Balancing the Grind with Madelene Ragno, Director of MADE Creative Co

Sitting down with Madelene Ragno, Director of MADE Creative Co, we get an inside look at her leap from digital marketing expert to TikTok influencer. Madelene walks us through the hustle of turning a side hustle into a globally recognised brand, her approach to staying ahead in the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, and how she carved out her unique niche on TikTok.

She shares her strategy for creating content that resonates and her plans for her upcoming show, aiming to demystify digital marketing with honesty and fun. Madelene also talks about the challenges of scaling up MADE Creative Co and offers her top advice for small businesses looking to shine on TikTok.

Maddi, in the fast-paced world of digital marketing, what’s your strategy for staying on top of the latest trends and innovations?

My go-to for staying up to date with the latest trends is listening and subscribing to some of the marketing gurus such as Neil Patel and Alex Homozzai. 

I actually follow a few TikTok marketing accounts that share innovative ideas, and I often chat with them to discuss what they’re discovering with their clients.

I also prioritise experimentation and testing within my own projects. By constantly refining and adapting strategies based on my own insights, I ensure that I’m not just following trends but also contributing to the evolution of digital marketing practices.

I’d love to hear about your transition from digital marketing expert to a TikTok influencer with a huge following. How did that journey unfold for you?

At first, I’ll be honest, my success on TikTok felt like luck. When I first downloaded the app, I was a bit sceptical. I tried the funny content approach, but it didn’t quite work out. So, I shifted to sharing more educational content, which, to be honest, was a bit boring at first, but I did see some traction.

The real turning point came when I tried something different with my team. I started creating videos where someone would approach me saying ‘Hey Maddi’ with a question, and I’d respond or showcase something I was working on. Not only did I focus on my delivery style but also my appearance, I made sure to wear a blazer and always be dressed up, this also helped me become more recognisable. 

I stuck with this approach consistently for about two weeks, and that’s when things started to pick up. I gained 20K followers in 20 days, and then another 10K shortly after. People really resonated with not just the content but also the delivery style.

Suddenly, ‘Maddi’ became a thing. Even though it was still me, it felt like I’d created a persona.

You’ve got a knack for creating content that resonates with a wide audience and catches the eye of big brands. What’s your secret?

It might sound cliché, but I truly believe that being genuine is key. Showing my fun personality and no-nonsense attitude makes my content authentic. Growing up, I’ve always been comfortable as a public speaker, and I think projecting confidence is what brands want to see. 

With your own show in the pipeline, how are you planning to shake things up and share your digital marketing insights with an even wider audience?

I’m really passionate about making the project I’m working on a trusted space for brands and aspiring marketers alike. The industry often gets a bad rap, and I’m determined to create a platform where honesty is at the forefront.

That means no fluffy vanity metrics or cookie-cutter strategies. I’m here to call out misleading information and offer genuine value and insights to my audience. I envision my show as being direct yet playful and fun. It’s all about delivering truthfulness with a twist.

Your TikTok strategy has been a major success for MADE Creative Co. Can you give us a rundown of how you approached it and what made it so effective?

TikTok is a discovery platform. Essentially, your content should address the pain points of your ideal clientele and draw them in. I always tackled these issues or symptoms in my content and then educated them on the solution. Some worry about giving too much away for free, but I’ve never felt that way.

I firmly believe that positioning yourself as an expert makes it easier for people to trust you. That’s why I share any knowledge I have.

Also, I wasn’t afraid to call out other marketers and speak about the unrealistic expectations that come with marketing. People appreciate my honesty, and that’s what ultimately earned their trust.

Scaling up MADE Creative Co must have had its challenges. Can you share some of these hurdles and how you tackled them?

For me, the biggest challenge has been resources, especially in terms of staffing. While TikTok brought in great opportunities, the demand for our agency became overwhelming. Initially, I’d often say ‘yes’ to new clients, promising to start work the following week. But now, I’m more cautious about overloading myself and my team.

Client churn is another hurdle in marketing. As a ‘yes’ person, I used to take on any and every client, especially small businesses. I’d lower prices and try to help them succeed. However, as startups, many of these businesses would eventually flake or couldn’t afford the results they wanted, leading to a frustrating cycle.

Now, I’m selective about who I take on, ensuring they have a suitable budget, proof of concept, and a genuine commitment to investing in marketing.

I’ve also introduced a ‘done-with-you’ option, which offers consulting services tailored for startups or those with smaller budgets.

For small businesses eager to make a mark on TikTok, what would be your top piece of advice for using the platform effectively?

Finding your ‘thing’ is crucial. Too often, people try to mimic big brands or jump on trendy TikTok bandwagons that don’t align with their brand. You need a concept that speaks to your brand and carves out your niche.

As an example, for one of my skincare clients who is  a registered nurse, we underwent the process of testing educational videos shot after her shifts in her uniform. They ended up  being a hit. Uniforms build trust. Another client, a pharmacist, wears her white lab coat in every video. Consistency and identity are key on TikTok; people should recognize and connect with your personality.

And finally, for those just starting out in digital marketing or content creation, what are some key skills or strategies you’d suggest they focus on?

For those starting out in digital marketing or content creation, I recently made a TikTok about this. One of the most valuable skills to learn is crafting creative concepts or strategies for paid ads. It’s a challenging skill to master but incredibly sought after. As platforms increasingly prioritise creativity—Google even has pmax with creatives—being able to excel in creative work is essential.

About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.