How to Do a Year-End Marketing Review
A year-end marketing review, or an end-of-year (EOY), is more than taking a quick glance at Google Analytics to look at year-over-year (YoY) website traffic or solely reporting on whether or not your business goals and your key performance indicators were met. In fact, it is the culmination of the team’s work and all of your marketing activities for the year.
An end-of-the-year marketing review should be a summary of both the success and failures of the marketing plan. In addition, it is important to highlight the learning or actionable insights that came with them. This information can then be applied and help you plan for the year ahead. Preparation is the key to compiling a good year-end review.
How to Do a Year-End Marketing Review
There are three fundamental questions to answer when starting to prepare your year-end marketing review.
- What is the role of marketing?
- What should be in the review?
- Who is going to see it or, hopefully, read it?
Once you have answered these questions, the review can then be tailored to a particular audience.
It could be argued that the role of marketing is simply to attract new customers and retain existing customers through brand promotion by using different marketing channels.
What should be in the year-end marketing review?
Think about what you would like to be handed. A good review will:
- Display information in a self-explanatory visual way, to reduce clarification questions
- Contain comprehensive results
- Source and use data and information from different sources to validate results
- Showcase the performance and role of the marketing team, without sugar-coating it
- Paint a vision of the future
Moreover, a good review will include and score performance benchmarks and list actionable insights. Preparation, therefore, involves gathering the information and answers that will make for a comprehensive, interesting, and honest review. Furthermore, it should be a platform for launching discussions and new ideas on how to promote the brand and products or services, in the next financial period.
Regardless of how or where it is packaged in the review, there is certain content you should always include when conducting a year-end review. Here are some suggestions of what to include:
The purpose of reviewing results is to measure the marketing efforts and the marketing department’s contribution to the company’s bottom-line profits. In fact, it is important to distinguish between above-the-line contributions, associated with new customers (lead generation), and the embedded value of retained customers. It is also important to measure the spending of existing clients.
The biggest expense of a company is arguably new customer acquisition. Therefore, it is imperative to show how existing customers are providing a return on investment for the cost of their acquisition.
Measure the bottom line contribution as a percentage of the marketing budget, in order to calculate the return on the investment in marketing.
Performance results from the various platforms used for promotions should be included. This could include how much free mainstream media exposure was achieved on TV, in traditional press, through online channels, and in social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). These results should be juxtaposed with the previous review period and measured against benchmarks and targets.
Unlike certain vanity metrics, customer loyalty and spending are good examples of key performance indicators (KPIs) that can be used to improve business decisions. KPIs and Metrics should be a key focus of the sales and marketing departments. Some companies tend to focus their marketing spending only on attracting new customers. For example, they offer newcomer deals and promotions.
It is important to measure existing customer spending as this will be a reflection of their satisfaction with, and perception of, a company. After all, customers vote with their feet.
Market Research and Competitor Performance
Competitive analysis has to do with market share as well as the share of customers. Benchmarking market share is crucial when measuring performance. It is also vital to understand how much of a customer’s budget is being spent with your company and the opposition too.
Another important component of a competitor review is an analysis of their branding, products or services, and systems. You should always know what your competitors are better than your company at, and vice versa. This will give the sales department the inside track when pitching the business.
Understanding competitors’ strengths will also give the research and development department an area to focus on. Understanding competitors, and benchmarking market share and customer share, can succinctly inform our own strategy.
A year-end marketing review is not just a review of past performance. It is an opportunity to set the scene for the time ahead, and to find and ask the right questions. Once that has been completed, the answers can then be explored. A year-end marketing review will help a company to focus on setting short-term, mid-term, and long-term marketing goals and expectations.
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