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Time For A Check-Up: Marketing Strategies For A Successful Second Half
Do you remember “report card day” at school? There was always an element of excitement in the air, often mixed with a bit of trepidation. While you pretty much knew what to expect going into school that day, it wasn’t really official until you saw those grades in black and white.
Here we are, all these years later, and we’re still being graded — except that now, report cards have been replaced by quarterly reports, and there’s a lot more riding on the results.
As we enter the second half of 2014, there’s no doubt you’ll be analyzing the performance of your marketing campaigns over the last two quarters. You’ll also be looking ahead to see how you can make the most of the remainder of the year.
To keep you on track, or perhaps make up for lost time, here are six recommendations to put in place now to ensure you meet or exceed your 2014 marketing goals.
1. Marketing Goals
Align — or realign — your marketing goals with the company’s business goals. Like most marketers, you likely developed your 2014 plan late last fall. While you’ve probably made adjustments along the way, are you sure that your plan for the second half of this year maps to where the company is headed?
Keep in mind that influences such as new product developments or delays, market consolidation (including acquisitions by your company or competitors), and unanticipated shifts in the industry may interrupt the best-laid plans.
Before you move forward on new marketing campaigns, check to see if they align with where the CEO is leading the company over the next six to 18 months.
2. Attribution Models
Ensure that your attribution models are both measurable and transparent. Whether the customer journey is a long and winding road or a one-stop path to conversion, be sure that your attribution models accurately identify and appropriately reward each marketing channel’s contribution to the sale, according to their level of involvement.
- Recognizing the channels that assisted in the sale as well as those that drove the final conversion.
- Taking into account the impact of complementary channels that, when combined, drive conversion at a faster rate as opposed to operating in silos or cancelling each other out.
- Applying different attribution models to reflect the goals of the campaign, the role of each channel, and the overall customer journey. Remember that relying on the same model for each campaign, such as last-click or first-touch, is limiting. Specifically, it presents a myopic view of performance, provides a skewed view of your target audience, and can potentially alienate the teams behind the different marketing channels involved in the sale.
3. Performance Marketing Programs
If you’re running performance marketing programs, spend time reconnecting with your publisher community so you can update them on your campaigns and goals, collectively brainstorm on new ideas, and better understand what they need from you to be more successful.
To inspire affiliates and boost results, you may want to consider the following three ideas.
- Present exclusive offers on high-value items. This will motivate your publishers while further demonstrating your commitment to their success.
- Increase incentives for your biggest campaigns. Let’s say you have a huge product launch coming up or the majority of your business happens during the holiday rush. These are the ideal times to increase your incentives for publishers.
- Recognize and reward your highest performers. The top five percent of your affiliates should be acknowledged for their efforts and rewarded accordingly.
4. Joint Marketing Opportunities
Explore these marketing opportunities with business partners. While it’s likely you have strong partnerships in place, are you maximizing the potential of these relationships? Are there new partnerships you’d like to establish that could help elevate your market presence?
As you strive to reach your year-end goals, don’t overlook the business partner ecosystem. It’s a great way to accelerate product development efforts, be introduced to new audiences, and increase overall awareness of your company.
Additionally, many of the larger organizations have dedicated marketing resources that will collaborate with you on joint campaigns and events. This essentially enables you to double your marketing efforts without doubling your budget.
Use the next few months to initiate new relationships and reengage your existing partners and then work together on rolling out your fourth quarter marketing campaigns.
5. Analytics Data
Dig into your data and use analytics to identify trends, gain more insight into customer behavior, and better understand how past performance influences future results. Some key elements you’ll want to explore more closely include:
- Year-over-year peak sales days as well as peak conversion hours.
- Device preferences for both browsing and executing transactions.
- Online and offline traffic patterns.
If you apply more sophisticated analytics to your marketing data you’ll have more precision in your campaign execution and, therefore, stronger results.
6. Improve Your Bottom Line
Identify the areas within your organization that could be leaner and meaner as this will also help you reach your goals and improve the bottom line.
For example, are there skills gaps that could be addressed through a one-day or one-week training program or by outsourcing the function? Can you streamline your approach to analyzing campaign results? Are there ways to cut costs without compromising the quality of your product or your brand image?
If you take a closer look at your marketing functions, you may uncover new ways to improve efficiencies.
When you sit down with your teams to develop your new marketing campaigns, don’t just think about the creative ideas. Keep these six recommendations top of mind as the operational and behind-the-scenes strategy and tactics are equally important.
(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.