One essential characteristic of a marketing plan for any pet business is flexibility: having room in the process for testing, failure, change and improvement.
The key to maximizing the benefit of this flexibility is a dedication to monitoring and measurement.
A mid-year evaluation provides the forum for everyone involved to present his or her accomplishments to date, understand the success of the original plan, and determine whether it is best to stay the course or change direction for the remainder of the year.
Below are the four essentials to a successful mid-year marketing evaluation for your pet products or services:
TOP DOWN ATTENDANCE
This meeting’s purpose is to evaluate whether marketing strategies and initiatives are on track to meet the goals and objectives of the business, therefore, requires the presence all those who help execute or who are impacted by marketing initiatives.
The mid-year marketing evaluation should be a priority for the company and include everyone from the top down, including the CEO, each member of the executive team that had buy-in or sign-off on the plan from the beginning of the year, as well as representatives from sales, business development, and outside marketing consultants.
FOCUS THE TEAM
A half-day, offsite meeting will focus the team, underscore the importance of this exercise, and ensure that you have committed the time necessary to flesh out learnings from the first half of the year and recommit to a more successful latter half.
The agenda for the meeting should include an honest assessment of your marketing efforts, an unbiased appraisal of the results you have garnered versus the success measurements you put in place, and refinement of the plan as deemed appropriate by those in attendance.
LOOK INSIDE AND OUT
The success of this process will be anchored in the team’s ability to be brutally honest about the success of each initiative you review.
You will want to ensure that your discussion includes both an internal and external focus.
- Did each initiative meet your benchmark for success and what factors supported or undermined the success of the tactic?
- Did the allocation of your resources impact the success of your strategies and tactics?
- Are your current vendors delivering on the objectives you set for them?
- Are your resources aligned correctly?
- Do you need to further supplement your team with outside help to meet the year’s goals?
- Are you accomplishing everything by the set deadline, or did you overshoot and compromise your team’s success?
- Do you have the bandwidth to take on new initiatives and execute them successfully?
- And looking outward, what have you learned about the pet parents you’re trying to reach?
In the development of your original plan, you defined your target market and set forth messaging and tactics you felt would resonate with that audience. Take this time to explore whether you were correct.
- Is your messaging connecting with your target pet parents?
- What campaigns have worked and why?
- What have your competitors done that have resonated with key markets in the pet industry?
All of this information can be utilized to further hone your message, redirect your efforts or, in an extreme case, redefine your target market.
END WITH A PLAN
Your schedule should also allow time to celebrate achievements, refocus on strategic business goals, remind the team of items that may have fallen off the radar, and address new opportunities and threats.
By the end of the meeting, you should be able to cut your least-performing marketing activities, adjust moderately performing activities, double down on your best, and determine what new initiatives you may want to take on.
By taking the time and effort to hold a mid-year evaluation, you improve the effectiveness of your marketing strategy, ensure that all activities are supporting overall business objectives, and expand corporate visibility of marketing’s impact on overall business success.
Looking for more? Check out our Resources page for even more information that can support your marketing and the growth of your business!