It’s year end. Holidays are around the corner, scopes are coming together for 2019, budgets are being examined and, perhaps, you’re sitting back and asking yourself how could 2018 have gone better?
If you hired an agency to help with your integrated marketing efforts, start with them to find the answer to that important question. Begin by asking yourself, and your agency, these importantly insightful questions:
1. What sold, and why?
Just like your executive team looks at what widget sold the most in a particular quarter or across the year, look back at the year to determine what marketing efforts were the most successful according to your KPIs, and break down why. To do this well, you probably need to compare your widget’s sales and try and correlate which marketing tactics pushed the most product or services out the door. Don’t just look at engagement, and surely don’t consider clicks or impressions as insightful data. Spend the time and dive in, then take those learnings and integrate it more extensively in 2019.
2. What worked for you competitors?
It’s a lost cause and a big distraction to try to keep up with the Jones’. It takes you away from your work, your goals and supporting strategies. But, once a year it’s worth the time to look back and see where you were out hustled, out strategized, or out spent. There are certain realities in marketing, and two of them are pretty obvious: bigger budgets and better ideas (but not always both) often win. So if you’re not winning you need to know why, and what to do about it.
3. Are we listening well enough?
It’s all right there, if you’re looking for it. Your current or future customers are telling you exactly what they want, how they want it, where and when it should happen. The greatest asset to a marketing team is the digital information and listening availability, but are you really listening. Are you hearing ideas from your customers, or picking up early complaints or possible issues, before they become mainstream? It’s a competitive advantage you can’t afford to be without.
4. Are all your agency partners playing nicely?
The days of agency silos are long gone. It just doesn’t make business sense anymore because the pace of marketing in a digital+traditional world happens too quickly. All ideas, strategies, campaigns, and teams need to be integrated to take ideas and apply them across the right channels…all the time. It’s inefficient, and therefore too expensive, to be having meetings with each agency partner, asking them to put together their plan and then trying to sync it all together. Consumers are place and media agnostic, being only concerned about speed and accessibility. You and your agency need to be as well.
5. What keeps you, and your agency, up a night?
As nebulous as this may seem, it’s probably the most important question you can ask yourself and your agency in a moment of candor and partnership. After all, any client+agency relationship is built on a foundation of trust, which demands professional honestly. Make no mistake, this doesn’t need to a time to rant about budget or billings, but can be a great time to for an agency partner to help solve a different business problem, or for a client to better explain particular rationale.