With two quarters of data and experience behind you, the middle of the year presents an ideal opportunity to take stock of how your marketing strategy has been performing. While we all hope to craft that perfect strategy that drives growth and sales for years to come, the reality is that the marketing landscape changes fast. A lot can happen in six months, and what worked in January may already be irrelevant by Q3. As you take this moment to check in on your current strategy, ask yourself the following important questions.
Are You Reaching Your Goals?
What did you want to accomplish in 2022? Take a moment to look at your organizational goals as well as any marketing or sales objectives, because they are all connected. It can be easy to lose sight of larger goals, so view this half-way point as an opportunity to reassess what you hoped to accomplish in 2022 and how close you are to achieving those goals.
Adjust your strategy accordingly, and don’t be afraid to add new goals or revise old ones. Remember that it’s okay to tweak your plans too. The important thing is that you are setting attainable goals and making a plan to reach each one.
What’s Working Well?
How do your sales to date compare to last year’s sales? What about your gross margins? Are sales for any specific brands higher than they were previously? Can you correlate that to any specific brand promotions? Is any single campaign or message garnering higher than average clicks or comments online? Ask yourself these question to discover what strategies may or may not be working.
Don’t forget to take a look at the intangibles as well. These aren’t quite as easy to measure, but they can still help you gauge how things are going. For example, when you look back at the last six months of online reviews, is there a common theme in what customers are saying? Check in with your staff as well—either informally or with a brief survey—to get their feedback on how things are going this year. What kinds of feedback are they getting from clients?
One word of caution: in our experience, it takes about six months for any new campaign to start to have an impact on foot traffic in the showroom. We rarely suggest to a client that they make major changes to a campaign strategy at this point in the year. However, this is still a good time to evaluate your processes and implementation.
If you’re looking at digital campaigns, are there any new features or products that you want to add to your promotion? Does a manufacturer have new creative available that you can use? Do you need to make an adjustment to what you’re promoting based on inventory issues? Can you fine-tune your targeting to better align with your ideal buyer persona?
What Haven’t You Done Yet?
Don’t think of the glass as half empty. We’re only halfway through the year and there’s still plenty of time to achieve your goals, but you do need a plan. Identify any areas where you need to pick up the pace or tasks that you haven’t started yet and map out how you’re going to get there.
Mid-year is also the perfect time to evaluate your manufacturer funding. There may be more money that wasn’t on the table in January. Don’t hesitate to put together a detailed plan and ask your rep about more funds.
What Does the Data Say?
If you aren’t keeping an eye on your analytics, you need to make that part of your routine. Digital advertising and promotion give you the ability to track things that previous generations could only guess at. You don’t have to hire a data analyst to stay on top of things either.
Set some realistic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) if you haven’t already, and then make a point to routinely check in on your progress. Setting and tracking KPIs will allow you to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, whether it is your e-mail campaign or your digital advertising strategy. These metrics will also allow you to set realistic expectations for your current strategy, as well as present major opportunities for growth that you might not have otherwise discovered.
You’ve worked hard to ensure that your marketing plan is up-to-date and ready for 2022. That being said, you should not just assume that your strategies will be successful all year long. Instead, view this half-way point as an opportunity to learn from six months’ worth of data and experience. Who knows? You just might find opportunities for improvement that can put you ahead of your competitors.