The old adage from Epictetus says: “We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak.” While that’s pretty wise, and surely pertains to marketing amongst other things, I think old Epicty overlooked the importance of our eyes. Going by his logic, we have two eyes so that we can look around twice as much as we speak, too. This brings me to the main point of this post – which is not just counting the various parts of our head.
While you can argue that they’re the same thing – paying attention – I’ll be more specific. Based on that core idea, here are the three ways I’m shaking things up when it comes to expanding my professional mind in 2017:
“Following” More People Outside Marketing
Our influencers don’t only have to be leaders in the marketing world. We can learn a lot from “outsiders” who are leaders in their own industries. If they’re writing or speaking about important issues and sharing their unique insights and perspectives, we can usually find a lesson or two in there for our own profession.
PRO TIP: LinkedIn does a good job of enabling this since you can “follow” people like Barbara Corcoran or Richard Branson or Sergey Brin or Warren Buffett with the click of a button. For bite-sized bits of wisdom, follow them on Twitter as well.
Visiting New (To Me) Marketing, Advertising, and Other Communications-Focused Websites/Blogs
Similar to #1, but different in that we’re back to focusing on marketing. There are plenty of voices out there in Marketing Land with distinctive opinions, and we could spend all day searching and reading up on them.
I plan to seek out influencers who focus on specific areas within marketing (experiential, mobile, etc.), or new and innovative concepts that are creating new marketing vehicles (wearables, Internet of Things, etc.).
And I want to go beyond typical marketing stuff and check out other types of communication, even if they’re only tangentially related. Maybe I’ll read a book of poems and notice the interplay of the words – it could help with my own writing. Or I could study up on nonverbal communication – and learn a thing or two about how I present myself or get some tips for shooting a client video.
Relying on Time-Tested Tactics, But Mixing In Some New/Different Ones
I’m old enough to remember tissue-paper mechanicals and physical “job jacket” folders, but I like to think I’m pretty plugged into how things work in today’s marketing world. So while I usually advise my clients to pursue many of today’s fundamental marketing tactics – from email to social to collateral materials – I’m going to see how we can expand our planning to include a few unconventional tactics.
If that means suggesting a bunch of old-school printed flyers for an innovative tech startup or recommending a social media campaign for a B2B manufacturer of ball bearings, then let’s give it a shot. Marketers have been shocked before when something “out of the box” resonates with a target audience.
How are you going to shake things up in 2017? Please share your thoughts below.