2015 New Year’s Marketing Resolution 2: The critic’s review

Reviewing your business

Our first post in this series took a look at why it’s smart to plan and what to think about when you’re making your initial schedule for the year. Part of the planning activity involves, of course, reviewing the previous year’s trends, both for your business and in the wider market.

Get introspective

Now we all know that excessive naval gazing isn’t healthy, and should generally be reserved for poets and lyricists. But focusing on what’s going on internally (to your business – there’s no requirement to Talk About Feelings here) every so often is a positive and educational activity. And what better time to do it than at the beginning of the year?

Reviewing the previous year alone doesn’t, of course, tell you very much in and of itself. Go back to 2013 – and 2012 if you have the stats – and compare them against each other. If you’ve been a diligent marketer over the past year or two (of course you have, or Santa wouldn’t have brought you such lovely presents, right?) then you’ll have your KPIs all nicely tabled in a spread sheet or other such document that enables you to compare figures fairly easily. If you tend to rely on an analytical tool such as Google Analytics, again this information is readily available at the touch of a button.

Compare your business’ performance, both month on month and year on year to identify changes in the trends, and think about what factors have affected your digital strategy. Perhaps you had more budget for email marketing in 2013, or outsourced your PPC in 2014, which accounts for dips or spikes in the channels. Also factor in any increased traffic that may have been a result of taking part in exhibitions or events.

Once identified, general trends can be applied to the coming year. If you’re a tour operator, for example, your bookings may spike in January and February when people are suffering from the back-to-work-blues, and then again in May and June when the last minuters are aiming to get a late deal. The traffic might then dip in July and August while everyone is taking their holidays. This sort of trend can often be reasonably consistent, and can therefore be applied to 2015.

Step outside

Once you’ve identified what’s been going on within the business, take a look outside it at the wider trends. Let’s run with the tour operator example from above. What were the search volumes like for terms that relate to your business in 2013 and 2014? Key phrases to run checks on here might be, “all-inclusive holidays in Spain” or “best hotels in Majorca”. See if you can correlate the peaks and troughs in the general market with what happened at your business.

Other useful sources of market information are Mintel and Experian Hitwise. These services have a charge, but the insights can prove very useful for reviewing your previous year and planning the coming one. Often, you can find predictions for future trends in such reports, which can help with determining what to target and how to communicate your messages.

Don’t forget to review the channel preferences of your target audience too. Although these may remain largely the same from one year to the next, there are always shifts as new social channels are adopted or improvements are made to search engine algorithms. Make sure you know where your demographic is most likely to find your content, and tailor it to them.

It will also be worth taking a look at how people are searching for your products. Big developments such as Google’s ability to interpret natural language will no doubt have an impact on the way people search in 2015. Review the phrases that have the highest search volumes for your business and ensure you monitor any changes throughout the year.

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2015 New Year’s Marketing Resolution 2: The critic’s review
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2015 New Year’s Marketing Resolution 2: The critic’s review
Advice on reviewing your trends from previous years

About Charli Carlton

Charli is head of content at Minerva Copywriting. When not producing great copy, she can usually be found daydreaming about exotic holiday destinations or in the pub with her mates.