How to Run a Marketing Review Ahead of the New Year

We share our top tips on how to effectively plan your year ahead and make the most of what you are going to create in your marketing.

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We are suckers for a good review as a company. At Alt Marketing School, we prioritise 30-day reports, weekly updates, and 90-day reviews. We also allocate a full day for a year-end marketing review – and always do one with members of our student community,

Understanding your marketing growth and assessing the changes in trends and performance is so important. So, why should you conduct a 90-day review for marketing?

While these evaluation are invaluable for marketing teams, solo marketers can also benefit immensely from this reflective exercise.

“By recording your marketing aspirations and objectives on paper, you initiate the journey of molding your brand’s voice and outreach. Take control of your brand’s narrative.”

Mark Victor Hansen

Remember Your Marketing Objectives

The foundational question to begin with is simple: How did your marketing objectives fare?

Kickstart the review by revisiting the marketing goals you outlined for the previous period (quarterly or annually) and measure the milestones you’ve achieved.

By this, we assume that you allocated time at the onset of the year or quarter for goal-setting.

Key Marketing Aspects to Reassess

  • What marketing strategies do I want to refine this year?
  • Which marketing milestones am I aiming for?
  • Are there any new campaigns or promotional activities I wish to roll out?
  • How can I expand my target demographic or influence in the upcoming year?

For many marketers, visual mood boards act as a beacon, translating their objectives into tangible visuals. Platforms like Etsy are treasure troves for mood board inspirations or even Pinterest.

Beyond the aesthetic representations, it’s imperative to delve deep into your marketing KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) and targets. If this is uncharted territory for you, fret not! A step-by-step guide awaits you at the conclusion of this article.

Step One: Reviewing Marketing Outcomes and Procedures

After revisiting your marketing goals and the strategic timeline for the past duration (typically a year), compartmentalise your findings into two categories: Achievements and Pending Tasks.

  • You can visually organise this using a mood board or jot it down in your preferred digital tool or notebook.
  • If, over the past year, you’ve felt swamped, found it hard to maintain focus, or seemed to be perpetually buried under marketing tasks, it’s likely that you haven’t been tracking your time efficiently.
  • Document a breakdown of how your marketing hours are distributed weekly. It’s crucial to be meticulous here. Capture both macro and micro tasks – from strategising ad campaigns to scheduling social media posts.

Having this log will be indispensable as you transition into some reflective questions.

Step Two: Ask Reflective Questions

Now, after evaluating your marketing achievements, it’s crucial to delve deeper and introspect. Reflecting on past marketing campaigns is vital to strategizing for future success.

Consider these probing questions for your accomplishments:

  • Which marketing strategies would you want to amplify?
  • Which tactics do you believe should be scaled back or discontinued?
  • Which campaigns or methods yielded the best ROI?
  • Which strategies flopped or didn’t generate the expected results?

Next, cast your eye over the unaccomplished goals:

  • What barriers hindered the realisation of your marketing targets?
  • Did any other urgent marketing tasks divert your attention?
  • Is pursuing these unfinished goals still in line with your brand’s evolving direction?
  • Of all your marketing endeavours, which are you most proud of?

Jot down your reflections, identifying recurring themes and notable insights. Extra brownie points if you whip up some highlighters and coloured pens!

Do not skim over this stage, as it’s foundational for the next steps. Your marketing growth is contingent upon having clear, actionable goals.

Step Three: Revising KPIs and Implementing

Look at the data: you want to examine your targets closely. And what you have been tracking and measuring, and see if they are helping you get closer to the goals you’re trying to reach. 

Assessing that first will allow you to spot blind areas that need your attention right now. If your email stats are going through the roof and produce results, there is no reason for you not to keep doing what you’re doing. 

However, if you see patterns changing, you might want to ask yourself what you’re producing that is not currently working. We split our stats into specific areas, including social media content, email marketing, and overall marketing messaging and direction. 

Find the marketing areas that are key to your growth that you want to oversee and track. We ask ourselves specific questions, no matter what.

  • Does this area help us achieve our marketing goals?
  • Has this resulted in new leads, brand visibility, or sales?
  • Have we seen a positive change based on our focus in this area?

Time to Implement

Before thinking about what to do based on your answers, choose for each of them up to three or four metrics that you think can be relevant for the next 90 days – our metrics tend to shift every six months to a year. 

Be open to changing your metrics when you need to adapt to what will bring you the best results. After that, we make sure to look at the different areas and find one course of action we can take. 

Suppose we find that any of these is not performing at its best. Instead of throwing everything out the window and seeing what sticks, we make sure we think about one implementation.

Look at the metrics now and ask yourself:

  • Has this area been growing in the past 90 days?
  • Were our latest changes/implementations worth the effort?
  • Which successes can we recall in this area (emails, social, etc.)?

There could be countless reasons some areas of your marketing are suffering. However, I want to give you the ones that most often I see people struggling with:

  1. Not dedicating enough time to a specific area
  2. The messaging is outdated or no longer relevant to the audience
  3. The target audience has changed during the past quarter
  4. Your content is inconsistent and unclear in its value
  5. What you are offering is not relevant to your target market

Bonus Step: Visualisation for Motivation

Consider assembling a marketing-centric mood board. Harness old magazines or print-outs of inspiring online content, and let your creativity flow on this board.

Embracing a more holistic perspective, even considering your life beyond marketing tasks, can infuse you with the energy needed for your brand’s evolution.

Visual cues often serve as robust motivators. Envisioning your marketing milestones for the upcoming year can propel you towards their attainment. While a daily plan might be overkill, periodic reminders about overarching goals and their associated deadlines can be invaluable.

Step Four: Celebrate Your Marketing Wins

Reserving this best step for the end, it’s important to acknowledge the importance of self-recognition!

Before you gear up to conquer the marketing world in the upcoming year, pause and bask in the accolades of the past year’s marketing efforts.

Merely jotting down milestones is not enough; they deserve a grand showcase.

Celebrate with colleagues, announce them to friends, or even pen down a success story for your LinkedIn network.

Amplify the impact of each milestone by coupling them with relevant metrics, client testimonials, or a snapshot of campaign’s outcomes.

Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back with affirmations like, “Kudos to me, I nailed it!”

By evaluating your strategies, celebrating wins, and dissecting pitfalls, you collectively pave the way for a marketing journey that’s not just data-driven, but also creatively refreshing and customer-centric.

May your strategies be bold, impact profound, and stories, unforgettable. May the New Year be the spearhead of endless possibilities!

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