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It’s a new year (still), the perfect time for belated resolutions and soapbox pronouncements about how we could make 2012 better than any year that preceded it. Here are Agency Babylon’s in and out recommendations for marketers, including agencies and clients alike.

OUT: Faux-thentic | IN: Authentic. So much that is presented as authentic is falsely relevant or truly disingenuous. To connect with customers, clients and others you’d like to influence try seeing things from their perspectives with a bias for how it happens in their real worlds – not your bias. Then go to work crafting messages and experiences with which they’ll genuinely connect.

OUT: Blame | IN: Accountability. Inevitably, things go wrong. At least some things some of the time. Rather than turning that into an opening for recriminations and fault-finding try to leverage it for better performance. Sure, someone might have done something “wrong,” but if it wasn’t willful or fatal, park your ego and make some lemonade. Accountability is always in fashion, though, and should be both delegated with clarity and embraced with maturity.

OUT: Silos | IN: Collaboration. Silos are fiefdoms erected by egos without an organizational perspective. Collaboration is borne out of a sense service and tends to float everyone’s boat. If you’ve built a silo, then you’re not a leader and should step aside (or be made to for the good of the larger enterprise).

OUT: Sales | IN: Development. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sales or selling. Except when it’s tone-deaf relative to the needs of the customer. And when it happens absent a larger strategy and the full support of the organization. Taking aim at agencies here, that is still too often the case and that leads to bouts of blame (see above). A development mentality need not be painstakingly strategic but it should envision both short- and longer-term planning. All the better for being around when 2013 ins and outs are proclaimed.

OUT: Backward | IN: Forward. Resting on your laurels is tempting. So tempting in fact that individuals and agencies feel compelled to make their case based solely on what they did in the past. Unless you invented the wheel or harnessed fire, however, smart clients and employers are at least as interested in what you will do going forward. By all means learn from and leverage the past, but be sure to apply that to today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

OUT: Talking | IN: Listening.This one is self-evident. Realistically, you should strive for a balance here.

What do you think should be OUT and IN for marketers in 2012? Share your pairs in the comments section.

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