Managing digital marketing expectations

September 6, 2015

Managing digital marketing expectations

Managing timescales and setting expectations is critical to the success of every marketing campaign. The difficulty with digital channels (social, paid, organic search etc.) is often the shortened timescales in which many expect results.

Engaging in content creation and outreach for a couple of months is highly unlikely to rank your site on page one for a competitive search term, nor is it guaranteed to instantly generate leads.

Whether you are working with an external client or planning a project with your Manager, it is important expectations are set and managed properly. In this blog I share 5 tips that should help you manage digital marketing expectations.


Understand the business
Seemingly obvious but often overlooked, it is critical you fully understand the business goals, targets and timescales to first determine how digital marketing can contribute towards achieving them.

If you work in-house familarise yourself with the company’s marketing strategy, speak to key employees and your customer base.

If you are working with a client find out their primary goals in addition to their past experience and understanding of digital marketing. Complete research into the sector they operate within and find out who there key competitors are.

Understanding top-level business goals enables you to conduct relevant research and develop a relevant, realistic proposal.


Don’t be afraid to say no
In order to win contracts or please your boss it can be easy to over promise, going against your better judgment to move a conversation on. If something cannot be done in the proposed timescales (or at all) don’t be afraid to say no.

Over promising and under delivering will damage your reputation and significantly reduce the chances of repeat business. Over promising and delivering the results is likely to have a knock of effect for other projects, potentially impacting your bottom line.

With so many variables out of your control already (algorithm changes, competitor activity, PPC costs etc.) it is important you stick to what your research and experience tells you.


Explain what goes on behind the scenes
Successful digital marketing output masks the hard work that is involved in research, testing, development, content creation etc. Digital marketing is more than publishing a tweet, sending an email or writing a blog. When setting expectation explain the work and expertise that goes on behind the scenes.


Communicate and report regularly
Open and regular communication is key to managing expectations throughout a campaign.

Establish a point of contact and plan in regular communication and reviews. It is common practice to set up smaller monthly catch-ups in addition to more detailed quarterly reviews.

Alongside the regular communication deliver a progress report. There isn’t a one report fits all in digital marketing. Consider the technical level of your customer (or manager) and what the major milestones of the project are.


Keep a record
From initial discussions to the completion of a project, make sure everything is documented and stored. If expectations have been set correctly you will probably never need to access, but it is good practice to keep a comprehensive record of communications should the goal posts be changed half way through a campaign.


What are your tips for managing digital marketing expectations? Leave a comment below or get in touch using the social links.