Authored by Guest Blogger, Carrie Majewski
When I was running a digital marketing agency five years ago, I was thinking of ways to inject energy and excitement into my team with the start of a New Year upon us. We were a small team of eight, responsible for cranking out an inordinate amount of content weekly, and I wanted to take a moment to pause, reorient the team and get them jazzed about heading into the New Year. So, I gave them a team building exercise: pick a word of the year.
This word of the year would be, in many ways, our theme for the year ahead. We would rely on it to make strategic business decisions. We would hold ourselves accountable in honor of it. We would use it as inspiration to work differently in the year ahead than we did the year prior.
After an incredibly stimulating conversation, we landed on the word “Impact.” We were about two years into our inception and what we wanted most for the year ahead was to have greater impact: on our clients, on each other, on our work, etc. We wanted to look back a year later and have our clients be able to pinpoint the various ways we impacted them, from strengthening their brand stories to contributing to their lead generation engine.
As a team, we were innately curious on how we could measure the impact we were having. As individuals, we challenged ourselves to make sure that while we were having greater impact on our clients, we were finding ways to positively impact our career paths as well.
The exercise was extremely enriching. By the end, we were left with a word of the year, a clear definition of what it would look and feel like, and a few tangible ways each of us could personally live it out.
I carried the practice with me when I left the agency, and in my next role did the same exercise. That team chose the word "Intention."
As a marketer, you have likely begun to set your sights on the year ahead. You have set new goals, reflected on the shining and struggling moments of the year prior, and begun to plant seeds that will flourish into new ideas. But have you considered your word of the year, either as an individual or an entire department?
To help you get started in selecting your marketing word of the year, ask yourself:
-What do you want more of this year as a marketing department or individual marketer?
-What will it feel/look like if you get there?
-How will getting there positively impact your larger organization?
You may start floating words around (some of my past favorites include Purpose, Outcomes, Create, Innovate and Connection). As a few rise to the surface, consider how each word could connect to marketing department imperatives you have like generating leads, strengthening brand awareness, crafting compelling content and aligning with sales. If you land on "Outcomes," for instance, you may choose to spend more time in 2019 evaluating projects and initiatives against the backdrop of:
-Does this project generate a strong, positive outcome?
-How can we measure the impact of that outcome?
-How will this outcome support larger marketing goals?
Once your word is selected, consider how you will hold yourself and your team accountable. For instance, will you measure metrics against your word? Have monthly check-ins on alignment to the word? Talk about it with other departments? It’s not enough to just select a word of the year. It’s equally important to make sure you are leveraging the word as a guiding compass for your marketing decisions.
So, the time is now. What ideas do you have for your marketing word of the year? Grab that pen and paper and let the ideas start flowing!
Carrie Majewski is committed to affecting change. As Founder of the Women in Leadership Nexus, Carrie is fueled by a desire to create safe space for female luminaries to convene to redefine the notion of leadership. She has forged a career around strategic writing and storytelling, having led a digital marketing agency for almost three years and today working as Marketing Principal for Trilix Tech. Carrie is a 2017 Rhode Island “40 Under 40” honoree and a 2016 Rhode Island Tech10 Winner. In her spare time you’ll find her trying out a local hip-hop class, exploring parks with her rescue dog Tori, and sipping coffee with other powerhouse women.