The second quarter is coming to a close! This is a perfect time to take a look at what your organization has achieved in the first half of the year and assess whether changes need to be made for the second half of 2018.
A successful marketing strategy has every detail for the upcoming twelve months laid out but a lot can change in a year and your plan might need to change, to ensure it suits the needs of your company and the wants of the customer. There are many factors that impact marketing results, from competitors, demand for your product or service, or new marketing methods (like new social platforms) and the right marketing strategy can make all the difference. Here are a few steps for keeping your marketing strategy fresh:
Assess the market environment
Start by reviewing the market. It’s very common to adjust your marketing plan based on current market conditions. New competitors, changing needs of consumers, or the introduction of more advertising sources may mean your strategies are no longer up-to-date. No plan is perfect, after all. So ask yourself what has changed since the beginning of the year and see if emerging trends, technologies, and shifts in industry are impacting your marketing.
Review your marketing plan and strategies
Are you carrying out what was detailed in the plan? Review your plan to see if it aligns with your long-term strategy and then make sure you reallocate resources as needed. To judge whether your marketing plan is delivering the best results, analyze the data!
Look at benchmark data
You need to evaluate your current marketing activities by comparing them to data from past efforts. Using the metrics you established in your plan, evaluate whether your marketing campaigns are meeting your objectives. Were your promotional campaigns successful? Which have fallen flat and which are working?
By using tools such as Google Analytics and social media analytics (Facebook Insights, Twitter Analytics, etc.) you can measure a variety of activities, including number of unique visits, engagement on social, SEO rankings, and lead generation.
Look at sales numbers and customer base
Are your sales numbers what was projected? Compare them year over year to see whether you current plan is working. Reallocating budget to different projects might be necessary if you’re falling below a projection.
What’s your net customer count? Are you seeing growth? Hopefully – that signifies your marketing strategies are doing well. If not, not to worry. There are lot of options for switching up your marketing.
Perform a content audit
It’s important to look at your own content and review how it’s performing within your social community. What is your target audience talking about on social and should you be joining the conversation? Which content pieces of yours are people sharing?
It’s also a good idea to take a look at how your competitors content is performing. You can learn a lot and get ideas or inspiration for new things to try.
Review customer responses
Consumer preferences change. Online surveys and customer service feedback reveals what people think of your marketing. Simply by asking “how’d you find out about our latest sale?” can point to what campaigns/initiatives are reaching people and which inspire folks to make a purchase.
Revisit your budget and resources
Did you set unrealistic expectations? Maybe you thought you’d be able to publish a blog per day but now realize you don’t have the resources to make that happen. Update your plan for Q3 to show that. Perhaps you only allocated $100 per month to Facebook ads but you’re seeing results and want to increase that budget moving forward.
After revisiting your strategy, update the plan for the second half of 2018. Depending on what your team decides, this might be changes in the frequency of publishing content, changing a communication process, or increasing budget. Maybe you want to try Instagram’s new video future to increase user engagement! I suggest testing several elements in a campaign to see which affect performance. For example, try changing up an email subject line or call to action before completely overhauling your plan for the future.
~ ~ ~
Marketing plans aren’t a one time and you’re done task. Your plan and strategy are a living document that needs to be regularly visited and tweaked. What better time than the end of the first half of 2018 to see what is and isn’t working? Overhauling your marketing strategy is time-consuming and stress-inducing because there’s so much involved. But quarterly reviews are an excellent opportunity to monitor your results. Review your goals, tactics, and outcomes of your marketing efforts to make sure you’re following the best strategy to meet your goals. The more proactively you try to adapt your strategy, the further in front of your competitors you will be.
Strategy is our bread and butter so if you’re struggling to analyze and adapt just drop a line!