Make It Happen
My Tipsheets are chock full of ideas. They are all aimed at translating knowledge into a quick, action-oriented 60-second nugget.

First Name:
Last Name:
Tipsheet Archive
Randall's Resources
Whenever I speak or write, I often prepare extra "bonus" materials.
Enter the Resource Code to access this special content:
Resource Code:
Try this example Resource Code: eventplanning


Most marketers think of themselves as builders. Their work grows the organization, grows market share, grows the portfolio of products and services. A bit more tactically, the marketer builds page views, conversions, and social engagement; underlying all of these activities, the marketer builds relationships.

But is there merit in growing marketing itself? Not the ad spend or departmental head count, but the number of simultaneous marketing initiatives that the organization can successfully run?

With tighter marketing budgets and a higher scrutiny of results, improved marketing effectiveness isn’t just a sufficient condition for success – it’s a critical necessary.

Unfortunately, many organizations have a marketing heritage based on campaign thinking. The agencies pitch a campaign, the client buys into the concept, and (hopefully) it is successful. Then this repeats. And repeats. And repeats. The fundamental problem with 90% of all campaigns is that they leave nothing behind. True, there is a positive brand bump, but at best there is only a short tail of changed behavior. That is, until the next campaign.

Instead, consider the concept of a marketing stack. The idea is to build autonomous continuing initiatives, one layer at a time. Sometimes, a layer can function on its own, in a “set and forget” mode. Other types of layers require care and feeding to maintain their effectiveness. The goal of the marketing stack is to build sustainable marketing capacity – not a time bound “campaign”.

Here is one example of layers in a marketing stack:

  1. An in-brand mobile-friendly website that is targeted at key audiences.
  2. Ecommerce capability to process orders and encourage cross-selling/upselling.
  3. Content strategy that attracts target audiences to the website (e.g. videos, white papers, articles, blog posts etc.).
  4. Social Media strategy to empower employees, business partners, and others to engage their networks with the organization’s message.
  5. Marketing automation system for lead collection and drip marketing.
  6. Integration between the Marketing Automation System and the CRM (customer relationship system).
  7. Development of a marketing analytics dashboard, to aggregate data and allow for improved decision-making.
  8. And so on.

Each layer in the stack is a project, with a beginning, middle, and end. But each layer builds enduring value long after the project to implement the layer has finished.

Only once the marketing stack is completed will the ROI of any campaign be maximized; in a certain sense, the marketing stack is a campaign multiplier.

Over time, changes in the organization’s strategy, business environment, client requirements, and competitive response will cause the effectiveness of certain layers in the stack to erode. For this reason, once the stack is built, the focus must change to optimization: Improved SEO, more relevant content, additional marketing automation sequences, social media community building, mobile, etc.

This week’s action plan: Are you stuck in a “campaign thinking” rut, or are you a marketing builder? This week, identify which layers of your marketing stack need to be optimized – or created.  And if you haven’t defined your stack fully, then that is where you should start.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



It wasn’t that many years ago that both people and organizations craved higher and higher fidelity: 7.1 Dolby Digital sound, Ultra High Definition TV screens, and so on. Today though, mobile (and digital) is driving size in the other direction: smaller.

An unintended consequence, however, is that the fidelity of the user experience has also dramatically shifted downwards:

  • Mobile phone operators are cramming ever more signal into the airwaves, resulting in ever-poorer voice quality.
  • Watching video on mobile is also a low-resolution experience: the picture is often both jerky and fuzzy. And since the earbud experience in a noisy area is definitely not the home theatre experience, the audio is equally lacking.
  • Many organizations have moved to Voice Over IP (VOIP) phone systems.  While far cheaper than traditional phone systems, VOIP fidelity is 100% dependent on available internet bandwidth, and a perfectly paved internet pathway between the sender and receiver.  In many cases, this means a choppy and low fidelity connection.

As society moves more towards mobile, and organizations move more towards driving down costs, there is an inflection point that is too often missed: At what point does a low fidelity experience impact the brand?  Or said another way: is the investment in marketing and training being undermined by the user experience over the phone?

Sadly, the answer is yes, and it is going to get worse.  While it is difficult to get around this problem, there are some things that can be done to minimize the impact:


  • Produce videos with a “mobile-first” mindset.
  • Host videos in multiple resolutions (YouTube does this automatically), so if bandwidth allows, better fidelity is possible.
  • Use the “most popular” cell phone operator within your geography.  There may be less compression if more bandwidth is available; also compression is worse when the two parties use two different operators.


  • Ensure adequate internet bandwidth that is specifically segregated for VOIP phones.
  • Purchase HD Voice phonesets for VOIP systems.
  • Insist on voice quality service level agreements with the VOIP provider.

This week’s action plan: Trust, but verify. This week, put yourself in the shoes of your target audiences, and test-drive your mobile and VOIP experience. And don’t just rely on yourself: ask your front line staff if there is a problem. Don’t let low-fidelity technology get in the way of your brand.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)
:  Professional credentials site
.com: Web strategy, technology, and development
:  Interviews with the nation’s thought-leaders



Three approaches to mobile responsive design

by Randall Craig June 12, 2015

If you use the web on a mobile device, do you ever get frustrated by a site that forces you to pinch-and-zoom to read the content?  Or a mobile website that seems to hide what you think is key information – like the street address and phone number? If your organization is considering a new […]

Read More

Mobile Marketing: location, just-in-time, and simplicity

by Randall Craig January 2, 2015

What have been the most transformational marketing innovations in society?  TV and Direct mail/database marketing rank up there.  Email, the web, and social media also do.  And so does mobile – but why? It is too easy to think of mobile as nothing more than a small screen.  Web designers and developers work hard to […]

Read More

Mobile site or Mobile App?

by Randall Craig November 28, 2014

At a certain point, every organization will ask the question about whether or not they need an App.  Putting aside whether there is a bona fide reason for investing in an app or not, there is a second related question that always gets asked: if we have a mobile (eg responsive) website, do we actually […]

Read More

Increasing Newsletter Registrations

by Randall Craig August 29, 2014

Are you really satisfied with the response rate of your newsletter registration form on your website?  Do you think that, just maybe, your list could be bigger? Instead of thinking of the sign-up form as a sign-up form, think of it as a transaction.  The user – a prospective client – is paying for your […]

Read More

Marketing Insight: Improving Web ROI

by Randall Craig April 25, 2013

Does this sound familiar?  You have a website (or two), a marketing budget, and more than likely, a desire to grow.  It doesn’t matter if growth is defined as more event registrations, newsletter sign-ups, leads, or transactions – the problem is that too often, a web initiative doesn’t always pull its weight. There are four […]

Read More

QR Codes: Qritical or Qraze?

by Randall Craig May 9, 2012

Check out the latest brochure, advertisement, billboard, or business card, and you’ll see that ubiquitous square:  the QR Code.  For those who don’t know what about them, here is how they work:  a special “app” on your smart phone takes a picture of it, decodes it, and (usually) sends your smart phone’s browser to a […]

Read More