Resolution #1: Update your look

Bored with your hair style? Your wardrobe? The beginning of the year is the perfect time to switch up your look for a confidence boost.

When it comes to your marketing campaigns, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, though. Instead, think about simple updates you can make to breathe new life into your brand and get you noticed.

Macy’s annual Believe campaign was a customer favorite, a program that allows customers to drop their “Letters to Santa at the North Pole” at Macy’s stores.

This year, though, the campaign was brought into the digital world by allowing customers to submit their letters online through their computer or mobile phone. For consumers who preferred to send Santa a handwritten letter, Macy’s provided a digital solution for the traditionalist by providing downloadable stationary for letters to Santa.

This update to the campaign allowed Macy’s to engage more of their customers through the addition of other online-only features, and by extending the reach of the campaign beyond just those customers who live near a Macy’s store.

2: Break out of a rut

The start of a new year is the perfect time to shake things up, to do things differently and take a fresh approach. And, you guessed it: it’s the same for marketers.

A new year, a new budget: time to try something new. There are many ways to do this, from integrating mobile into your program to starting completely from scratch.

For example, Foursquare, the location-based social networking app, realized they had a branding issue earlier in 2014; the company had relaunched with new and improved capabilities but consumers weren’t aware of what these new capabilities were or what they meant.

The company invested in its first-ever brand campaign to educate consumers on the new Foursquare functionality and uses.

FourSquare already had over 50m users as a location-sharing app, but when it integrated personalized recommendations, the company realized it needed to market those capabilities in order to educate existing users and attract new ones. Switching up strategy can be the key to continued relevance.

3: Be more organized

Almost every one of us has vowed to be more organized going forward. In this age, we often have more data than we can process even with every imaginable device. Create a plan to leverage and organize your data, in order to optimize your current and future programs.

Kimpton Hotels unified multiple data sources to create a holistic customer view for their Karma Rewards program. Instead of creating loyalty tiers based solely on hotel stays, Kimpton based a member’s status on 200-300 different behaviors.

These behaviors include traditional ones, such as booking a room on Kimpton’s website, social media behaviors, such as tweeting about Kimpton and what a customer does during their stay, such as attending an exercise class or even bringing their pet with them.

Through tracking behaviors in different customer groups, Kimpton gained valuable insight into what rewards were working and which were not, ultimately allowing them to optimize their rewards programs to better engage consumers. 

4: Volunteer and give back

‘Tis the season to give thanks and be inspired to give back. Many brands have corporate social responsibility programs, or causes that are particularly close to the heart.

By partnering with a non-profit organization, you can elevate your brand profile, help raise awareness for a good cause, and appeal to your audience emotionally.

A good way to do this? Agree to donate to your chosen non-profit each time a customer interacts with your marketing campaign.

5: Be a more engaged friend

Today, more often than not we find ourselves nose down in our phones, multitasking during valuable time with friends and family. For many of us, 2015 may be the year that we finally make the effort to really engage with our friends, be more loyal and live in the moment.

As a marketer, are you simply creating transactions, or doing things that build long-term affinity? Take a page out of Belk’s book: the southern lifestyle retailer made a commitment to engage with their consumers on an ongoing basis — even without a traditional loyalty or rewards program.  

In February of this year, it launched Share Your Love Story, a campaign aimed at brides-to-be. Then in late summer, the retailer launched a back-to-school campaign for teens and families. For the holidays, Belk just ran a Santa-themed engagement campaign.

Year-round promotions engage the customer on a regular basis with emotional and personal touchpoints, building ”friends” for life.

January is filled with goals and intentions for the new year. With the worthy, yet sometimes daunting aspiration to do – and be – better than you were before, it’s easy to lose sight of how to start. Be simple and start small and press refresh for a 2015 that is well-organized, and wildly successful.