Marketing Strategy

Our Agency’s 17 Marketing Lessons from 2017

By January 18, 2018April 5th, 2019No Comments

Marketing Lessons from Clarity QuestSome of my favorite aspects of working at a marketing agency are the continuous opportunities to encounter new ideas and learn new skills. Our team recently got together to share the top lessons we’ve learned this year from our client work and our internal company improvement projects.

Here are our 17 marketing lessons from 2017:

1) Focus on the Metrics That Matter

Your new banner ad campaign served 10,000 impressions and got a 1% CTR? So what!? If the campaign brought in $5,000 in direct order completions and led to 30 newsletters signups, THAT’S where you need to focus. If you can’t tie a marketing program to substantial revenue contributions or business goals, then strongly reconsider your spend on the program. Don’t get caught up in vanity metrics.

2) Don’t Pursue Every Lead

While it can be tempting to jump head first into every new project that comes your way, take a step back before bringing on a new customer. Evaluate your internal resources, consider your fit, and get to know the prospect’s team and culture. Consider the following questions:
  • Can you devote enough time and attention to ensure you deliver quality results?
  • Is this prospect in our company’s wheelhouse – can we really help them?
  • Are they ready to undertake this project internally?

It’s okay to turn down work or to delay the project start until your team is better equipped. You’ll notice better outcomes and more satisfied customers because of it.

3) The Art of Persuasion Is Alive and Well

Marketing teams have long known that turning a negative into a positive is a tried-and-true tool. What we’ve learned across all communication channels (and from politics to social gatherings) is persuasion – giving someone a reason to believe you – really works. People have an innate desire to trust then verify. In marketing, give your audience news they can use and a persuasive reason to believe, and they’ll open your email, download your case study or reach out to connect with you.

4) Engage With Social Media 

Sometimes the best place to reach your audience and prospects is on social media. While face-to-face interactions are still wonderful and needed, everyone that is influential is online and most likely so are the business leaders you want to connect with. A strong online presence is key; you can have so many more interactions and introductions that way.

Think your company’s Twitter feed or Facebook posts alone are going to drive engagement? Nope. You have to make an effort to spark interesting and meaningful conversations. Engagement will become even more critical this year as audience behaviors change and app-based experience at home and in the workplace gain popularity.

5) The Generation Zers Are Coming!

Move over millennials, Gen Zers (born 1995-1998) are entering the workforce at the same that Millennials are moving into leadership roles. In the U.S., the age with the largest population is 26-year-olds! These decision-makers think differently from their baby-boomer parents and so will their younger siblings from Gen Z. If marketers understand how to work with the next generation, their companies will benefit from it.

Keep in mind that for Gen Z, every phone has been smart. And speaking directly to these individuals will require a different set of cultural references, (hint: they don’t know what the “Borg” is.) Gen Zers are likely more familiar with YouTubers, podcasters, and Instagram influencers than they are with traditional Hollywood icons.

6) Voice and Video Are on the Rise

Want to get your message across clearly? Add video and voice as another delivery mechanism. From Alexa to Siri (and everything in-between), the fastest growing social connection is through video. If it’s not already on your list for 2018, make sure you add it.

7) Marketing Department Audits Are Becoming More Mainstream

Why audit? Whether you have a marketing budget of $50K or $50M, you can benefit from a structured audit process. Reviewing your marketing department’s goals, campaigns, budget and resources on a scheduled basis can significantly improve your company’s performance.

8) Personalization in Marketing Continues to Evolve

We didn’t see personalization grow as quickly as we thought it would in B2B marketing last year. However, we expect to see broader use of this technique in 2018.

Our clients are beginning to feel more comfortable trying personalization in individual and collective forms such as email campaigns and marketing automation. Catered content gives the user identity and inflicts an emotional response that they’re unique. Check out Demand Base for a great example of both web copy and content personalization.

9) Page Speed Is Becoming a Major Ranking Factor for SEO

The ever-growing mobile crowd expects pages to load quickly.  To meet this need, Google wants to reward websites that deliver seamless consumer experiences. Large hero images and videos look great, but will significantly slow a website down. We expect to see the usage of these types of hero graphics decrease in 2018.

In addition, illustrations look great and can compress to much smaller file sizes than photographic images. To reduce the use of images, anything that can be done with CSS should always be done with CSS.

10) Keep Small Screens in Mind When Designing Logos

An excellent logo has always needed to be simple, but now it must be something that is identifiable on tiny screens. These new forms are called “responsive logos.” For example, sticky headers (smaller navigation that stays on screen as the user scrolls), icons on smartwatches and favicons use small logo sizes.

11) A Blog Series Is a Content Anchor

Having a weekly series on your blog is a great way to stay in touch with your audience on a consistent basis. A blog series with a specific theme and publishing schedule lets your fans know what type of content to expect and when they’ll hear from you next. Dividing a complex industry topic into a 4-part series is one way to demonstrate a high-level of subject matter expertise for your company. Customer Q&A posts are also some of our favorites!

12) Use a Combined Social Media & Blog Calendar

This year we abandoned our outdated spreadsheet system and adopted a digital calendar for our blog and social media management. Our team now uses the CoSchedule app to access a digital calendar where we can make universal changes to our company publishing schedule in real-time. Adopting this tool helped our team streamline our social media marketing efforts, save time, and eliminate other more bulky tech tools.

13) Regularly Document Your Content Processes

Document your processes for writing blog posts, creating newsletters, and running social campaigns. While it may take a few hours to get this mapped out, it will make onboarding new employees much quicker and smoother. Record your favorite industry resources, formatting tips, imagery suggestions, and key login information on one unified document. You may be surprised at how many steps are involved just to create a small piece of content! Set aside a few minutes every month to skim through and update your process docs. Also, make sure you have an organized system for sharing these documents company-wide.

14) It’s All About Accounts 

Salespeople do not speak about how many leads they closed.  They tout how many ACCOUNTS they’ve closed.  In 2018, we expect that marketing will get more aligned with this philosophy using ABM methods.

15) SEO Is Still Valuable

SEO is not the shiny new kid on the block anymore, but SEO rankings continue to lead inbound campaigns regarding volume and lead quality. Don’t neglect your SEO efforts this year.

16) Your Audience Is Talking. Are You Listening?

Monitoring your media channels may seem like an obvious task to perform, but not everyone does it. Or if they do, they may not take it a step further by seeing what lessons they can take away from social media conversations. You can learn a lot about your clients, your competition, what is relevant, what info people want, and much more if you actually analyze your accounts!

17) Get Your Creative Team Involved Early

This year we plan to get our creative team involved earlier in client engagements. When your creative team has a full understanding of a client’s goals and the objectives of a specific project, they are better equipped to make creative strategic decisions.

Marketing in 2018

Watch our blog this year for more posts covering these topics!

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Brian Shilling

Author Brian Shilling

Brian is a Branding & Digital Marketing Director with experience leading diverse teams of marketers and designers in strategic marketing, content creation, and crafting comprehensive messaging and positioning platforms for our healthcare and tech clients. To learn more about Brian's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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