It’s almost end of financial year. If you haven’t written your marketing plan for next financial year already, then now is the time. It’s no good staring at next year’s financial target worrying about how you’re going to achieve it. Get your thoughts and numbers down on paper and you’ll quickly see in black and white if you’re on the right track.
This is the first of two end of financial year blog posts on how to get your marketing into ship shape for next financial year. It starts at Step One: evaluate your performance this year.
Step 1: Evaluate End of Financial Year Results
Review Your Results Against Your Objectives
Now that it’s June you can produce almost a full financial year’s worth of data to evaluate your performance. Pull out the marketing goals and metrics you set for this financial year – it’s time to assess what worked and what didn’t.
- Get your data and report your actual results against your objectives.
- Analyse which goals you met or exceeded and which ones you didn’t meet.
- Look for the big differences. For example, if you overachieved the number of leads generated by 20 percent, did you set the bar too low?
- Dig deeper to understand marketing channels and activities help you achieve your goals.
- Put them in a pile labelled “Keep”. You’ll want these for next year’s marketing plan to replicate and enhance them.
What If I Didn’t Set Any Marketing Goals?
It’s surprising but many businesses invest thousands of dollars in marketing without any clearly defined objectives. It might be you’ve tried some new marketing techniques for the first time and you didn’t know how it would pan out. That’s okay. You will definitely set marketing goals for next year, won’t you?
If you didn’t set specific marketing goals you can still evaluate your performance retrospectively. Consider your broader business goals. Every business owner I’ve ever met is very interested in growing their sales.
Review in Hindsight
One of the best ways to evaluate your sales performance in hindsight is to use a marketing funnel model. To complete this you’ll need three pieces of data:
- Your end of financial year sales results (or close to the final number given you’re in June).
- The number of quotes/proposals/bookings/items in your shopping cart this year.
- The number of leads/inquiries/visitors to your eCommerce store.
Put the numbers against your sales funnel and work out your conversion rates. These can form the basis of your leading and lagging sales metrics for next financial year.
Did you achieve your revenue or gross profit target? If not, why? Did you have the marketing program in place to generate leads and convert prospects to customers? If not, this is going to be one of the first marketing goals you set for next financial year.
What didn’t work?
Not every marketing activity results in millions of dollars of sales flowing into your bank account. Some activities are a flop. That’s okay, as long as you didn’t allocate your entire budget to that activity and you know what activities didn’t work and why. And not every piece of marketing that ‘doesn’t work’ is a flop. You need to match the right marketing metrics to each marketing activity. One client asked me “why bother with social media if it generates fewer quotes than other channels?” Why? Because social media creates awareness about your brand and what you do. It’s one of the places prospective customers go to ‘check you out’ as they evaluate your business. Engagement with content and growth in followers is a more effective measurement for social media success.
Other marketing activities might be a genuine flop. For example, you may spend hours each month attending a networking event and not get any leads. Or you might have a sponsorship that doesn’t reach the customers you want. Evaluate whether you can fix it, and if not, flop it. Stop putting time and money into activities that don’t generate results and focus your efforts on the activities that create wins.
Step 2: Evaluate Your Marketing Channels
Once you’ve set up your sales funnel, go back and evaluate your marketing channels. Marketing channels are the avenues customers pursue to find your business.
Examples of Digital Marketing Channels
There are many digital marketing channels however, some typical ones include:
- Advertising such as Google Ads.
- Organic search, amplified via search engine optimisation (SEO).
- Social media such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram etc.
- Email marketing.
If you have Google Analytics installed (it is a must), you can see which channels brought the most traffic to your site. And, if you’ve set up goals in Google Analytics, you can see which channels brought the most conversions. A conversion is an action a visitor takes on your site which indicates their interest in ‘doing business’. There can be small conversions, like watching a video or downloading content, or big conversions, like requesting a quote.
For confidentiality reasons, I’ve had to blank out a lot of detail on this example. However, you an see the organic channel resulted in the most goal completions for this time period, followed by direct, social, referral, paid search and email. This information is valuable to determine where you put your marketing effort and budget for next financial year.
Examples of Offline Marketing Channels
Offline marketing channels are often harder to evaluate than digital channels. Offline channels can include activities such as
- Sales calls.
- TV or print advertising.
- Direct mail.
You can use methods, such as tracking sales calls in your CRM, asking customers how they found you and using codes. They are not always reliable but may provide an indication of which channels perform best for you.
Next week, I’ll be writing about how to write your marketing plan for next financial year.