Lessons learned: three ways to make your digital marketing strategy more effective in 2018

Now that we're thundering into the new year, I thought it would be helpful to quickly look in the rear-view mirror at 2017 and see what some statistics have taught us about marketing.

This article isn’t so much about ‘how to’ marketing tactics.

Instead, it looks at some research by the Content Marketing Institute — talking to business owners and marketing managers about the way they approach the ‘housekeeping’ aspect of managing their digital marketing. 

It’s only a 5-minute read, but there might be a few gems in here that will help you as you gear up to make 2018 an even more successful year.

1) Document Your Marketing Strategy (538% better chance of success)

It turns out that only 37% of businesses write stuff down, so if you have a documented marketing strategy, you are already in front of the pack.

5 step

What ‘documenting’ actually is, of course, will depend on how you approach things.

In my experience (he says, after 30 years in marketing), a marketing plan that is written once and then put on the shelf to gather dust is hardly worth the paper it is written on.

Everyone feels good about the new plan, but it soon fades to grey and life just motors on. Meh!

The best marketing plans are:

  • Well-thumbed
  • Referred-to frequently, and
  • Used as a reference point for ongoing marketing action.

To learn more about how to develop your digital marketing strategy, we recommend that you download our free resource, “The Essential Guide To Digital Marketing”.

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You’ll have your own way of doing things. But if it helps, here’s a helicopter view of what we do with our clients who are on a monthly Digital Partnership.

We have two points of reference.

Campaign calendar

Firstly, there’s the Campaign Calendar, which is the big picture plan. It looks at the Buyer Personas we are targeting and uses a red/orange/green scoring system to show where we need to focus more attention.

It is a snapshot of how things are going and where our priorities should be.

Monthly Agenda

Secondly, we have the Monthly Agenda. It is the fuel that runs the engine and ensures that we keep up momentum. It looks at: 

  1. Monthly objectives — Identifying opportunities for improvement.
  2. Monthly KPIs — Tracking how we are going.
  3. Monthly Activities/Priorities — Where the rubber meets the road and we get stuff done. 

The monthly agenda ensures that our clients know what has been done and why.

Is it important that you have a documented marketing strategy?


Research shows that documenting your marketing strategy gives you a 538% greater chance of being successful. 

2) An “audience centric” approach to your marketing strategy (242% better chance of success)

Successful marketers are 242% more likely to conduct frequent reviews of their Buyer Personas — making an effort to:

  • See life through their eyes
  • Walk in their shoes
  • Understand their problems and what they want to achieve. 

I can only begin to stress the importance of this. 

Good content will attract an audience — that’s why everyone uses it, right?

But you don’t need just any audience. You need the right one. You need to attract potential buyers.

To attract the right people, you need to know how they tick. That way, you can give them what they are looking for – and the first step in this process is to define your Buyer Personas.

A Buyer Persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer, based on market research and real data about your existing customers.

know your picture

When creating your Buyer Persona(s), you need to make them as real as you can. Bring them to life. Give them a name. 

  • If you are targeting warehouse managers who need safe storage equipment, call him Wally Warehouse.
  • If you are targeting someone who has lost a tooth and needs a dentist, call her Martha Missingtooth. 

When you define your Buyer Personas, be sure to include customer demographics, behaviour patterns, motivations, and goals in your thinking. 

To understand your Buyer Personas, at the very least you will have to answer these four questions: 

  1. Who are they?
  2. What are the problems they have that you can help them with?
  3. What do they know or not know about your solution? (Where are they in their Buyer’s Journey?)
  4. What can you give them that will win their confidence and nurture your relationship?

There’s more to it of course.

The more you dig in to a Buyer Persona and understand what makes them tick, the more opportunities you’ll identify.

To learn more about how to develop Buyer Personas for your business, we recommend that you download our free resource, “Turning Prospects Into People: 

Want to be heard? Take the time to listen!

The main point here is to make sure that you put your Buyer Personas FIRST in your thinking. 

As with your marketing strategy documentation, you don’t want to define your Buyer Personas and then leave the paperwork sitting on the shelf gathering dust. Review them frequently to make sure you are keeping them top-of-mind. 

At Crockford Carlisle, we review our clients’ Buyer Personas on a quarterly basis, to make sure that:

  1. a) They are kept up-to-date with new insights about the way they tick.
  2. b) We stay ‘grounded’ and focussed on what is really important — their dreams, problems and challenges. 

If you are not taking an ‘audience centric’ approach to your marketing, you might want to set some time aside to work on this before too much of 2018 slips away. 

As we said above, marketers who place a great deal of importance on understanding and reviewing their Buyer Personas have a 242% higher chance of success! 

3) Process Documentation Improves Marketing Success (466% better chance of success)

It turns out that marketers who document their marketing processes have a 466% higher chance of reporting successful campaigns. 

This is similar to documenting your overall marketing strategy (covered in point one), but drilling down to the actual processes to get stuff done.

Documenting your workflow or processes gives everything structure and improves your execution. It is well worth doing, if for no other reason than it reduces the time-suck of:

  • Lost documents and assets
  • Mistakes
  • Re-doing things
  • Missing deadlines, and
  • Generally having people chase their tails.

process documentation

No matter whether you do this on a piece of paper, or with a tool such as Way We Do (which is fantastic Standard Operating Procedures software), documenting your marketing processes will give your team an important reference to rely on whenever they are getting things done. 

One of the essentials of workflow documentation is organising your content. It needs to be stored in one place where everyone can access it, clearly labelled and tracked for easy reference. 

Figuring out the folder structure and labelling isn’t necessarily easy. It needs some thinking about, especially if you have a team with different needs.

The objective is to have everything is in a logical place so that everyone involved will know: 

  • What to do with the content
  • Where it goes
  • Who has made changes, and
  • When and where it has been published.

And to wrap it up…

These statistics are interesting, in that they are mostly about ‘housekeeping’… all the boring stuff that doesn’t seem to be important but turns out to be crucial.

I know from my own experience (as a person who isn’t drawn to doing this stuff and will put it off if possible), that the gains cannot be overstated. The effort required to document plans, systems and processes properly pays and pays over time.

We found long ago that with the groundwork in place and loose ends tied up, the team at Crockford Carlisle can focus on the job of generating qualified leads.  Work can be done quickly and efficiently, thus saving time for our clients and enabling us to produce an even higher ROI.

I’m sure it will make a difference at your place, and I encourage you to put these foundations in place now, so you are on a good footing for a successful year.

Want some help to improve your digital marketing strategy?

Want to kick some goals in 2018? Then right now is a good time to talk to someone about what, where, how and why. 

Our call won’t be an agency ‘sales pitch’. Life’s too short.

It’s much more rewarding to:

  • Roll up our sleeves
  • Talk about your objectives
  • Look at your current digital marketing strategy
  • Explore your competitors’ digital footprint, and
  • See what you need to do to gain a competitive advantage.

Please call us on (07) 3891 3800.

If we think we can help, we’ll say so — and give you a proposal so you can see if you feel comfortable with our approach. 

And yes, although we are based in Brisbane, we have clients all over Australia, so it doesn’t matter where you are. If you have potential buyers you want to reach, we can help your sales team to reach them!

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