The last quarter of the financial year is normally the time when most marketing organizations are trying to figure out what to do with the money that’s left for the year. While its not always the case when there is excess money, but it sure does happen. There could be multiple reasons why organizations or marketing professionals find themselves in this situation. Some that I have encountered are:
- The product launch campaigns I had originally planned for did not materialize
- Some of the events we planned for earlier in the year, were truly not worthwhile, leaving us with extra money
- Our travel and incidental budget was not fully utilized
- We had budgeted too much for our creative budget
It is always good to be as close to the forecasted budget as possible. Additionally, there is added pressure to ensure that the money is spent because it impacts your ability to ask for more in the upcoming year.
While it is good to focus on the marketing budget spend for your organization, the end of the year is a good opportunity for every marketing professional to do a post-mortem of the current year’s marketing campaigns and tactics to determine success and failures. Some pertinent questions are:
- Why marketing campaigns did not living up to the promise?
- What specific campaigns were never set up to succeed?
- If too much was spent to close specific opportunities that were never destined to close
- Why the conversion targets expected at the beginning of the year did not materialize?
- What did we do right and how can we continue to do it better?
Answers to these questions will most likely make you realize that optimizing returns of investment for a marketing campaign is a hard task. It’s not an impossible task, but hard nonetheless, especially since the marketing campaign tactics are ever changing to reflect the changes occurring in the market. So, as you find yourself in this situation, how do you ensure your marketing budget is most efficiently used for next year’s campaigns and tactics? Here are few questions I ask of my team during our planning cycle.
- How much of the marketing activity actually influenced revenue?
- Did we have the right metrics defined to measure the success?
- Are we measuring against industry benchmarks?
- Are the sales and marketing organizations on the same page regarding success measures?
- How much resources waste could you avoid in the upcoming year?
These questions are not just limited to the beginning of the planning cycle, but are good indicators of success your marketing campaigns can deliver. So, like any good marketer would do, use them to evaluate your quarterly success to ensure your marketing campaigns are o the right track. Because, your success ultimately depends on brand awareness, capturing thought leadership in the market, creating market awareness for the value your solution brings, and most importantly, getting more customers to buy your solution.