July, where have you gone? We’re in the thick of summer and officially halfway through the 2019 calendar year, which means now is a great time to follow up with your personal and professional resolutions. Before we jump into a full revamp, first thing’s first—let’s take a moment to celebrate your midyear accomplishments.
You may have executed your summer marketing or branding initiatives—congrats! Maybe your clients are more engaged with your content, or employee satisfaction and retention is at an all-time high. Whatever your accomplishment, it deserves to be celebrated with a victory dance, snaps, kudos or team outing!
Now that the year’s half over (or is it half full?), we like to look at the month of July as the sunnier and much warmer January. It’s important to carve out time for a midyear reflection to revise your marketing strategy for the next six months. Evaluate what worked and what didn’t and identify what needs to change. It’s your opportunity to reflect, reset and redirect your budget, tactics, energies, and efforts.
At Ervin & Smith, we believe that in order to visualize and prepare for long-term success, strategic planning in six-month spurts (or shorter) can provide our clients with more flexibility than a traditional 12-month plan. Working this way allows our team to keep a finger on the pulse of an organization’s most important business objectives/goals so that, as your agency, we can adjust, reprioritize and regroup as needed—all while celebrating the mini (yet oh-so-important) milestones along the way.
Three things to keep in mind when evaluating your midyear marketing efforts:
1. Your business objectives/goals may have shifted.
The first half of the year came and went (fast), and you’re likely in a consistent groove. But don’t get too comfortable. Industry trends and consumer demands change at a breakneck speed, so chances are your goals have slightly shifted—and if that’s the case, your marketing strategy should, too.
We get it: priorities change. It happens all the time. In fact, in a meeting with one of our clients a few weeks ago, we discovered their focus for the year is no longer aligned with the plan we established in March. So as their agency, we’re actively reallocating their remaining 2019 budget on the fly so we can create things that matter to them and ensure our efforts are directly aligned with their latest priorities.
If you’ve noticed a shift in your approach or objectives, ask yourself:
- Will our current strategy work to meet our adjusted objectives? (The answer may be “yes,” and that’s OK, too!)
- What challenges are we experiencing that I didn’t anticipate?
- Does our message still align with our brand or campaign objective?
- When was the last time we truly evaluated our core audiences? Are we still attracting those audiences or are there others that are more engaged with our brand/business?
- Are there new spaces where our audiences are spending their time?
- On social platforms?
- In email?
- In person?
- Websites outside of ours?
2. Technology has changed.
Well, of course, it has! The technology and software around us are constantly evolving—getting smarter, faster, more intuitive. They allow marketers and developers to customize user experience (UX) and the features and functions of a digital campaign. They can also provide valuable insights on overall campaign performance. But, when updates occur it’s not uncommon to experience hiccups in how, when and where ads are being served, or not served.
For example, when Facebook experienced the data breaches this past year, they decided to reposition themselves as a privacy-focused platform. Their current priorities are to provide private and encrypted digital platforms that will allow for more intimate and secure communication among users. This means they are making constant updates to Facebook’s privacy settings—which in turn directly affect their ad platforms by limiting or updating preferences to the targeting options of an ad set. Ultimately, these changes can affect who (and how many people) can view your content, and when.
If you’ve noticed some interruptions, ask yourself these questions:
- Do our software and CRM tools have any new APIs we should be integrating?
- Have we seen a halt to campaign conversions, when the campaign was previously successful?
- Is our ad still approved and appearing in users’ feeds?
- Are the metrics matching up with the third-party reporting that we see internally?
- Are the pixels correctly placed on our site or page?
Change happens for a (usually good) reason—software updates take place to improve a current system, process or connection. Our marketing team takes pride in staying in-the-know on industry-related software and tech changes to ensure whatever campaign we’re running, our clients’ budgets and ads are optimized and performing at their best.
Some campaigns live long, healthy lives. Others need to be refreshed frequently. It’s all about finding the sweet spot of what your business wants to say and what your audience wants to hear.
3. Your campaign performance might be stalled.
Campaign messaging and creative will inevitably go stale at some point. The goal is to keep your audience intrigued and engaged by updating content, creative or landing pages.
If you find that your efforts or performance have plateaued, take a birds-eye view and ask your team:
- Are we still converting people with our current offer/message?
- Are we targeting the right people? (If people are generally disengaged, a tweak to your targeting could help revive the ad/campaign.)
- Is the user’s journey seamless, and does it still make sense?
- What is it about the creative that your team likes and doesn’t like? Is this aligned with what you hear from your customers?
- Does our call to action make sense with the message and business objective?
Whether you’re on track and in a groove or shifting gears, schedule some time to sit down and give thought to your current marketing efforts and whether they’re still aligned with your goals for the remainder of the year.
The glass is half full—you have six months left to make incredible things happen! And if you need some guidance, you know we’ve got your back.