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As the year draws to a close, it is time to reflect on 2011 and determine the course of action for 2012. Or so, this is what is believed. In fact, even brands, companies, businesses (whatever label you’d like to give them) spend some time at this time of year determining what they’ll do for the next. Even if your fiscal year end doesn’t actually close on December 31st, this is the time to consider what happens next.

Now I won’t downplay the tradition of a good New Year’s resolution, but I will suggest that it is not (or at least, should not) be the paradigm shifting, earth shattering, groundbreaking “thing” that some people believe it is. Going back to the first post of 2011, you’ll recall the introduction to Simon Sinek’s book: Start with Why.

The whole premise behind the concept of “Start with Why” revolves around understanding the deep root of everything you do. Not WHAT you do, but WHY you do it. Why do you wake up in the morning? What do you believe in? What makes you tick? What do you stand for? The difficulty in understanding these answers is two-fold:

  1. These questions conjure up emotions, which most of us know, are incredibly difficult to genuinely express in words; and,
  2. The honest answers to these questions inevitably turn some people away from you, which is hard to accept as a human being.

However, the reality is that taking the time to find the real answers behind those questions actually makes us happier and more productive.

As a collective: a brand, a business, a product team – taking the time to answer these same question with respect to whatever entity you are in charge of also makes for a happier, more productive (and very likely more lucrative) outcome. It ensures that each member of the team is rowing in the same direction and it ensures that focus is placed squarely on those consumers who matter.

Consumers who matter? What? All consumers matter, right? I respectfully disagree. The consumers that matter are the ones who believe in what you believe in and who respect (and support) what you stand for. Why does this make them matter more than other consumers? Those consumers are the ones who are more likely to understand some business decisions. They are the ones who aren’t looking for discounts, but are looking for value and integrity. They are the ones who are more likely to forgive you in difficult times. And, they are the ones who will promote you to all their friends… and throughout all their social networks. Now that’s real reach and a real opportunity for influence.

So, back to the concept of the New Year’s resolution… As a marketer, let me suggest two options:

  1. If you haven’t yet sorted out your WHY, start there. Make 2012 the year where you can articulate what you stand for, and start building the roadmap to showcase how you do it.
  2. If you know what your WHY is, then focus your efforts in 2012 on really connecting with those consumers who matter most. After all, without the most valuable consumers, you are not in business (for long).

What will I do for 2012? Well, I’ll continue to develop this blog and the ideas that emerge from it. I consistently believe that businesses can genuinely make a difference in this world we live in – from greening our planet to helping the homeless to promoting education to creating jobs to supporting innovation and advancement across the world.

In the end, I still believe we are on the cusp of a marketing revolution. And that the true marketing revolution will elevate the role of the business from making money to satisfying consumer needs and desires to making genuine contributions in their communities (local, national and global).

On that note, I wish each and everyone of you the best for 2012. Thank you for reading the Lemontwist, and I look forward to more discussions in the year ahead.