Brand Building

How 5 Boring Checklists Can Drive Superior Marketing Results

Why should marketers be interested in checklists? After all, running a marketing campaign is not like flying a 747, or doing brain surgery. Atul Gawande, author of The Checklist Manifesto—sums up the answer nicely:

“Good checklists are precise. They are efficient, to the point, and easy to use even in the most difficult situations. They do not try to spell out everything—a checklist cannot fly a plane. Instead, they provide reminders of only the most critical and important steps—the ones that even the highly skilled professional using them could miss. Good checklists are, above all, practical.”

In other words, as marketing channels and technology grow more complex, the odds of marketers missing critical steps increase exponentially. In a world of Twitter, Pinterest, Google, Facebook, LinkedIn, WordPress, YouTube, Vine, and Instagram—not to mention PPC, CPM, and retargeting—good checklists are not only a practical tool for modern marketers to embrace, they have become essential.

So, here is a checklist of the checklists you should consider referring to on a weekly, if not daily basis. There are certainly more granular channel-specific checklists to consider as well—but these five are the go-to lists that will make sure your campaign takes off with power, stays on course during turbulent weather, and lands with amazing results and happy customers still onboard.

These checklists go by a variety of names—and come in a variety of styles, and many teams wind up customizing them for their own specific needs. Regardless of which specific list you use from pre-launch planning to post-campaign analytics, their power lies in forcing individuals—as well as teams—to consistently review the myriad of details required for a successful campaign. Far from stifling creativity, the habitual use of checklists actually serves as a foil for creative expression and innovative breakthroughs.

1). Customer Checklist
Also known as the “Persona Checklist”—this list helps to frame exactly who your audience is, and how your product will help them meet a particular need. Don’t “pass go” until you’ve methodically taken the time to understand your customer. This checklist from Hubspot goes into great detail about the “9 Questions You Need to Ask When Developing Buyer Personas.”

2). Content Checklist
Content marketing is now at the heart of many campaigns, and requires the heart of a story-teller, the observational skills of a news reporter, and the editorial expertise of a magazine publisher. With such a range of required skills, a checklist can make sure that you have all the bases covered, regardless of where you sit in the content publishing matrix. This checklist from the Content Marketing Institute is a really useful example for making sure your content is fueled for takeoff —“13 Things You Must Do Before Your Publish Content.”

3). Social Ecosystem Checklist
Social media is by far the most dynamic aspect of today’s always-on-marketing, and thus benefits from a daily checklist. Hootsuite’s “7 Daily Habits of Highly Effective Social Media Managers” provides a detailed look at the type of social hygiene every social manager should consider on a daily basis.

4). Promotion Checklist
Once you’ve understood your customer, created great content, and launched it within your vibrant social channels, make sure to promote your content. This checklist from Content Marketing Institute “7 NEW Things to Do After You’ve Written a New Blog Post” lays out a systematic process for ensuring your content gets the most traction possible.

5). Success Metrics Checklist
Measuring your overall success is a critical final step to your campaign. What worked, what didn’t work, and why? A robust stream of data is key to identifying your specific points of traction. This checklist from SEO company Moz, “Launching a New Website: 18 Steps to Successful Metrics & Marketing,” shows the wide range of metrics tools and tactics now available.
Yes, checklists can be boring. But don’t let that hide the exciting and powerful impact they can have on your marketing results. Get in the habit of using checklists early and often, and watch your marketing take off like never before. In addition to the five checklists we’ve highlighted, be sure to check out the additional resources below.


Other Checklist Resources:

The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
by Atul Gawande
We live in a world of great and increasing complexity, where even the most expert professionals struggle to master the tasks they face. Longer training, ever more advanced technologies—neither seems to prevent grievous errors. But in a hopeful turn, acclaimed surgeon and writer Atul Gawande finds a remedy in the humblest and simplest of techniques: the checklist.

Best Damn Marketing Checklist, Period!
by Stoney deGeyter
The guide includes 35 checklists for areas such as design considerations, site architecture, conversion optimization, content writing and social sharing. The checklists cover all aspects of Web marketing, starting with buying the right domain all the way to building a website, promoting it, and tracking your success.


17 of the most popular templates and checklists from the Content Marketing Institute.


This Viral Marketing checklist can help to insure you get maximum impact from your campaign.


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Jim Walker

Jim Walker

Jim Walker is Director, Marketing Strategy at Cadient, a Cognizant Company. Jim provides innovative marketing insights for a wide range of clients, as well as leading Cadient’s content marketing strategy. He is particularly interested in helping brand teams effectively leverage their digital content. He can be reached at
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