5 Marketing Lessons I Learned in 2015

As the year draws to a close, it's time to reflect on 2015--accomplishments, failures, and lessons--that I'll take with me into 2016. After putting together my year in review, I thought back on the 5 biggest lessons that I learned this year.

1. Know Your Audience

Marketing rule #1 took a lot of time to hammer into my brain. Building the right message and the right content requires us to understand what others care about and see the world from their perspective. Whether that's in sales enablement or on Twitter, every communication must keep the audience in mind. Taking the time to research various different audiences made me pause and think through what I wanted to know, who needed to know, and why it was important for them to know it.

2. Market Unto Others As They Would Market Unto You

This phrase lies at the crux of inbound marketing. Hearing this from Dharmesh Shah and Brian Halligan at #INBOUND15 crystallized my understanding of the philosophy. Traditionally, marketing is interruptive. We run ads, send direct mail (aka junk mail) and push OUR priorities rather than those of our audience (see point #1). Inbound flips this idea on its head and focuses entirely on the customer experience, which is one of the reasons I chose to rotate into Digital Marketing. Working through questions of content, experience, and messaging, I've learned to live this phrase.  

3. No Matter What You're Doing, You're Selling

Another tidbit from #INBOUND15, this one from Daniel Pink. Marketing is becoming closer and closer to sales. Pink spoke a lot about negative perceptions of sales teams and the flip from seller advantage to buyer advantage. With so much information and research out there, our buyer is more informed. Instead of taking the sales pitch for granted, we can make smarter decisions. As marketers, we need to provide relevant information that helps our customer and solves their problems, rather than push traditional "marketing" content at them.

4. Anything That Can Happen, Will At A Tradeshow

Information Generation EMC World

I know what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas, but EMC World fully epitomized Murphy's Law. I learned the hard way to expect the unexpected and be 110% prepared for anything, particularly in the planning stages of the show and the days leading up to opening. Most of all, when it comes to customer experience, nothing is too small. Connecting customers to SMEs and witnessing the deep conversations happening at our booth made all that craziness completely worthwhile.

5. Start With Why

 

Most of all, I learned that crafting a message from the inside out rather than outside in makes it more powerful. Starting with WHY rather than WHAT gives the reader a sense of purpose and can apply to organizations, leadership, or brand messaging. Helping craft the "why" message with leaders also helped us solidify the greater purpose behind our actions and push the envelope. Understanding Simon Sinek's work and how that fits together with building a great story helps me write every day.

For more lessons, look no further than this great Medium piece.