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Marketers’ biggest regret of 2007 was not investing enough in understanding customers (noted by 28% of marketers surveyed), according to Next Level SMG‘s first annual “Brand Strategy Trends Survey” of marketing executives.

Execs also said new products or line extensions launched in 2007 would have the most long-term impact on their businesses, according to the survey.

Top Do-Overs for 2007

Asked what one thing about their 2007 marketing strategy they would change:

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  • 28% said they would have attempted to learn more about what motivates and influences customers.
  • 21% said they would have been less dependent on “tried and true” marketing tactics and tried more creative ways to reach their audience.
  • 17% said they would have focused more on their core business rather than attempting innovation.

Top Resolutions for 2008

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  • Some 28% said, not unexpectedly, that better understanding customers was their top New Years’ branding resolution for 2008.
  • 18% said they would take more risks with their business.
  • 16% said they would find more creative ways to reach their audience.

Innovation Still on Tap in 2008

Innovation, a top priority for marketers in 2007 (70% said they had developed or launched a new product or line extension) will remain a focus in 2008, with 64% planning to develop or launch a new product or extension.

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New marketing initiatives and new advertising campaigns are second and third, with 63% and 53%, respectively.

Much more data is available in Next Level SMG’s report (pdf).

About the survey: 82 marketing executives from an array of industries, including food, beverage, personal care, hospitality, electronics and home and building products, participated in the survey. Respondents were from companies such as Kraft, Pepsi, Dannon, Colgate, Cadbury Schweppes, Playtex, Clorox, Nokia and Starwood. Next Level SMG fielded the survey in October 2007.

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