If you want to get better at marketing, turn to the experts for sage advice. I talked to my network of marketers, writers, and branding pros to see what tips they had for you to be uber productive in your marketing this year. Check out these great marketing quotes from those in the know. Sometimes Old School is Best With all the digital marketing tools and tricks out there, sometimes a blast from the past — good old-fashioned networking — can get you better results and help you stand out in the crowd. Michael Green, branded content marketer and keynote speaker, stresses the importance of offline efforts: “Do not underestimate the power of old-school marketing. Sometimes it’s just good manners. Do not underestimate the power of a postage stamp and handwritten letter. Decades ago, it was expected. Now it’s unexpected and it cuts through the clutter.” Take it in Bite-Sized Chunks Brenda Stoltz, Founding Partner of Ariad Partners, suggests breaking your year up into manageable periods so you can get a handle on what needs doing: “I recommend looking at the year and breaking it up into quarters. For each quarter decide what you’re going to focus on – maybe it’s a promotion of a certain product for quarter one, or a topic around a service you deliver. Then, break out the pieces of content for each month in that quarter. This will also help ensure you’re telling a compelling story across time and building on what you’ve done in the past.” She also stresses the importance of planning your content: “If you only do one thing, create your content calendar and plan out your content including blogs, PR, whitepapers, etc. Don’t forget to consider any trade shows or holiday content needs. This helps you prioritize and know what needs to be done each month, in advance.” Themes: Not Just for Parties Ivana Taylor, Founder of DIYMarketers.com, says that having a theme for all marketing efforts can give you a bullseye to aim for. “Have a THEME for your year and use it to drive your conference marketing, editorial calendar, blog posts, etc. This saves time, money and brainstorming for the year. You’ll save on design costs, content creation time and money while reinforcing your brand in the mind of the customer. Launch your theme when you start promoting your participation in your industry’s primary conference or trade show; like a Consumer Electronics Show for example.” Working Ahead is Smart Rather than churn your wheels every time you need to create content or work on your marketing, Kimberly Crossland of The Savvy Copywriter says working in advance can reduce stress and make you more productive: “To be productive in marketing, automation and delegation are the name of the game. Queue up what you can in advance to clear it off your plate. Delegate what you can’t automate so you’re not left wasting valuable time on smaller tasks. Use these strategies to get out ahead and free up time to devote to creative work. You’ll feel refreshed, inspired and of course – more productive overall.” Be Fearless and Don’t be Afraid to Experiment Marketing strategy is important, but equally important is the ability to adjust and adapt to get to that sweet spot that really works. Take it from Loretta Jones, VP of Marketing at Insightly CRM: “The foundation for creating and maintaining a powerful marketing program for the long term requires a certain degree of fearlessness and the willingness to experiment. This is important for a couple of reasons. One, it makes marketing efforts more interesting, and there is always something new to be learned. Second, it’s a great reality check because sometimes what you think might be a bulletproof hypothesis will be proven wrong through experimentation. Intelligent and creative marketing, at its core, is a culmination of experiences and you can’t continue to build on those experiences if you aren’t willing to try, succeed, and sometimes fail at new things.” Start Listening on Social Media If you don’t know what people are talking about on social media, this is the year you start paying attention. Brandon Andersen, Director of Marketing for Cision, says: “Social media listening is marketing’s ‘Moneyball’ tactic. Marketers find it overwhelmingly effective…the ones who use it anyway. Only 37 percent of marketers actively practice social listening, but they drive bigger results through a better understanding of their prospects, customers, competitors, influencers and employees. Don’t wait until social listening goes mainstream. Get a step ahead of competitors, invest in the technology and reap the benefits of social media listening in 2016. It’s marketing’s future.” Embrace Live Streaming Make 2016 the year you try new marketing tactics. Blogger Ileane Smith encourages other marketers to try one of the hottest marketing tools: live streaming. “For years I’ve encouraged my blogging friends to start podcasting and uploading videos to YouTube. I’m so glad many of them took my advice because now they are so much more prepared for the change that is coming. Live streaming is going to dominate the marketing landscape going forward and there are so many new and exciting tools we can use to integrate live streams into our marketing mix. “Explore platforms like Blab.im, Periscope, or use Facebook’s live streaming option. Then you can take your premium content from those platforms and repurpose it on YouTube or as an episode of your podcast. Live streaming directly on YouTube is getting easier too, thanks to a new iPhone app called Wirecast Go Live Stream from iPhone to YouTube with Wirecast Go.” [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0GlUkxcVNo[/youtube] Up Your Email Marketing Game It can be challenging to know which marketing tools will actually be effective, but one stands tried and true, says Angela Noble of Kovalent. “Email marketing has the highest return on investment of any marketing tactic. You can repurpose content from your blog posts and social media campaigns, and send targeted content to customers, leads, and other subscriber segments.” You Can Never Have Too Much Content I’ll close this article with one of my own tips. Obviously I’m a huge proponent of content; it’s what I produce for a living. Too many brands overlook it in favor of flashier marketing efforts, like the latest social media tool. But people will always need answers to their questions and solutions to their problems, and you can deliver those through well-written content. So: know your audience and what issues they have that you know how to solve. Create content, but diversify it, to attract people to your website. Choose quality over quantity, but do get into a regular cadence of delivering content so your audience knows when to expect it. Images: ”Quote text bubble. 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