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Your Digital Marketing New Year’s Resolutions (Thinks Out Loud Episode 270)

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Your Digital Marketing New Year's Resolutions (Thinks Out Loud Episode 270) – Headlines and Show Notes

Happy New Year, folks, and welcome to 2020. Hope your year is off to a great start already. And, if you're looking for some ideas on how to make sure that 2020 works out to be a great year for your business, Tim Peter & Associates' president Tim Peter has some digital marketing New Year's resolutions that you'll want to check out on the latest episode of Thinks Out Loud.

Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you:

Relevant Links – Your Digital Marketing New Year's Resolutions (Thinks Out Loud Episode 270)

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You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:

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Transcript — Your Digital New Year's Resolutions

Well. Hello again everyone, and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital marketing expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. This is episode 270 of the big show, and this is our first show of 2020. Happy New Year, everyone, thanks so much for tuning in. I really appreciate you being here.

I think we've got a really cool show. You may remember I closed out our last episode, episode 269, which of course I will link to in the show notes, with the decade in review. I took a look at the biggest trends, the biggest details, the biggest facts that you needed to be aware about as you got ready for 2020 and 2021 and 2022 we go on from here. And I thought I would start off this episode this year, this decade, with a couple of new year's resolutions for folks in digital, a couple of things that are really important as you go forward to help you grow your business and to adapt to the reality that you know we're going to see over the next couple of years.

So just to recap what I talked about in the last episode briefly, and again, I'm going to link to it in the show notes. I don't want to spend a lot of time telling you something I already told you, but I talked about, you know, mobile and the changing customer experience and AI and Google and how you can think strategically and most importantly, how you need to keep learning.

Because the one thing that digital does is it changes quickly, right? It allows for the rapid integration and disintegration of value chains, and it's important that you just keep learning.

Resolution #1: Keep Learning

So my first new year's resolution, the first resolution I would encourage you is to, in fact, keep learning. And in some ways I want to end with that one, but I also think it makes a lot of sense to start with it because ultimately, no one can really predict the future. As much as I like to try, as long as, as much as I like to think I can see the writing on the wall or connect the dots, the reality is, you know, I'm probably as wrong as often as I'm right. And the one thing that remains true is if you can't predict the future, then you need to be really good at adapting to the future.

And so being able to learn and being committed to learning and being focused on learning continually and continuously is incredibly important to ensuring you're successful throughout the course of your growth as a marketer, your growth as a digital strategist, your growth as a leader within your organization.

That's really key.

Resolution #2: Invest into the Downturn

The other thing that I think is a key resolution as we go forward in 2020 is that you need to be prepared to invest into the downturn. Now I want to be very clear. I am on record that I don't think we're going to face a recession next year. I talked about this in episode 264 which again, I will link to in the show notes, but in case there is a recession, you're much better off acting as though there will be a recession and having that not be true then acting as though there won't be a recession and having that not be true. Right? The only thing worse than planning for a recession that doesn't happen is not planning for a recession. But there is a way to prepare for a recession the right way and to think about how to market in a recession the right way. And that is to continue to invest into the recession.

Now, that doesn't mean throwing all your money at all of the things you always plan to do. We've talked about this before. I'm in favor of a model that I refer to as "core and explore," which technically could be a resolution unto itself, but I'm going to keep these two together for the moment. But the idea is that you spend 80 to 85% of your energies and your budget on the things that you know work. And you keep 15%, maybe 20% of your budget in reserve to test new ideas, new opportunities as they come along. Right? So the core is the 80% to 85% you focus on the stuff you know works, and we explore is that 15% to 20% that you're keeping in reserve.

The nice thing about that is that if in fact the recession hits really hard and you need to put a little bit of that 20%, of that 15% in your pocket, it's there waiting for you without slashing what you'd already intended to do. Because you've taken 80 to 85% and you've focused it on the things that you know work and you can keep fishing where the fishing's good.

That would include things like performance marketing. That would include things like investing in your content. That would include things like investing in social in a way to get customers to tell a positive story on your behalf, providing them content that they can share with their friends and family and fans and followers.

And then that extra 15 to 20% is they are waiting for you as new opportunities come up that allow you to, you know, invest where you see the opportunities. Now, why do I think it's important to invest, even if there's going to be a downward turn? And the reason is because your competitors won't. What you really want to do in a recession is you want to make the recession, you want to make any downturn, you want to make any challenges, your competition's problem. Let them be the ones to scale back marketing and then use that as an opportunity for you to steal share. The worst thing to do when your competition is running scared is join them, right? Let them be the ones who've run around like crazy people or stick their heads in the sand or hunkered down and you know, ignore their customers.

That's the worst thing you can do because when you do that, is you get customers to expect a lesser customer experience, or you get customers to forget you because you're not marketing. You're not putting yourself in front of them at times of need. Because if you're facing some economic problems, obviously your customers might be facing some challenges too.

