10 resolutions marketers must make for 2013

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Resolution 9: I will stop trying so hard to control my message.

According to resolution two, you're going to give a bit more props to social media. "Props where props are due," you say. ("Big ups to my boy Twitter," you also say.) And since you now understand how thoroughly your social media audience can define your brand, you're going to stop cramming your message down people's throats. Right?

For years, we've heard the mantra, "You don't define your brand. Your customers define your brand." To some degree or another, this has always been true. (The 1985 New Coke fiasco, where loyal Coca-Cola customers went nuts when Coke had the brass big ones to mess with its own recipe, is the most common example of this phenomenon.) But in the modern world of social-media-everything, it's more true than ever. Your brand and your message are being discussed and shaped all across the far flung reaches of the internet.

Invest in some decent social media monitoring software (or at least set up some Google Alerts), and start paying attention to those conversations. Some of the better software services will identify trends for you, which can lead to revelations. For example, let's say that your toy company manufactures a Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson action figure. Good social monitoring might reveal that the toy is quite popular with wrestling and ukulele fans -- but also surprisingly popular among 36-year-old male freelance writers. Who knew? Social monitoring is often more valuable than traditional market research because the opinions are unsolicited and usually honest. You just have to know what to look for.

Resolution 10: I will use the creative side of my brain more.

You don't often hear phrases like "I have plenty of time to do all of the things that I want to do in both my personal and professional lives." Mainly because we're all busy. (And if you adhere to all the resolutions above, you just got a hell of a lot busier.) But here's the thing: We can't let ourselves get so swept up in budget meetings and analytics dashboards that we forget how to think -- really think.

When is the last time you took some time to just sit quietly and think creatively about your job and how you do it? Or even about the industry as a whole and your role in it? We get so bogged down in the minutiae of our jobs that we forget that most of us got into marketing because we're creative thinkers. So let yourself think creatively. Build time into your schedule to be inspired. If you do, I promise you're going to have a happier, healthier, and more prosperous 2013.

Drew Hubbard is a social media strategist and owner of LA Foodie.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.

"A road turning into an arrow" image via Shutterstock.