Project: NCFE

“Delighted with how Jo has worked with the team to support and deliver a comprehensive content marketing programme in the last 8 months.

Not only has it been a great CPD opportunity for the team as we improved their skills set, confidence and understanding of content marketing we have also a firm foundation to build from in terms of a toolkit, a consistent approach to content production and how to engage our audiences/personas.

Jo successfully understood our requirements and met the objectives we set out at the start, she’s very attentive and knowledgeable and has supported Lindsay well throughout this project.”

Rachel Nagel, Marketing Director


NCFE is one of the largest awarding bodies in the UK, designing, delivering and assessing hundreds of academic and vocational qualifications each year. They have thousands of clients – schools, colleges and employers – and hundreds of thousands of students and trainees at any one time.

NCFE recognizes the role that content plays in building trust, educating target customers and generating more leads and enquiries. They were planning a new website, but first they needed to understand the customer journey and where it needed to be improved. They were running 3 really big websites with hundreds of pages and complex navigation.

Joanne Dolezal was approached by NESMA to lend her expertise in content marketing and digital strategy to the project. We proposed a series of mini-projects around customer insight, content performance and content planning as they needed to start at the same time.

NCFE needed to develop Buyer Personas for their most important customer groups, map their online journeys and fill the gaps. Whilst analytics were being run to assess the site performance, a comprehensive Content Audit was undertaken to map content against customer type and stage of journey. This would ultimately help them to create content that is laser-focused and highly relevant to buyers and influencers alike.


  • Develop a set of buyer personas that encapsulate key target customers
  • Conduct a content audit to categorize content, level and performance
  • Develop a plan to consolidate and fill gaps in content
  • Identify and plan ‘hub, hero & hygiene’ content for 2019 onwards

Buyer Persona Development

Taking UX User Personas as a starting point we developed a market research plan. We used telephone interviews between the marketing team and priority target customer groups to test the questions, then ran a full online survey to 8K database. We received (and analysed) 1.3K responses. This helped us to create final buyer personas that served internal stakeholders but also fully captured those customers.

  • Research design
  • Questionnaire development
  • Qualitative research action plan
  • Analysis & reporting
  • Persona development

Content Marketing Audit

We worked with the team to audit the content (blogs, videos, guides, lead magnets, etc) that had been created to date (over 300 items in addition to normal web pages):

  • Chosen approach: categories (formats & topic areas)
  • Agreed level: stage of customer journey
  • Key metrics: how will performance be measured
  • Identified gaps and devised action plan
  • Reviewed customer journey and ‘content hubs’

Content Marketing Plans

Based on the content audit and persona development, we were able to:

  • Devise the content marketing plans for lead generation and nurturing campaigns, including email nurturing and onboarding campaigns.
  • Review customer journeys from NCFE to CACHE – social media, email marketing, landing pages, lead magnets and map out recommendations.
  • Work with team to incorporate content marketing plans into wider marketing and communications plans: tactics, timelines, metrics, budget, responsibilities, ROI, etc
  • Work with team to develop content publishing plan and dissemination plan.

The client needed a blended approach: consultancy on best practice in content marketing (and digital marketing); training and coaching to the central marketing team along with support in the roll out to internal stakeholders.

We worked on site and remotely; training materials were delivered in person, via video link and via pre-recorded materials.

This project was delivered through nesma