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    Nobody understands your business and your customers better than you

    All the good intentions aside, simply hiring an agency won’t help you grow and innovate if you don’t have a clear vision of what you’re after. Know your specific goals, KPIs, past performance and target audiences before you search for a digital marketing agency. This information will also help you measure meaningful results and learn from past mistakes.

    So, what goes into a good plan?


    It may sound like a simple-enough task, but goal-setting for CMO’s is somewhat of an artform. It requires practice, constant refinement, and patience to ensure goals are challenging yet still achievable.

    A good place to start is by answering this question:

    What is the principle objective you want your digital marketing efforts to achieve (for example, perhaps you want to position your company as the go-to online provider for roofing materials throughout the Midwest)?

    Does the answer align with your company’s overall vision? This is your primary goal.

    If you found yourself dawdling and not able to contain your answer to a single statement, then try building primary and secondary objectives. Being specific and thorough here will help you setup focused metrics that directly inform marketing, strategy, and UX down the road.

    SMART Marketing Goals

    One (really) popular technique for creating marketing goals is the SMART mnemonic acronym:

    • Specific – Is the wording specific enough to pinpoint problems or opportunities? Is the objective sufficiently detailed to measure real-world problems and opportunities?
    • Measurable – Can a quantitative or qualitative attribute be applied to create a metric?
    • Actionable – Can the information be used to improve performance?
    • Relevant – Is the goal tied to a major business objective or a problem faced by the marketer?
    • Time-bound – Can objectives be set for different time periods as targets to review against?
    “I always start with my end goal, and work backwards. Where do I ultimately want to be? What do I want to be doing? And why does it matter? Then I evaluate the tasks and skills I’ll need to reach that goal and their priority. By deciding what needs to be focused on first, second, etc., I essentially create a roadmap for reaching the goal I’ve set.”
    Kathryn Aragon, award-winning copywriter, content marketer, consultant.


    Goals are not KPIs. While you certainly want your KPIs linked to your company’s objectives (e.g., increase profits by 30 percent) the KPIs are about measuring the sales process and help you see the bigger picture to more effectively evaluate how your strategies are working.

    Be specific and realistic with these metrics and be sure to cross check your KPIs with the metrics that matter most to other stakeholders at your company.

    Although are plenty of media channels to choose from (e.g., social, paid, search, retargeting, mobile) some basic digital marketing KPIs you could implement through a website could be:

    Brand Engagement Sales
    Unique visitors Conversion rate (sales/leads)
    Opt-in registrations Market share
    Return visits Cost per lead
    Time spent Sales per vertical
    Popular pages Search engine ranking
    Impression share Click-through-rate


    Analyzing your past, both successes and failures, can help you focus on setting the most effective KPIs for your business. To start, choose a time period you’d like to analyze, preferably the same length of time you plan you’re allocating for your new goal(s), and dive into Google Analytics and begin evaluating your KPIs performance.

    According to a 2016 report released by SmartInsights, only 35 percent of organizations have a clearly defined digital marketing strategy.


    With metrics, channels, and budgetary concerns weighing you down it’s easy to lose sight of people you’re trying to reach. Remember: your customers are at the core of your strategy and a refined persona strategy can help you deliver the right content at the right time to the right person. The more detailed the personas can be the more they help inform future marketing, strategy and UX decisions.

    Develop and refine customer personas with the following information about your target consumer:

    1. Demographic: age, gender, location, career
    2. Emotional: desires, aspirations, fears
    3. Tendencies: online behavior, buying behavior, social media
    4. Goals: tasks on website, devices used, concerns, preferred types of content

    In-house vs. Agency