Before breaking out party hats and kazoos to usher in the new year, your marketing strategy deserves a final evaluation. After all, how can you draft your 2018 marketing plan without knowing what worked (and what didn't) in 2017?
This process, often referred to as a "post-mortem review," is an in-depth evaluation at the completion of a project. The University of California noted that the reflection allows everyone on the team to provide feedback in a structured way.
Year-End Data to Evaluate
Dig up the annual marketing plan and monthly reports for 2017 as you review each measurable category and campaign. Content Marketing Institute suggested paying specific attention to the following six data points:
- The number of unique visitors to your business website
- The number of page views, and the increase or decrease over the year
- The quantity of traffic directed to the website via search engines
- The number of visitors who bounce away from your site without clicking to another page within the site
- The number of website visitors who convert or take action, such as signing up for a newsletter
- The number of inbound links from other website owners who have linked to your domain on their website
These are just a few of the key performance indicators (KPIs) used in an overall evaluation. Examine the numbers as a snapshot of the year and as they pertain to specific marketing campaigns. For example, if you ran a new product promotion during February 2017, review how your marketing strategy aligned with profits. Did marketing and sales work hand in hand and yield the expected results? Why or why not? Use this insight to fuel your 2018 plan of action.
Making Changes in the New Year
Many businesses hit the ground running in January with New Year's Day promotions, website redesigns and product announcements — but just how much change should you plan for each year, and how should it be implemented?
Search Engine Journal reminded marketers that quality trumps quantity. Launching a new app or piece of content simply to get it on the market isn't better than actively listening to your customers and providing them with helpful solutions that target their pain points. Experiment with A/B testing, customer surveys and in-depth data analysis to learn more about your audience.
Search Engine Journal also noted that brands should attempt to "break through organizational silos to build holistic, consistent content marketing strategies that provide a positive experience to customers at every step of their journey."
The amount of change you implement will be proportionate to what your customers need and how your market evolves throughout the year. Marketing Land indicated that this makes an agile marketing strategy a favorable option for meeting customers' needs in real time. Some businesses will stay the course and ride the wave of success enjoyed in 2017, while others will implement ongoing changes to ramp up performance.
Still not sure how to tackle your 2018 marketing plan? You're not alone. Reach out to an experienced marketing professional for advice on moving your business forward in the new year.