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Photo Credit: Jeena Paradies

Sometimes it helps to take a step back. Get a fresh start, a renewed perspective. I find especially at work this is important. It is so easy for us to get mired down in the day-to-day slog of productivity (counter-intuitive?) that without being purposeful about your higher calling as a brand marketer you may miss it all together. It's easier to see the forest for the trees and all that jazz when you actually take a step out of the woods.

This is fairly easy to do if you're just stepping in to a role. Everything is blue ocean and open fields. If you've been in your role for a while you need to be more purposeful. Take a step back and ask yourself what you would do, what would you focus on if today were day one? Knowing what you know, where would you put your energy?

In that spirit I pulled together some resources that I recommend having at the ready when you take yourself through this exercise. Perhaps you'll find a neglected part of your funnel or customer journey to optimize – or maybe the breather will give you the creativity you need to tackle an existing problem in a new way. Regardless, I hope that these at least provide some motivation and food for thought as you step forward to tackle your obstacles!

Do Good Work

Getting things going at work, for work, often starts with YOU. This is a great read for getting things done in a meaningful way particularly for those who struggle with creativity, or at least getting in their own way.

Gamestorming

Yes we all complain about meetings, but getting people together in one room to collaborate, brainstorm, workshop and yes, even play can be the single best way to actually get things done. If you do it right. Gamestorming is a fantastic book to help guide your facilitation to ensure you're getting the most out of all of your attendees and things stay productive and forward moving. Their website is also incredibly valuable but really – buy the book – nothing beats sitting down and scribbling your ideas in the margins.

Advocacy. The social currency

Trust and loyalty make the world go'round. This is nowhere more true than online. Your customers are bombarded by messaging, advertising, pitches, ads, banners…literally everywhere they go (seriously I saw an ad spray painted on the ground in the middle of a cross-walk this morning. Seriously.) The beauty of the social web is that environment becomes ever more democratic. Because of this advocacy from your customer base becomes the grease keeping those wheels in motion.

Your next challenge: Omni-channel marketing

This is an approach that is becoming commonplace in the retail marketing world, but the principles are definitely something the rest of us should be paying attention to as they are driven by customer expectations. In this day and age of "showrooming" and mobility you cannot ignore what customers are doing across all channels. Your channels themselves must be aware of what your customers are doing. Get the data flowing, get the integration moving. Let's do this!

Content Marketing Battery Power

We have known for some time now that content is king. This has been true in search engine marketing for some time and we're starting to see the same signals from social platforms that this will be the rule of law there too. So if you didn't know, you do now. Content marketing cannot be ignored. If you find yourself stagnating for ideas or ways to get your self and team started check out this great list for new tools, ideas and sources.

Storytelling vs Storydoing

If you've ever had the pleasure of seeing Wil Reynolds speak, particularly in the last couple of years, you've probably heard the concept of RCS come up. If you have, this is in a very similar vein. The idea of storytelling has taken the marketing world by storm lately. It's near buzzword status. Almost. This post addresses the difference between storytelling and storydoing. A worthy read if you're at all interested in organizational storytelling and the impact that it can have on the business.

BONUS: Variation on a theme? Sure. This TED video from Simon Sinek is a MUST watch. "How Great Leaders Inspire Action"

Designing for Customer Experience

While this is a few years old, this is a great deck. It takes you through a great workshop philosophy of getting to customer issues, problem definition and even prioritization.

Customer Journey in a Social World

A great read on rethinking your traditional customer journey in the new world of social. I like the conversation here and how it helps you to reframe some of the impacts social really has on the customer and their relationship with the company's they do business with.

A New Approach to Customer Segmentation

While customer segmentation may not be new to you, this great read from HBR on a new approach may be. While we have tended to think of our customers in cohorts based around segmentation data and persona's we've developed – authors Bayer and Taillard propose a customer problem driven approach. If you were to approach your online customer experience journey this way how many new problems could you solve for your visitors?

I know I didn't come up with all of the good ideas…what is on your reading list right now? What are your never-fails recommended reads? Lets build this list together – share in the comments to help us build the list!

Kristy Bolsinger

Kristy Bolsinger is a Senior Associate at PwC in Seattle, WA. She has previously worked at Ant's Eye View (acquired by PwC in 2012), and RealNetworks (GameHouse). Prior to her time at RealNetworks, and Ant's Eye View - Kristy was working as a Social Media Marketing Consultant and completing her MBA at Willamette University. She maintains a social media blog and can also be found on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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