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End Of Financial Year Review - How Successful Was Your Marketing Expense

Jul 11, 2008
Throw your hats in the air and celebrate - it is end of financial year time again! I love end of financial year as it is a great time to reflect on what worked and what didn't for you and your business in the past year.

But ... when you look at how successful was your marketing expense in the past financial year - you need to look your results against a number of definitions of success (and not just the dollars).

Financial review

Let's get the dollars out of the way first. Marketing is one area you should be able to get pretty solid data on your return on investment - the cost of marketing compared to how much business was brought in from the strategy.

Take a close look at all of your marketing and categorise them into things such as:
* Online costs (such as online ads, affiliate programs, SEO strategies, online web copy)
* Print costs (for costs such as direct mail, brochures, flyers, posters, copywriting for the words etc)
* Advertising (print, radio, TV, yellow pages, copywriting for the scripts or ads)
* PR & Networking (networking events, tradeshows)
* Seminars (if you run seminars)

Next consider the hidden costs - your time in setting up or running that marketing category, time in answering calls or emails, fees and charges associated with that expense (e.g. online transaction fees), travel time and wages. Many businesses don't allocate these expenses which severely limits their capacity for solid reporting.

You also need to look at the business brought in from the strategy - both in terms of immediate business/sales as well as lifetime value of the customer to your business. Less easy to quantify costs include goodwill, business networks and business brand value.

If it cost you more to attract a customer than the value they bring to you - there is something severely wrong with your marketing (and your business model!)

Customer review

The quality of your marketing affects the customers you are attracting to your business. Review your customer list or think back over the customers who have been coming to your business. Are you attracting great customers, who value you and your business or are you attracting a lot of customers trying to bargain you down and who are generally difficult?

If your customers are not all that flash or are not in sufficient quantities - you need to review your marketing strategies including the words you are using, your images and general approach.

Supplier review

If you have a successful marketing strategy, your suppliers should generate great quality product or services for you and you should have a solid and productive working relationship with them. (This of course assumes you pay your bills on time every time and have essential communication strategies in place!)

If your supplier relationships are bumpy, then your supplier nurturing strategies are not working well for you.

Connection review

One of the outcomes of great marketing is a wider range of connections, alliances and networks you can tap into. Have your connections expanded with quality contacts this year? If you network with lovely people, but never share referrals or business with them - only social chit chat, you need to consider the effectiveness of your networking strategy.

Employee review

When you market for customers, you are also marketing for potential employees. Have a look over the employees who started to work with you this year. Take a look over the number and quality of applicants you received for your vacancies. If your marketing expense was effective you would be inundated with high quality candidates rather than zero applications or less than optimal candidates.

Learning review

Learning is an important indicator for future growth. Through your marketing strategy this year did you learn more about your customers, what makes them tick, what they value and what is important to them? What did you learn about the technical aspects of marketing through applying your strategies? Sometimes something you try may be a financial failure but the most significant learning event in your life.

If the overall assessment of the success of your marketing expense is bleak - don't panic! You now are armed with some information to help you identify where you will focus your efforts this coming financial year.
About the Author
Ingrid Cliff is a Freelance Copywriter with her Brisbane Copywriting Business (Heart Harmony). Ingrid writes a free weekly small business newsletter packed full of articles and tips and Small Business Ideas blog for small businesses. www.heartharmony.com.au
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