As 2018 is the first year of business for Bern Digital, I want to get things started properly. Last week I decided to sit down and think about three marketing concepts that I want to apply in my own business and as I deliver work for partners.

My goal was not to set three measurable and achievable milestones to aim for, such as acquiring five new leads through my website, because I want to avoid being too focused on tactics. At the same time, I also didn’t want to reach for something so unrealistic that it doesn’t make sense, like integrating a VR component into every marketing campaign.

This led me to three concepts that I believe are mature enough to be applied to a wide variety of businesses, can help to differentiate my partners from their competitors, and will lead to long term growth. Here’s what I came up with…

1. Create More Personalized Experiences

The beauty of modern marketing platforms is that we have the ability to collect all sorts of data. Collecting this data is only half the battle, though. Whether it’s purchase data, web behavior data, customer information, or otherwise, the data can be used to increase conversion rates and create stronger relationships with customers. In 2018 I’m going to commit to helping my partners use the data at their disposal to create unique experiences for as many customers as possible.

2. Acquire Customers, Not Sales

Too often I see marketing strategies that are focused on picking off sales instead of building relationships. This often leads to expensive, unprofitable campaigns that may drive significant revenue, but the relationship will always be transactional.

The challenge with this approach is that it takes patience. Establishing a relationship with customers requires multiple touch points across a number of channels to prove that you can offer intrinsic value. But, if nurtured properly, a deep connection with 100 customers will be far more profitable than a transactional relationship with 1000 in the long run. In 2018, I’ll be focused on creating an emotional connection with customers beyond products or services.

3. Focus on ROI Over All Else

Being the best partner to my clients means helping them grow their businesses profitably, and the best way to do this is to shift the conversation about performance back to ROI. The customer journey is getting more complex as the consumer-brand relationship stretches from the real world across a multitude of digital platforms. That landscape requires a carefully calculated approach to determine campaign profitability. In 2018 I am going to work with my partners to create a comprehensive view of their marketing efforts to better evaluate campaigns and prove measurable ROI.

As you look to 2018, what are you focused on? How are you going to grow your business? I’d love to hear about what you’re working on for this year, so hit me up on Twitter @MathewBernstein or @BernDigital.