Six Ways to Get Left Behind In 2016

So you want to get left behind in 2016, huh? Winning deals and leading from the front takes too much energy—I get it. I can understand if you need this year to catch your breath. For those of you who need to stop to smell the roses, here are some things to avoid in this new year, so you can do just that.

1. Not embracing multiple content forms.

To blog or not to blog, that is no longer the question. 2016, I predict, will be the year that podcasting goes mainstream – as in, your mom and dad will want to do it. Companies who don't embrace video will fade into the background and one's who do will enjoy a decisive, albeit momentary advantage in generating new business. Additionally, new tools will empower the "creatively disinclined" to divorce their Creative Cloud Counterparts and try their hands at doing it themselves. All you need to do to experience a mediocre year is keep doing when you've been doing.

2. Shunning social media advertising.

Make no mistake, we're still in the gold-rush period of Social Media Advertising. Social media advertising, particularly on Facebook, is at the point in its progression where all of the juicy niches haven't been scoped out–yet. There's still ample unexplored opportunity out there and the expert prospectors are already staking claims on their territory. To ensure a mediocre year, do nothing.

3. Too much focus on features, price and overhead.

In other words, do you care more about your cost-per-acquisition and shipping on that new product feature or do you care more about revenue and profits? As the global economy continues to worsen, peoples' natural inclination is to tighten their budgets and spend less on marketing. I'm biased, but this is a serious mistake and I'll tell you why: When industries cut costs companies increasingly do battle on the clearly-marked boundaries of that marketplace: Features, price and overhead. Why is this a losing proposition? Because all the players operating in that space will concede their unique advantages and revert to duking it out with the weapons that they have in common: features, price and overhead. It's like bring a gun to a gun-fight, instead of a bazooka. To ensure a heated battle in the bloody red ocean of competition, focus on features, price and overhead.

4. Under-leveraging content by ignoring distribution and promotion. 

Doing so is tantamount to having a child and never exposing it to the outside world. A life lived in secret is a life never lived. Content is no longer the products of its authors, but of its audiences. If you're already producing content then you need to give it extra love and attention in 2016 by introducing it to a variety of audiences and interesting new contexts. If you're still planning on letting your competition pull out ahead of you this year, lock your content in a deep, dark drawer and read your competition's instead.

5. Not automating at least some of your marketing.

Companies with a winning mindset will continue looking for ways to get the work of 10 men for the price of one. We are entering an era of intense automation across professions and industries. No trade will escape untouched. Yet, for those of you planning on being left behind this year, it will be a sultry uphill battle to steal incremental mindshare and market share from better entrenched, better provisioned competitors who have mastered the basic economics of their businesses. Enjoy your retirement while it lasts.

6. Being a brand wallflower.

Nowadays attention is the most valuable asset. If you don't know how to get it, then sooner or later you'll have to be willing to pay for it. Everybody else is. In the new economy everything, including attention, will be monetized, commoditized and actively traded. Even wallflowers. You might as well get your head in the game and take 2016 head-on.