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Marketers: How's Your 2015 Half-time Report?

It's time for a mid-year evaluation to ensure that your marketing efforts are on track for the rest of the year.
Posted By Sonja Valenta, 06.09.2015

As we enter June, and the second half of the year quickly approaches, it's a good time to evaluate and tweak your 2015 marketing strategy. You can still make changes now to optimize results and impact your overall year performance.

Marketing requires proactive effort and ongoing adjustments, which makes it important to frequently take a look at what is working, what is not working and areas that can be improved. For a mid-year evaluation, you will need to have had goals and campaigns set in motion in the first place. If you didn't, don't worry, you can still follow some of the guidelines below to get started now.

Take some time to review and assess your marketing plan for the year, and identify the hits and misses. Make note of the marketing initiatives you have already completed. Were they successful—why or why not? Were there some ideas or plans that were never initiated—why or why not? What were your most and least successful campaigns? (Note: Success may be measured in different ways, depending on your goals.)

Four Key Questions for Your Evaluation:
• What goals did your company have for marketing this year?
• How are your marketing campaigns working so far?
• How do the results compare to your goals at the mid-point of the year?
• What actions can you take now to adjust your strategy to better align with your goals?

Mid-year Marketing Checkpoints and Actions

Assess your audience: To succeed in marketing, you need to be sure you are marketing accurately and to the right audience. Who are your target customers, what are they interested in, what do they read, what sites do they visit, what companies do they follow, and so forth? What are their business wants and needs? Understanding your customers will help you focus your marketing initiatives and ensure that you are reaching your target audience.

How are you reaching them? How are you attracting prospects to your business? How do you communicate with them and maintain relationships (for example, social media, e-mail, phone or face to face)? Is your branding or marketing consistent and using language that speaks to your customer or prospect effectively? Are you running enough campaigns to achieve your goal? Are there holes in your marketing efforts, or areas in which your target customers are active but you are inactive? Consider that you may need to branch out your efforts from what you are currently doing.

Spring cleaning: Evaluate your progress and invest in what works. After you have decided what is working and what isn't, try to determine if you are making the most of your efforts—do some areas simply need more attention, or to be refreshed? If not, drop the campaigns that are not generating the desired results and add in new ones that better align with your goals. Consider spending more money on the marketing channels that are performing well, then use the added investment to expand your efforts, such as by running marketing tests. Whenever possible, take the time to customize and personalize your marketing efforts.

Analyze your internal sales process: Once a lead comes in via your website, e-mail or a call, what happens? How well is your team converting those contacts into clients? If you are getting a high volume of leads but have a low conversion rate, you need to review your landing pages, forms, sales strategies and processes.

Update content: Make sure your customer and prospect touch points are up to date and presenting your company in the best and most accurate way. Update content on your website and sales materials regularly, and be sure to add new case studies and testimonials.

Refresh creative: Has your brand, your target or the market changed in any way? If so, do your marketing look and feel or copy points need to shift? It's a good idea to periodically refresh your creative, in order to stay innovative while also maintaining your brand identity.

Plan ahead for exhibitions: Trade shows require budgeting and planning several months out from the event. Be sure to make your booth selections early on and promote your participation. Take an inventory of your booth materials and consider coordinating any product launches or promotional campaigns around the event.

Make an action plan: Adjust your marketing goals (which can range from generating new business to creating brand awareness to launching a new product), and use your evaluation findings to put an action plan in place. Schedule checkpoint dates for follow-up and review. Continual check-ups are key to achieving long-term marketing success.

Marketing can be challenging, especially if you don't have adequate resources. Ideally, you should have dedicated staff members who have the experience and skills set to design and manage a strategy that fits within your budget. Whether you are just getting started or are making adjustments to your strategy, contact us today for a free consultation about how we can help you plan a strong finish to 2015.

Sonja Valenta is RFID Journal's VP of marketing. For a free consultation about your RFID marketing strategy, e-mail marketing@rfidjournal.com.

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