3 marketing & communications keys for 2017

With a new year fast approaching, it’s a good time for companies and organizations think about their communications and marketing strategies for 2017. Actually, six months ago was a good time to think about 2017, but we are where we are. It’s never too late to begin.

Obviously, everyone has their own issues and priorities. But if I were asked to name three things just about every organization should do in 2017, my sound bite would be:

1.       Get serious about social media.

2.       Be authentic and genuine about your brand.

3.       Have a plan!  

The social media priority should be painfully obvious by now. But too many businesses are still either avoiding it or barely dabbling in social media out of fear or ignorance.

The way people consume information has changed drastically thanks to mega-channels like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.  It’s way past time for every company, regardless of size, to participate in the social media revolution.

Brand authenticity is timeless. But 2016 made it extremely clear that people now demand it. They increasingly can see through BS. They won’t tolerate disconnects between what a company says and what it does. Transparency is a must.  It’s time for every company to make sure its actions live up to the aspirations of its brand.

Planning – or the lack of it – is a longstanding problem that just won’t go away. It’s especially a problem at smaller organizations but it’s surprisingly common among larger, supposedly more sophisticated ones, too. A marketing and communications strategy should serve as a guide and it should align with the company’s overall strategic plan.

Resolve to quit throwing mud on the wall to see what sticks in 2017. Instead, develop and implement a marketing and communications plan.

Now, get back to your black-eyed peas and cabbage. And have a great, prosperous new year.  

-          Eric Whittington