Strategic marketing review
It is a natural point in the year to look back at the performance of your business during 2018 and to plan ahead for 2019 – and an integral part of this process is a strategic marketing review to make sure that current plans are aligned with the latest goals, and that the performance of your various marketing strategies are as effective and efficient as possible.
It is important to reflect on both successes and failures during the year, as one can learn just as much (perhaps more) from what went wrong as from what went right. You will then be in a position to make any changes you feel are required, so you can start 2019 in as strong a position as possible.
Digital marketing strategy
How well did your digital marketing strategy perform during 2018? Do you feel you are utilizing all the tools at your disposal as effectively and efficiently as possible? What were your strategies at the start of the year relating to all your various digital marketing activities – such as website, social media, content, search engine optimization (SEO) paid advertising and email marketing? Have your various strategies enabled you to achieve the goals you set out? If not, why not?
Were you a bit unrealistic to begin with, or do you think you need to change your strategy or the size of the budget to achieve your strategy? One of the real benefits of having a digital marketing toolkit at your disposal is access to the great wealth of insights that it offers. Take a close look at Google Analytics and Search Console, as well as all the other data analysis tools available via most email marketing platforms and social media channels to draw valuable conclusions on what is working well, and what perhaps isn’t.
Social media marketing
As far as social media marketing is concerned, what patterns in behaviour have you seen in 2018, and what activity caused peaks in followers or engagement? Are the types of posts that historically delivered good engagement still effective, or do you need a refresher on the latest best practice? Perhaps you need to consider new strategies, tactics and plans. The social media world is changing all the time, with so many new ways to promote your business through promotions, polls and posts.
It is also a valuable exercise to question whether you are visible on the right platforms; has your business evolved in such a way that it is now relevant to a different demographic? What is the dominant social media platform for that demographic, and how are you utilizing it, if at all?
In terms of web design, does your website still reflect well on the products and services you sell and the sectors you operate in? When did it last have a redesign, and what have the insights from Google Analytics told you about user behaviour? What is your bounce rate? How long do people spend looking around? Where are they located? Are they finding the page they’re looking for easily? It is really important that your site is responsive, as the volume of people shopping, browsing and accessing social channels via their smartphones and tablets is ever increasing and doesn’t look set to change. Make sure your website is servicing these customers with a slick user experience. And make sure it loads quickly too – saving a small amount of money on a web hosting package that is not fit for purpose is a false economy we recommend you avoid.
Getting email marketing right is a fine art. How often is too many? Are you an inbox nuisance or a welcome reprieve? Take the time to review the efficacy of your email marketing strategy. What types of emails delivered the best open and click-through rates? A pithy subject line can have a great impact on click-through rates, but is the content inside the email relevant to the reader? What is the purpose of your email campaigns, and do you need to segment your lists to ensure the right messages are getting through to the right customer groups?
What emails do you enjoy receiving in your inbox? What did they do to pique your interest? We can all learn from the emails we are bombarded with on a daily basis. Email marketing is still one of the most effective marketing tools in the digital kit bag for many organisations.
Advertising and direct marketing
How has your non-digital advertising and direct marketing activity performed this year? Which activities have delivered the best results? Are you advertising offline, and does the balance between digital and non-digital feel right? Are your calls to action clear and easy to follow?
Social media advertising
If you use social media for your business and are relying on organic reach, maybe it’s time to adopt a paid-for social media advertising strategy to generate even better results. Since the algorithms on the major platforms changed earlier this year, aiming for purely organic reach may not be an effective social strategy anymore.
Have you got all the right platforms in place to meet the needs of all your stakeholder groups when it comes to marketing communications? The end of the year is an ideal time to reflect on the quality of your sales support materials, collateral such as brochures, leaflets, exhibition stands, presentations, stationery, signage and videos. Are the key messages you wish to convey clear, and is the content impactful and diverse? Does your corporate brand identity still reflect well on your business as we head into 2019? First impressions count more than ever in a climate where we are inundated with marketing communications.
When it comes to event marketing, think about all the activation you’ve delivered this year that has put your brand in direct contact with your target audience. Have you hosted events, product samplings, pop-up shops, or appeared at exhibitions and conferences – how did you get your brand in front of your audience, and how effective was it? Whether you were measuring attendance, satisfaction, purchases or sign-ups, it is important to understand what differentiated really successful event marketing activities from those that were perhaps a little less effective.
As well as looking externally at your marketing output this year, don’t forget to look at your internal marketing proposition too. Is everyone on board with your brand proposition? Does your team understand their roles and responsibilities when it comes to supporting the marketing process at every stage in the sales pipeline process? Remember, prospective customers, are likely to come into contact with a number of different people in your organisation before they decide to make a purchase. These touch points need to constantly deliver a positive brand experience in order to optimise sales pipeline conversion.
How’s the health of your sales pipeline looking as we approach next year? Is it full to bursting with good quality prospects, or do things need to be a bit healthier? Are you sure you are still targeting the right people in the right way? If you haven’t done so yet, perhaps this is the time to review your customer segments and personas. Look afresh at their demographic and psychographic profiling. Are your marketing messages aligned?
Strategic brand proposition
It is critical that your strategic brand proposition is clear and up to date. Has your business diversified this year, and has this impacted upon your previous proposition? What needs adjusting in your marketing to better represent the messaging for your business? Make time to look at your existing strategy and the goals you have achieved and are yet to achieve to make sure you’re on track with implementing the necessary changes, so you can start 2019 in as healthy a state as possible.
Setting the right marketing budget is just as important as getting the marketing strategy right so that you have the best chance of achieving the goals set out in your business plan. If you feel that some of your campaigns haven’t delivered a good enough return on investment, perhaps you need to modify them. Go back to your strategy and proposition – what activities clearly address these objectives?
Measure the results and continually refine what you do to make your budget work as hard as possible. We now live in a highly dynamic digital world, so change is something we have to embrace if we are going to be successful.
This blog should provide you with some useful tips to review your marketing strategy effectively and efficiently as we look to wrap up 2018 and move forward to a prosperous New Year. The bottom line is that we can learn from this year’s performance all we need to deliver better results in 2019.
It can sometimes help to engage the services of an external party to complete a marketing review as effectively and efficiently as possible. Abacus is one of the top marketing agencies in London when it comes to the delivery of high-quality marketing strategies.
Strategic marketing review
Please contact our Managing Director, Steve Brown, on 020 3858 7836 to discuss your marketing requirements in more detail. Alternatively, please email him at email@example.com. You can also visit our website at www.abacusmarketing.co.uk to find out more.