We’re getting ready to wrap up 2015 and start anew in just a few weeks, which makes this the perfect time to think about setting some personal goals for 2016. The economy is steadily improving, and for many (myself included) this is the best it’s been since we entered the workforce. This means there are a lot of opportunities to excel at your marketing job. It also means that you’ve got to try harder to keep up with the changes.  

Here’s our advice on how not to fail at your marketing job in 2016.

Stop talking and start listening to your clients and your colleagues
Do you listen to people? Or do you wait to talk? There’s a great chance you work with some pretty intelligent people who have expertise in some craft, whether they’re marketing colleagues or clients who are specialists in their fields. To excel at your job, listen – genuinely listen – to their problems or their advice before offering your own opinion. By focusing on what others are saying you’ll better understand the problem and how you can solve it.

Read a new blog and a new book
I can’t stress this one enough: If you want to stay at the top of your game, you have to read. Read the news. Or trade publications. Or blogs. Or books. Read everything and do it daily. No matter your role in marketing, rest assured, there is a blog about it. Find that blog, and then find a few more that also focus on your discipline. You should also find a book or blog about the types of marketing you don’t normally practice and read those, too. Your job is to be an expert at some type of marketing. Being informed about how the industry is changing will help you be a better consultant to your clients and colleagues. (Hey, speaking of blogs, subscribe to ours!)

Form your own opinions about what you read every day
Reading should not be a passive exercise. If you read an opinion piece about how print is dead, for example, and you disagree, do something about it. Forming your own opinions about your specific discipline will keep you more engaged in what you’re doing every day, which can only lead to better focus and better results in your job. At Scribewise, we constantly read what’s happening in the ever-expanding world of content marketing. Forming opinions about what’s going on in our industry helps us shape the services we offer and how we interact with clients.

Try a new tool to expand your skillset
In digital marketing there is no shortage of tools to help you do your job better – Chief MarTech’s annual Marketing Landscape supergraphic is proof. Make time to learn one of these news tools in 2016. Whether it’s understanding how HootSuite or Buffer can help you increase social engagement, teaching yourself some basic HTML so you can tweak emails or parts of your blog without asking a developer, or figuring out how marketing automation works – all of these new skills will help you stay competitive, stay sharp, and even boost your personal brand.

The key to not failing next year is to stay engaged in what you’re doing. You’ll see success in 2016, and you just might learn a few things.