I’ve already seen a lot of great “trends of 2015” articles floating around the web this year…all 1.5 weeks of it. We thought about doing one ourselves, but we didn’t want to get lost among the noise.

Instead, based on the recommendation of our super smart friend Jo Johansson, we decided to get more granular and ask some of our amazing community members to share their biggest lessons of 2014: What marketing tactics they tried; what worked, what didn’t; and what they’re most excited about for 2015.

As a result, we have an awesome collection of marketing dos and don’t for 2015. So awesome that we had to split it into two parts! Read Part Two here.

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Jo Johansson @ Geckoboard

Jo leads content for Geckoboard, a tool for sharing data across your organization, and overall, is just a really awesome person.

Jo’s top lessons of 2014

Do: Risk everything.

It seems like learning happens quicker, more often, and harsher in the startup world. What’s not to love? Thing is, in this space, as opposed to Cheers, not everyone knows your name. Count yourself lucky, that’s a huge advantage right there. The playground is yours. Take risks, be bold, mess up, do it again. Now, what’s the worst thing that could happen? Ask yourself that, and if that’s not the answer to whatever you want to try, I say: Go. Right. Ahead.

Don’t: Play it safe.

Do: Segment everything.

Your customers are not one and the same. Get to know the sub communities within your customer base. Truth is, they’re probably pretty great. I know this is in almost every How to Do Marketing Guide ever written, but y’all need to get your data in order. ASAP. Do it to the best of your ability.

Don’t: Cast a wide communications net without thinking it through.

Do: Listen everywhere.

That Internet thing just won’t turn off, now will it? Sheesh. Stressful? Sometimes. Full of golden opportunities? Always. Identify those and get to it. There’s no place better than the Internet to be in the right place at the right time. True story.

Don’t: Ignore where your customers are talking to each other.

2015 is for…getting to know customers better

In 2015, I’m excited to get to know our customers better. Tweets, comments, subreddits, emails, visits, and call me cray-cray, but there might even be phone calls. Huzzah!

Pro tip: Fine tune your GIF (try Giphy and its Chrome extension!) and emoji game and you’ll be the one to watch.

Jo’s tool of 2015: GSD with Swipes

Things can change frequently and quickly in a startup: Meetings get pushed back, projects get postponed, email campaigns get paused, and so on. In 2015, I plan to start using Swipes. This is a simple little to-do app which works like Notes on your iPhone.

You list what has to get done today then you cross things off by swiping right (completed!) or left (incomplete!). When swiping left for incomplete you’ll be presented with options of when you’re able to complete this task. This means none of the stuff that’s been temporarily put on hold will fall through the cracks. A better, more organized and strategic self will lead to better more organized and structured marketing, right?

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Brandon Pindulic @ ProofHQ

Brandon leads growth and inbound marketing at ProofHQ, the global leader in online proofing of content.

Brandon’s top lessons of 2014

Do: Make every element of your content marketing extraordinary.

Content marketing is only effective when it’s the absolute best. The visuals need to be great. The content itself needs to be informative and actionable, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the form of a blog post. Tools, videos, interactive content, etc. work extremely well. For example, think GrowthHackers.com from Quaraloo or CoSchedule’s headline analyzer.

There needs to be something in place to turn visitors in subscribers / leads (i.e. free eBook, giveaway, etc) to make inbound marketing work as well.

Don’t: Overlook channels because they’re not as effective as they were 10 years ago.

Even more important than the channel is your messaging. Most people give up on Twitter, for example, if their CPA is higher than Facebook. Don’t quit too early — paid acquisition requires constant testing and *most* will fail.

2015 is for…customer advocacy

For 2015, I think customer advocacy is going to become even bigger in B2B. Reviews and referrals are worth a lot more than even the best advertisements.

Honestly, I don’t think anything groundbreaking will occur, but many (like always) will chase new channels, technologies, etc. and give up on channels that are working just because they’re more saturated and older. Quite simply, always try new things, but more importantly, don’t abandon what’s working.

Brandon’s tools of 2015

Hugo Pereira

Hugo Pereira @ Talentsquare

Hugo is the Product Strategist & Growth Marketer, TalentSquare, a free, simple, and easy recruiting software.

Hugo’s top lessons of 2014

Do: Collect and leverage data.

Marketing is more and more about data-driven decisions. One of the key lessons we learned is that data shows you trends and patterns that can help you make smarter decisions. Before, many marketers would make decisions based on previous experience and instinct. With the increase of marketing technology, we can now predict user behavior, conversion rate, lead generation and many other statistics that are useful on our daily basis.

Don’t: Default to your gut before looking at the data.

Look at the data, then consider your gut instinct.

Do: Only produce relevant content.

Content is still king, but has to be relevant. In the first quarter of 2014, I spent much time creating and coordinating guest bloggers to generate content. It was great to drive traffic, but was not the right traffic since the article were not always related to the company’s business. So a big learning was that yes, content is still king in driving traffic, but it needs to be relevant to the audience you are targeting.

Don’t: Produce content just for the sake of producing content.

People need both visual and written content to effectively engage with the information being presented. Another key learning was that people become more engaged when visuals are created specifically for each piece of content. They feel effort was put into place and that the content was not just dumped from couple of resources.

So infographics, white papers, e-books are still great ways of engaging people beyond just blog posting. These vehicles also typically generate more qualified leads because people invest the time to read it through.

2015 is for…mobile engagement, marketing automation, micro-targeting

I’m excited about these three areas where we will focus our attention.

Mobile engagement means creating content that people can read, interact with, and share from any decide. The digital experience has to be mobile optimized.

Marketing automation is related to continuing the culture of data-driven decisions, but also automating our report and having the data and patterns delivered to us, rather than spending hours compiling it.

Finally, micro-targeting is related to creating even more specific articles to target prospects and audience we are interested in. Similar to the evolution of keywords towards long-tail keywords, articles and content will become ‘long-tail,’ meaning positioning ourselves as experts in a very precise customer segment and industry.

Hugo’s tools of 2015

More than the tools in itself, I’m excited about improving our performance in terms of A/B testing and SEO/content optimization.

Unbounce is an exciting tool I will be exploring for A/B testing and landing page optimization. I will also be looking for a tool to support Talentsquare’s online presence and SEO ranking, so excited about the hunt.

Conclusion

We’re excited to share part two of marketing dos and don’ts on Wednesday. In the meantime, below is a recap of those we’ve collected so far. Do you have any to add? Leave them in the comments below!

dos and dont's 2015

Shannon Byrne is the Content & PR Manager at Mention where she crafts words, creates strategies, and recruits loyal advocates. She’s based in New York. Get in touch with her at @ShannnonB.

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