We’re now a month into the New Year… how are those resolutions going? If you’ve had the discipline to make it this far, good for you! But if not, that’s okay, too. This year, I say scrap the gym memberships, juice cleanses, and other lofty goals, and instead, join me in a digital-marketing challenge designed to up your game in both the short- and long-term, while driving meaningful momentum for your organization. I know what you’re thinking: “21 days? Really? I’m too busy to add one more thing to my day!” I assure you this is worth it—read on to understand why.
Many experts argue that it takes 21 days for a habit to form, be it eating healthy, staying organized, integrating meditation, or whatever might make us better versions of our personal or professional selves. That’s three weeks of pounding the pavement, three weeks of pre-office workouts, three weeks carb-free—you get the idea. Once those 21 days are over, it’s argued that synaptic pathways have formed, and you’re more likely than not to keep going. And—bonus!—since those patterns are now used to being accessed, it’s “easier for impulses to travel along those pathways, and the behavior seems ‘natural’.” In other words, it won’t feel like the chore it did just a few weeks earlier.
This theory has become more or less popular culture, supported by self-improvement sites, podcasts, blogs, books and social communities, all pushing toward the all-important 21-day mark. The general consensus? Anything’s possible if you have three weeks and a desire to change, grow, and excel. Once those habits are “worn in to our brains,” and we’ve conditioned ourselves to be positively disposed, it’s more or less smooth sailing. Think about how this applies to today’s digital marketer. You have to be data driven, which requires a lot of discipline. You have to constantly be listening, paying attention to signals, and thinking about the next test and the next opportunity to optimize—innovate. Being successful, frankly, comes down to good habits—habits that keep your brain sharp and focused, yet open to new ideas.
If this were meditation, we’d be talking about nurturing your soul, mindfulness, and being wholly purposeful—and more or less, that’s what we’re doing here, just through the lens of digital marketing. In 2015, we’re going to see so much in the way of transformation and change—it’s everything we talked about, and to some extent, began to experience last year. But now, it’s at our doorstep in a big way, and we have to be ready to jump in with both feet. These seismic shifts—think mobile, automated personalization and Big Data, among many others—will require that same soul nurturing and commitment to mindfulness. To excel, you’ll need discipline, a desire to never take your foot off the pedal, and constant sources of fuel to power your journey—think sources like customer data findings, competition, industry best practices, colleagues, and peers.
So here’s my proposition: for 21 days, let me and my colleagues at the leading testing, personalization, and optimization firm, Brooks Bell, help you form a new habit. Every day for that period, we’ll deliver a short video that highlights some conversations between me and Brooks Bell CMO, Gregory Ng. We have a great collaboration with Brooks Bell, and I’m happy for this opportunity to share some of our thoughts—bite-size pieces of content—on everything from personalization challenges to testing best practices and the importance of mobile optimization—plus the role that organization and culture play in all of these areas. These daily doses are only your first step in making optimization a deep, connected, well-ingrained habit that will propel your business forward every day after. My hope is that this will help you create—and stick to—a new habit: daily feeding to make you a stronger marketer. Analyze your data and look at it from different angles. Come up with a new hypothesis and write down a new test idea; read an industry article (even better, set up alerts!); try something edgy, take a risk, take on something outside your comfort zone; schedule a meeting with someone in your business whose work you admire. You get the idea: get in the habit of doing something every day that will contribute to making you a better marketer.
Starting February 2 and continuing for the following twenty days (don’t worry, we’ll be nice and give you weekends off), I encourage you to take it all in—take the 21-Day Optimization Challenge. Watch the videos and join the #optimizenow conversation on Twitter (@AdobeTarget, @KevLindsay, @BrooksBellInc, @GregoryNg), but be sure to do it every day! At the end of the 21 days, you’ll have plenty to chew on as a marketing practitioner, and I hope this will be the beginning of an unparalleled journey toward creating the best habit I can think of right now. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and take those few critical moments every day to do something for you—something that pushes optimization from a “nice to have” to a hard-hitting habit once and for all. Then, when it’s done, we’ll serve as your constant reminders to keep doing for you and your business—every day, I believe, is another opportunity to find something new and unique that will help you do your job and truly shine as a marketer.
Now that’s a New Year’s resolution you can keep. So my big question is: Are you in?