Over lunch my friend described the duress his associates were going through because of a switch from a fixed- to zero-based budgeting. In essence, department heads could no longer use last year’s budget adjusted for inflation. They instead had to cost justify each expenditure line item by line item. These are the signs of tighter times where ideally every dime spent brings in a return.
Regardless of which accounting system your company uses, be a good corporate citizen this year by conducting a marketing audit. December is a great month to reflect and plan given business-as-usual stalls due to the holidays, vacations, and in some cases inclement weather.
In a financial audit an accountant or analyst tears the books apart and helps the company put things back together in a more systemized order. In a marketing audit, chief marketing officers, and preferably an independent consultant, evaluate your company’s marketing assets, programs, and results. An audit answers the question, “ Have marketing goals been met?” “Why or why not?” “Which marketing channels are working best for us and why?” “Where do we need to put the bulk of our budget next year in direct mail or variable data printing?”
“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.”
My recommendation is to secure a conference room and pin each piece of each multi-channel campaign around the room with index cards pinned beneath with the results of that campaign, advertising push, PR blitz, or cause marketing piece.
The immediate visual of seeing your work pasted on four walls will tell you:
- if you were consistent with style and brand
- if you built in ample lead pull into your campaigns
- if the call to action hits you between the eyes or was weak
- if the drop and delivery dates made for a cohesive story or diluted your efforts
- if your direct mail pulled more than your email or vice versa
- if your PURL copy clinched the sale or fell flat
- if you could combine campaigns for more oomph or if you are running so few campaigns it’s a wonder that you can generate any calls or sales
I guarantee you will see things you missed during the campaign. Then invite some friends and colleagues in to review your work – feel free to call me, I’m happy to review your campaigns – no charge and no strings. With the help of outside perspective you will definitely gain views you can use next year. The single best way to spend wisely and increase ROI is by doing a marketing audit and revamping your 2012 budget with the lessons learned. May you have a Happy New Year filled with rocking marketing campaigns.