The world of marketing is filled with a lot of jargon. A lot of acronyms. A lot of buzzy words that don’t necessarily mean anything. It’s easy to get lost in this sea of jibberish and lose track of what everyone is talking about. However, some words are more important, and in my opinion there is one word that encapsulates the new reality for marketers as we’re on the verge of 2014: Pivot.

Pivot is defined in Webster’s Dictionary as “the action of turning around a point.” Think of a pole in the ground; you’re charging hard in one direction, put out your hand to grab the pole and then swing around the pole to propel yourself in a new direction. In business terms, the point around which a turn is made is typically an event; something happens, and rather than crash into a wall that has suddenly emerged the business pivots in a new direction, using the event to generate momentum in a new direction. Pivot has been defined for business as a “change in strategy without a change in vision.”

Marketers in 2014 will have to have more agility than ever before. You’ll have to keep your ear to the ground and your finger in the wind to be able to cut on a dime and move in a new direction. Think of the changes Google has made to its algorithms. Think of the decline of legacy media. Think of the social media networks that pop up like weeds.

Consider that Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn are cooking up new ideas you don’t know about yet. Bet the house – there will be change in 2014.

We’re already seeing pivots occur across numerous marketing disciplines.

If you’re an SEO firm or professional, your world changed a lot the last 12 months. Smart search pros are pivoting their businesses away from linkbuilding and enhancing their offerings with services such as content creation, analytics, or even something Website Magazine dubbed DPR, which is Digital Public Relations, i.e. the exact kind of bylined article placement PR firms have been doing for decades (remember what I  said above about jargon and acronyms?).

If you work in public relations, you’re pivoting away from media relations because the media is losing its juice and clients want something new.

If you work in digital advertising, dear God, I hope you’re pivoting away from banner and pop-up ads.

If you’re a CMO, you’re setting your strategy for the year ahead, but you surely know that you need to be ready to dump your plan midway through the year to address whatever shift is surely coming down the pike.

As Jim Collins wrote in Good to Great, “Plans are useless but planning is priceless.”

And as Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson wrote in Rework, “planning is guessing.”

Planning is still something you have to do… just don’t fall in love with it. Know that it is temporary. You need to be ready to jump to a new strategy or tactic. The key is to be able to do it at the right moment. You don’t want to go chasing every new thing that comes along. That makes intellectual agility critical – to succeed you need to be able to change direction when your context changes, and that means be willing to leave behind the old plan. That can be the hardest part of a strategy switch – leaving behind old tactics.

However, it might just be the most important job requirement in marketing today. You’re going to need to pivot your strategy at some time in 2014. Will you be able to?