My Journey in The Genius Series

By Sarah Pavlik, 2017 graduate of The Genius SeriesSarah Pavlik

When I presented my case to apply for this marketing course, my primary goal was to learn more about digital marketing and improve our lead generation.  While the course offering was diverse, I felt that I could have my immediate needs met and pick up some tips along the way.

Before starting the course, we had some strong programs in place that were performing well:

  • Strong SEO position and results
  • Clean website with CTAs
  • Lead nurture program with content to deliver
  • Solid communication with sales on strategy and content development

Our business has experienced continued growth over the past 24 months, and I was struggling to keep up with the marketing and communications demands required to respond to the changes in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 offerings and the needs of Microsoft Dynamics Partners.

The biggest impact to our marketing over the past 12 months has been to hire a marketing assistant.  Having this additional support meant I no longer had to deliver the daily tactical items and allowed me to take a more strategic approach to address the evolving landscape.  This ability to take a step back is critical in being able to see the gaps and opportunities that lie ahead.

As we look ahead to the next 12 months, I have the resources to tackle some of the great ideas and strategies that I learned in the Genius Series.

Social Engagement

I was getting started with a social media program when the Genius Series started, and as anyone engaged in social marketing can attest to, this takes TIME.  I was getting external support from a consultant that helps produce and publish content, and our entrance point to social was Twitter.  I was engaged in program planning and content development on a weekly basis.

Following a great session with Jon Rivers from Marketing Monarchs, I envisioned our social program with new ideas.  A few items that we have completed and are currently developing:

  • Creating and joining LinkedIn groups for contributing content.
  • Generating a LinkedIn content plan, utilizing existing nurture programs and website content.
  • Increasing the use of images with every LinkedIn group post.

While we execute on these initiatives, we are seeing an increase in traffic to our website from our social channels.

Video Marketing and Production

Another impactful session was dedicated to video marketing and production.  We currently have a great library of technical videos on our website and YouTube, but producing engaging, personal, thought leadership videos always fell low on the priority list.

Adrianne Machina from Tornado Marketing and Peter Matejcek from INhouse Video shared some great examples of strategies for generating content, engaging the right people, and using everyday technology to record and produce videos.  Video marketing quickly went from the bottom of my to-do list to the top.

With a new idea for a video series in mind, I shared my thoughts with Peter and received some valuable and timesaving advice – keep your videos short!  While I was thinking five minutes would be a good length, I was advised that two minutes or less would be ideal. Awesome feedback and a new plan is now in progress!

Another new initiative came from ideas shared during the video marketing session.  We are engaging in a new avenue for sharing thought leadership at Microsoft WPC/Inspire in Washington.  Following Microsoft announcements, our subject experts will generate short video clips on their opinion of the impact of the new announcements.  These will then get posted to social channels and on our appropriate websites.  We are excited about this new wave of engagement and plan to grow this over the next 12 months.

Satisfaction Ranking

One more significant change, specifically geared to our Partner channel, is implementing strategic satisfaction surveys at critical points in our engagements.  Ensuring that the Partner channel is satisfied and getting their needs met is of utmost importance.  This has previously been conducted through a variety of methods; however, implementing a targeted and measurable survey will ensure the data we receive is consistent, specific, and actionable.


Over the past few months of planning and development, I have referred back to the Genius Series materials and notes to remind myself of the great things we can continue to do, small ways we can improve our messaging, and new initiatives to bring greater value to our Partner channel.

The Genius Series met my expectations and my goals for participating.  While I gained the insight I was seeking in digital marketing, I also picked up so many valuable tips, tricks, and best practices in all aspects of marketing.  This program was well worth the investment and will bring a valuable return when we execute on the many initiatives planned for the next 12 months.

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