after a nice, long and relaxing holiday break. I thought that it was a good idea to try and define some ideas for things we should stop doing. But my brain isn’t quite firing on all cylinders yet. So what have I missed? What things should we stop doing right now?

About Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is the Vice President of Global Marketing for SAP where he leads content strategy and serves as the managing editor of the company’s award-winning Business Innovation thought leadership blog site. He is also the author of B2B Marketing Insider, a contributor to Forbes and a frequent speaker at industry events covering topics such as marketing strategy, social business, content marketing, digital marketing, social media and personal branding.  Follow Michael on Twitter (@BrennerMichael)LinkedInFacebook and Google+ and Subscribe to B2B Marketing Insider by Email

20 Comments

  1. Eric Wittlake said…

    Happy New Year, welcome back! Nice post, and I like the ‘stop’ style. One that I would add

    Stop assuming what worked before will still work today. Assess everything against your knowledge of TODAY’s buyer and marketing landscape before moving ahead. And then measure it and be ready to shift if needed.

    You touched on this in #7, but I think it goes beyond the changing landscape, to assumptions that search will work well, syndication will work well, or print is dead. We need to re-evaluate our historical knowledge to be sure it represents knowledge today and doesn’t simply mislead us.

    Welcome back!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Thanks Eric and Happy 2012 New Year wishes to you as well!

      Great addition. I think all assumptions should be challenged and I think you’re right that I didn’t go far enough on this point in number 7. So here’s to challenging the assumptions (clinks glass)!

      Best, Michael

  2. Giles Farrow said…

    Hi Michael,

    I have always used KISS = “Keep It Simple, Stupid”
    but now I prefer “Clear First, Clever Second”

    Clear and simple look easy – but almost always need far more work to get to

    Happy New Year

    Giles

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Giles, it *is* hard and takes much more effort. Just like the Mark Twain quote about writing shorter letters. But in the end, I have always found much higher return from the effort to simplify = easier to sell, easier to execute, and typically more effective.

      Happy New Year to you as well!

      Best, Michael

    • Rhianna Rita Starr said…

      I like to define the “KISS” method as “Keep It Sweet & Simple.”
      “Keep it Sweet & Simple” and you’ll get a kiss from your customer :)

  3. Vanessa said…

    Great advice, thank you!

  4. Caspar Craven said…

    Hi Michael – great blog and good common sense (the best type of) advice. Particularly like point 7….I’ve just done a newsletter with an article called the only thing we know is we dont know anything. The rules of the past are just that…in the past!

    • Michael Brenner said…

      Hi Caspar,

      Thanks so much. I would be honored if you want to use or reference this article for the newsletter. Great to “meet you”!

      Best, Michael

  5. Rahul Kohli said…

    Great post, what I would add are the following, especially from an internal organizational perspective:

    1. Be more collaborative: I guess this is an extention of being more social. Try to connect to those members of your extended team who can hlep you ideate, refine and executive and vice versa.

    2. Understand the constraints under which you operate: This is frustating at tiimes when you know you have some good ideas but may not have the resources or budgets to support them. Best is to then first understand your constriants and operate the best you can under them. This is espcially true if you want to start something which requires long term commitment and support.

    3. Create an eco system thriving on giver’s gain: Best done with a simple but structured process of crowdsourcing where people feel empowerd to contribute knowing a structure exists to take their ideas to market

  6. Mark Weatherley said…

    Thanks for the points. Valuable even if your not in marketing, because it, as you say in your first point, is all about the customer. How do we get them what they need. Every customer needs a different approach.

  7. Warren said…

    Great post with some solid tips, Michael. Enjoyed the writing style. Take care and have a great weekend. WW

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