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Build out your packing list: Preparing for the 2023 marketing journey


When we countdown to midnight, break out our noisemakers and sing “Auld Lang Syne,” it symbolizes a new beginning. And as marketing leaders, it’s our job to decide where that beginning will take us—and how we’re going to get there.

This year, the future is fuzzier. There’s so much outside of our control that will directly affect our outcomes and tactics. We can’t control consumer spending or the economy at large. We can’t control algorithm changes or shifts in customer behavior. But we can control our message, communication styles and how we execute on our plans. As leaders, we have the opportunity to shape our 2023, even as budgets shrink and hiring stalls. We just have to get creative and stay focused.

Leading through ambiguity

I’ve approached 2023 planning like packing for a large trip. You want to be prepared for anything that might come up, but your suitcase is only so big. It’s impossible to pack everything you might need for a successful trip. You might not need some things or have to go buy others. But if you plan well enough, you can minimize the adjustments you’ll have to make during the trip. As I’m choosing the right base layers for my 2023 marketing wardrobe, I’m keeping a few things in mind.

Commit to KPIs

Regardless of market conditions, we’ll all be held accountable for our KPIs. Whether you’re trying to increase revenue, capture more market share or strengthen your brand, those goals need to be unwavering and always at the forefront. Make sure you’ve narrowed down to two or three extremely specific goals. Focused efforts are the winning strategy for 2023.

Understand your audience

Your priorities have changed because of the economic headwinds of 2022 and your customers are no different. Whether you’re in B2C or B2B, budgets are under more scrutiny and you need to secure your spot in your customers’ wallets. In 2023, 77% of consumers report being more likely to increase their spending with brands they feel connected to. That number is up from 57% in 2018. If you’re going to become indispensable for them, you need to be honest about who you are and the problems you solve–and communicate your value in a language they understand. Keeping an eye on the effectiveness of your messaging is non-negotiable.

77% of consumers will spend more with brands they feel connected to

React quickly

The days of taking three to four months to evaluate a trend are over. If your team is going to be successful in 2023, you have to be truly agile. As soon as you receive information that could impact your KPIs, you have to adjust. Your main focus this year has to be your goals and progress. If you see them starting to slip, you need to act fast. Social data is your secret weapon for fast reaction times. It holds real-time, unfiltered insights into your audience. Leverage every tool at your disposal to stay agile.

Executing for excellence

Once you’ve established your goals and baseline, it’s time to rally the troops. Whether you have a marketing team of 10 or 10,000, their understanding of your goals and strategy will make or break your year. When it comes to execution, I’m focusing on open lines of communication, creativity and quality over quantity.

Stay on the same page

It’s unrealistic for marketing leaders to think they’ll be able to monitor every new initiative. Your time is best spent on monitoring KPIs, not the success of individual Tweets. To stay on track, every member of your team should know the KPIs inside and out. While you’re focused on the big picture, they can make the game-time decisions that will incrementally drive your strategy forward. Empower them to do so with a healthy understanding of your goals. If something changes, let them know immediately. Trust your team.

Get creative

As marketing budgets shrink, you have to get more targeted. This is the time for creativity. If your paid social budget is shrinking, your team should be focused on creating organic social posts with reach. In uncertain times, we might want to stick to what’s comfortable—and Forrester predicts that most CMOs will go that route this year. But the best success will come from taking calculated risks and trying new things. Give your team the space to be truly creative with their marketing.

Stress quality over quantity

A spray and pray approach will not work in 2023. Your messaging needs to be targeted. You need to target it to your audience, target it to actions you want them to take and target it to how success will impact your KPIs. It’s better to have one extremely well-performing campaign than five decent ones. Don’t waste valuable resources on so-so ideas. Commit to the best idea you have and pair it with the best execution strategy.

Making it a happy New Year

Having less doesn’t mean doing less. Economic outlooks might be turbulent, but you can ensure smooth sailing for your marketing team with a clear vision and a creative strategy. 2023 might be your most successful year yet.

Wondering what else is on the horizon for 2023? Check out this list of 2023 social media predictions.

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