What marketing worked for your business this year?

wonder what marketing worked

what marketing worked this year? As you approach the end of the calendar year, you start to think about 2018. As you think about what your business will be doing in the coming year, you naturally look back at 2017 to see what was good and what wasn’t so good.  This question is key to how your business performs next year.


As all the financial services adverts say “Past performance is not guarantee of future returns”. Whilst this may the case with your marketing, it is unlikely. Knowing how what marketing worked will allow you to make better decisions about what you are going to do next year. Where will you invest your resources; both time and money?

What could have happened?

For each marketing channel you use for your small business, there are three possible outcomes:

  1. The marketing worked and delivered leads for the business
  2. Your marketing didn’t work, but that was because you didn’t do it as well as you could have done.
  3. The marketing didn’t work because it was the wrong marketing channel

How do I know?

Let’s start with the basics; are you recording somewhere how you are getting your leads? What marketing channel created the lead?

If your data doesn’t tell you, the easiest way to get the information you need is to simply ask the prospect.  Whilst I’m sure they have seen your brand on multiple marketing channels, the one they tell you is most likely the one that “tipped them over the edge” or elicited the action to contact you.

Without this information, you have no way of knowing what marketing worked. After all you don’t want to be in a similar situation to John Wanamaker: “I know half of my marketing worked, just not which half”.

If your data shows a specific marketing channel generated lots of leads and, ideally, a lot of those closed, then you know that channel works.

What if it didn’t work?

The other alternative is that your marketing didn’t produce the leads you were looking for.  The question then is: was that the wrong choice of marketing or did you not do it right?  How do you know?

There are two ways to find out:

  1. Use the same marketing channel but do something different. Then measure the results and see what changed.
  2. Get some advice. Of course, I am more than happy to help here, but there are lots of other marketing professionals out there who can help you too.


Trialing different approaches to the same marketing channel, or activity, seems to be what is now being defined as growth hacking. To me, it has always been there. It may not have been quite so systematic, but a good marketer will be constantly looking at how to improve performance.

Trialing can mean a lot of different things:

  • Different frequencies of activity: are you doing enough or doing too much?
  • Timing: try different times of the day or even the week/month. You have to time your activity to the most likely times your target audience will engage. Only by trialing will you find out.
  • Language: are you using the wrong tone, the wrong words or the wrong level of formality? All can be tweaked and tested.
  • Content: whatever marketing channel you are using, there is content. Is it the right content?

Trialing does take time and you have to be patient, but what’s the alternative? See below.

Of course, your alternatives are:

  1. Stop doing it. It must be wrong because you didn’t get the leads you wanted
  2. Keep doing it; it’s bound to eventually work.

The second one there is, categorically, the definition of madness. To keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.

What Now?

So now you know what worked this year and what didn’t. Now you are ready to start planning for next year. By planning for next year, you are far more likely to get the results you are looking for.

I hope this helps.