They have problems, they have challenges, they have needs and they will remember "who was there for me, who helped me at a time when I needed it?" So you want to market intelligently. You want to market on the channels that produce a return for you today and double down on those, really focus your efforts on the channels that work best for you. But also keep some money available, keep some resources available, keeps some time available to explore those places where maybe this is the time to try it. You know, whether it's video, whether it is some paid social, whether it is something else that comes along the way — SMS marketing? — that you haven't tried before to see, does it help you reach a new customer or reach a customer in a different way that you haven't tried before?

Resolution #3: Enlist Your Customers in Curation and Creation of Positive Brand Story

The next resolution that we want to talk about, of course, is how do you enlist your customers in the creation and curation of a positive brand story? You know, one of the things that we've talked about a lot, that I talked about a lot in 2019, is how much gatekeepers like Google and the rest of the frightful five

are making it harder to reach customers economically and organically. They've introduced more tolls along the way to reaching those customers. But what they've also done, and I'm in this case I'm talking especially about Facebook, but also to some degree email and the like, they've made it easier for people to talk to people.

So what you really want to do is get your customers to tell a positive brand story to their friends and family and fans and followers, and help you bypass the tolls that the gatekeepers have put in place. So it doesn't matter if we're talking Facebook, it doesn't matter if we're talking Google. You want to make it that your customers have something to share and a positive story to tell on your behalf.

And again, this is something I've talked about before, so I won't belabor the point, but the idea is that you want to provide content that is snackable, that is shareable, and that is sharp for your customers to share with their friends and family and fans and followers.

By snackable I mean your content needs to be easily consumed. It can't be, you know, walls of text. Think about something that allows people to consume it on their mobile device easily and readily, and answer the question that they need so that they can get on with their life.

What I mean by shareable is a, there has to be some mechanisms there for them to be able to share it. So there should be a share button. It should fit in a tweet or a text easily. But also it needs to be something that they would care to share. It needs to be emotionally engaging enough that somebody would want to share it. How does it make them look good? Look smart, look funny, look engaged to the people that they care about, right? People only share things that make them look good. So make sure that it's shareable from that perspective.

And when I say it's sharp, of course what I mean is that it's to the point. The point is very clear. What do you want them to do? How does this help them answer their questions and let them get on with their day?

And if you can do that really well and you can encourage them to do that, then you're actually enlisting their participation in this process. You're helping them help you.

Your Digital New Year's Resolutions: Conclusion

So to recap the three big New Year's resolutions, I would focus on as a digital person are one, keep learning, keep growing. Keep finding ways to get better at what you do to invest into the downturn. Two, act like there might be one and invest intelligently so that you're set up regardless of whether or not that turns out to be true. You can do that. This is sort of 2A of the resolutions. You can do that by using a "core and explore" process. Think in terms of how you can focus on the areas where you're the best position and also keep a little bit of powder dry to use where opportunities present themselves. And finally, enlist your customers in the process. The best way to compete in the marketplace today where gatekeepers are putting tolls and putting roadblocks between you and your customers is to get customers to participate in that storytelling on your behalf.

If you do that, I feel pretty confident that at the end of this year you'll be looking back and saying, wow, this was a really great year for us because we made the right resolutions and committed to them at the start.

Your Digital New Year's Resolutions: Show Closing

Now looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. But I'd like to remind you that you can find the show notes for today's episode as well as an archive of all our past episodes by going to, again that's Just look for episode 270. While you're there, you can click on the subscribe link in any of the episodes you find to have Thinks Out Loud, delivered to you every single week.

You can also subscribe to Thinks Out Loud on Apple Podcasts or Google Podcasts or Stitcher Radio or whatever your favorite podcatcher happens to be. Just do a search for "Tim Peter Thinks," "Tim Peter Thinks Out Loud," or "Thinks Out Loud," we should show up for any of those.

While you're there. I'd really appreciate it if you could provide us a positive rating and review. It helps new listeners find the show, figure out what they're in for and it makes a huge difference for me. It really means a lot, so I'd appreciate that.

You can also find Thinks Out Loud on Facebook by going to You can find me on Twitter using the Twitter handle @tcpeter, and of course you can email me by sending an email to Again, that's

As ever, I'd like to thank SoloSegment, our sponsor. SoloSegment focuses on AI-driven content discovery and the site search analytics to unlock revenue for your business. You can learn more about how to improve your content, increase your customer satisfaction, and make your search smarter by going to

With that I do want to say thanks so much for tuning in. I very much appreciate it. I know I say this all the time, but I wouldn't do the show without your support. It means so much to me and I really, really appreciate it. I hope you have a great rest of the week. I hope you have a great 2020. And I really do look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time.

Until then, please be well, be safe, and as ever take care of everybody.

Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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