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Applying Lessons Learned From Your 2017 Marketing Efforts
  • 15 January 2018
  • Daniel Vahab

Applying Lessons Learned From Your 2017 Marketing Efforts

Now that 2018 is well underway, it’s the perfect time to evaluate the key lessons you learned from your marketing efforts last year. It’s a valuable skill to be able to learn from your past mistakes so that you don’t repeat them. On the flip side, if you don’t take away some best practices from your successes, you won’t be able to replicate those.


Evaluate both the qualitative and quantitative data

When it comes time to evaluate the success of your marketing efforts, start by looking at how well your business performed against your key performance indicators (KPIs). The numbers won’t lie. Look at areas like cost per customer acquisition, number of customer transactions, business operating expenses (i.e., cars, computers, and office space), and the cost of marketing technology resources—and make sure to consider the return on investment (ROI) for each.

At the same time, also want to go beyond just the numbers. Ask key stakeholders—including customers, vendors, and colleagues—what they perceive as your wins and losses in 2017. Conduct interviews and send out different surveys so that you can collect anecdotal information from these groups. Ask open-ended or multiple choice questions using free or affordable, user-friendly tools like Constant Contact or Twitter Polls.

Learn from others

Learn from the wins and losses of other companies. Consider what other businesses are doing—especially direct competitors within your industry. Have you heard people mention a recent commercial or ad they recently saw for “X” company?

Check out websites and follow different companies on social media. Read through reviews that customers are leaving online and look for any trends that you can glean. Maybe there’s a new product or menu item that’s getting a lot of positive feedback, or something specific that multiple people ask for.

If you need a little extra inspiration, look to what large companies like Netflix and Amazon are doing to get the word out about their latest products and services. While you’ll likely have to scale your efforts to align with your budget, you can find a way to apply the basic ideas—such as investing in original content—to your own business model.

Many big companies today use predictive analytics to really tailor their marketing and customer communications. Think about Netflix, and how they’re able to enhance the overall user experience by using viewing data (e.g., what you watch, when you typically watch, for how long, etc.) to predict and tailor personalized recommendations. Ask yourself how you might be able to use your own customer data to adapt and improve your future marketing efforts.

There are tools available like Marketo that allow you to recommend and customize content for users based on their interactions across your website, mobile app, and emails—helping keep your audience engaged.

Diversify your methods

When analyzing your 2017 marketing efforts, consider whether or not you need to further diversify your outreach strategy. By leveraging various marketing methods and tactics, you can increase the chances that one really takes off. You might invest in content marketing or begin investing more time and effort behind your social media channels. Perhaps you go after tactics to turn new website visitors into buying customers. Or, with tools like Constant Contact, you can automatically send out promotional messages to specific contact lists.

As you develop your marketing plan for this year, keep in mind that any business—even successful ones—can and should always be looking for ways to improve. It does take time, effort, and resources in order to test out new processes and tactics. But by looking at what worked (and what flopped) in 2017, you’ll be well-equipped to identify a few specific strategies to help you grow your business in 2018.

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