Top agency resolutions for 2016

Amidst the rush to clear the work backlog (or refill the prospect pipeline) in time for 2016, take a moment to reflect on the year that was with a deep, cleansing breath.

Ahhh. Very nice.

Now get ready for the year to come. Whether they’re made in moments of calm contemplation or during a year-end blowout, resolutions help frame the way we attack the challenges ahead. I asked agency leaders to share their professional resolutions for 2016, and heard answers ranging from the highly conceptual to the eminently practical.

The psychological

Ed St. Peter, director of integrated production at AnswersMedia, keeps grounded and focused by working from a list of recurring resolutions every year. “They serve me well no matter what I’m doing,” he says. His opening offering: “Talk less (and less and less) and listen more.”

Sharon Goldmacher, president and CEO of communications 21, is keeping her eye on the generation gap. “I resolve to keep asking my team how to keep them engaged and challenged,” she says. “Millennials are a harder group to understand, as they can be a less vocal group. Using text and IM to chat with them is important to help understand what they want to do to grow.”

Greg Daake, principal and creative director at branding agency DAAKE, says he’s looking for a better mix of preparation and action. He resolves to develop “more and more strategy and learning to guide creative. [I want] a 9:1 ratio of discovery to creation.”

The practical

There’s no shame in making eminently practical, pragmatic, workaday resolutions.

Adhere Creative is committing to an overhaul of its operating practices. “We are restructuring our processes and implementing an Agile project management methodology,” says Daniel Vaczi, the agency’s director of new business. “This will make us more efficient, give us the ability to scale faster, and sustain our quality work output during that process.”

Finding more ways to be more present in the marketplace never hurts. Daake’s self-promotional resolution focuses on just that. “Drip. More and consistent marketing of our services to target audiences. Timing is everything. Be top of mind when the time is right.”

Take a cue from St. Peter and look past the usual suspects when it’s time to hire in 2016. “I resolve to look for the unusual, the out of the ordinary, and the outliers when searching for new talent.”

And sometimes simply being better prepared to execute on your core responsibilities is the best promise to yourself. “I want to learn Google Analytics inside out,” offers Gabriela Vega, director of PR at Transmedia Group.

The principled

If you’re looking to take a stand in 2016, take a stand for being easier and more transparent to work with. “I want to learn to listen, rather than to respond,” Vega says.

On the other hand, if you think you’ve been knocked around one too many times by bad matches, now might be the perfect time to stand up for yourself in a very different way. “We will be conducting background checks on clients before signing them to the firm,” says Lindsey Carnett, president and CEO of Marketing Maven PR. “In addition, we will take on a new approach of determining if certain clients fit into a certain profitability threshold. We must add these goals so that we can best focus our expertise on clients that will continue to grow along with us.”

Resolve to spend enough time making yourself look just as good as your clients. “I resolve to no longer be the cobbler, and make sure we are considering ourselves as a client, putting marketing, PR, and interactive activities for our agency at the forefront,” Goldmacher says. “And I resolve to keep things fun, because ‘work’ is already a four-letter word and should be something people look forward to.”

If you’re still scuffling for ideas, don’t overthink it. It’s hard to go wrong resolving to be positive and productive. “Do more and complain less,” offers St. Peter, a maxim he credits to investor/author/guru James Altucher.

Post by Jason Compton

Jason Compton is a writer with over 15 years of experience covering marketing, sales, and service. Based in Madison, WI, he is a regular contributor to Direct Marketing News, previously served as executive editor of CRM Magazine, and has been published in over 50 outlets.