With only 6 weeks left until 2010 business half-time, there is no better time than the present to assess your work-in-progress marketing successes, challenges and balance of year opportunities. Here are 3 suggestions for your mid-year marketing review process all focused on macro marketing viewpoints. If you’re a business owner, marketing manager, or Fortune 500 executive, you are likely on the hook for reviewing and reporting on the state of your business as we close out the second quarter of 2010. Many companies have rigid processes for mid-year reviews, some have none. Here are my suggested best practices that should evidence your strong areas, identify weaknesses, and give you big picture insight into where you should focus attention in the remaining 6 months of the year. By now, you’ve read enough Merit Mile blogs to recognize we are big believers in planned success.
In short, you will want to measure mid-year performance on both macro marketing initiatives and micro marketing initiatives, but let’s center this dialog on the larger aspects of your marketing business. Every business is unique to a degree, but if you modify these suggestions to include your own business terminology and idiosyncrasies, these reports will certainly be useful measuring sticks for your organization.
How did your organization (company, department) perform against your plan for the first 6 months of the year? These reports are simple, quantitative and evocative. In addition to the mid-year gross revenue number, isolate performance month over month and year over year. Create a simple mechanism that allows you to visually measure revenue so you can quickly identify trends.
All good marketers recognize the need to not only straddle the line between sales and marketing, but also make it your business to be a healthy if not aggressive revenue champion. # *Budget Reports* How has your organization performed against the level of spending approved for the first 6 months of the year? In addition to the total spend, look at your line items. Is the pay-per-click budget in line with forecast? Did you under-spend in some areas that may allow you to increase budgets in higher performing tactics for the balance of year? One report that will get your CFOs attention is the marketing spend to revenue ratio. There is no rule of thumb or industry standard metric on this topic, but create one that is applicable to your environment.
This report will be very useful for mid-year review as well as your 2011 planning and budgeting exercises down the road. # *Headcount and Resource Reports* Are headcount and associated expenses on par with plan? Turnover in an organization or a department can wildly impact the bottom line. If you’re noticing a trend, try to isolate the root cause and even consider an internal audit to improve this hugely important aspect of your business. How about agency fees; are they scaling up or down based on your service levels and deliverables? Don’t be afraid to get better aligned with your agency. If they have not gotten on your calendar for a mid-year planning session, be sure to make this a priority. The closer you are aligned with your agency, staff and partners, the better they will perform. If you find yourself lost on how to create these reports, there is hope. From an Excel spreasheet, to your QuickBooks accounting software, to Salesforce.com, these and many other valuable reports are easily created. What’s more, once you create them, pulling these reports in real-time will be easy and painless.