Screen Shot 2015-12-28 at 8.27.57 AMWill your marketing stand the test of time? Some of the most amazing things my clients achieved this year, not only made a huge impact on their long-term businesses, but are remarkably easy to replicate. All you have to do is make them a priority.

#1. Found their voice.  I had so much fun helping this client find their voice. They were a successful, growing business with big ambitions for the future. Yet, their big ideas got lost in talking about their product, their company and even their customers. With some coaxing we conducted a writing workshop for their subject matter experts and the results were measurable. Not only did the volume of content created increase but thought leadership took center stage.

#2. Got to know their buyers, intimately. Most businesses think they know their clients. In some ways they usually do. They know how they interact with their products. They know how many support calls they get, and how quickly they are resolved. They even know the average number of times sales reaches out before the first meeting is secured. This client knew they needed more. They needed to understand their community outside the context of their particular product. Using both qualitative and quantitative research techniques this organization set out on a mission. What they learned became the center of their decision-making not only in marketing, but across the business.

#3. Ate at least 22 pounds of chocolate. For those who have attended my workshops you know the Italian hostess in me comes out during the inevitable dip in afternoon energy. After all, the people participating in these workshops understand their value, but putting aside the day-to-day fires to focus on the future isn’t always easy. Together, we eat a lot of chocolate! That alone is worth celebrating; but what it stands for is even more important. Each and every workshop attendee took the time to put aside their day-to-day and take a step closer to their strategic vision. Chocolate aside, making the time for the critical by putting aside the important is never easy and should be recognized.

#4. Brought together an online vision. For this established, decades old business, change is not easy. Tried and true practices came in conflict with changing buying trends. To put aside the internal debate this organization turned research into a facilitation tool bringing together opposing sides to create a shared vision for moving forward online and making investment decisions that will stand the test of time.

#5. Enrolled hundreds of users in less than 8 weeks. Bold moves have big consequences. By making a dramatic entry to market this client made a risky choice but one that has led to hundreds of new customer interactions from which they are learning and growing.

#6. Published content that doubled email conversion rates from previous campaigns. For established businesses doing something different is not always natural. This client changed the type of offers they made in email nurturing campaigns by turning the focus away from their products and onto their buyers. The conversion rates to marketing qualified leads speaks for itself.

#7. Screwed up, and learned from their mistakes.  We all make mistakes. Say it with me…we all make mistakes! If you aren’t making any, you aren’t trying hard enough. What matters is not that mistakes got made, but how you react when they do.  Do you hold debrief meetings and focus on areas of improvement? Do you take the team out for an early happy hour to drown your sorrows? Do you identify the source of the problem and have a private chat making it clear this mistake will never happen again? While none of the above are right or wrong, I have seen one client turn mistakes into mission validating momentum by doing none of the above. Instead, every week at their status meetings each person talks about something they learned the week before.  Rather than pointing out what they did wrong, they focus on what they learned. Such a simple shift in perspective isn’t it? But I promise you it helped turn an organization that suffered a mean case of  finger-pointing, blame game into a collaborative environment focused on achievement.

#8. Celebrated financial success across the business. On the surface this sounds like a no brainer. The company meets revenue goals, we celebrate! But behind the scenes this was a complex achievement months in the making. Historically, sales took credit when things went well, and marketing took blame when goals were not met. It was an unhealthy tug of war between the groups. By redesigning shared goals, and instituting more collaborative planning marketing became a buyer expert right alongside sales. Not only did the company hit revenue goals, but the entire business felt a part of the process and sales proudly shared credit with the organization as a whole, including marketing.

Never underestimate the power of passion. Cheers to an even more amazing 2016!