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Watch Out for the Trend Stories; Play Your Own Game

It’s January, and that means the annual danger is upon us for most of the month: The trend story is out to grab you and convince you that you’re missing out if you don’t devote a lot of your budget to X, right now.

I’m seeing lots of trend stories this year about chatbots and other AI-linked projects. And hear me say: Some of you ought to be jumping on that! But my concern is that in the marketing and digital professions, we have a history of chasing the latest shiny object without first validating our audience’s need for the geegaw of the month. And that’s how you end up underengaged on 6 different social platforms or creating a website with thousands of pages and no visits.

So I’ll agree you ought to make a professional New Year’s Resolution—as long as you include something about getting to know your audience better as part of that. What challenges is your audience dealing with? What problems do they have that you may be able to help solve? What kind of information is hard for them to find? What connections can you help them build?

It’s 2018, and the answers to some of those questions are definitely going to involve technology, no matter what you do. If you’ll start from an audience-first perspective, you’re much more likely to find the work that really serves your prospect and your customer—and therefore, makes your organization more successful.

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