year end review for marketing agency

Its that time of the year, when you are expected to deliver a year end review or presentation to your client or boss. You are probably reporting on the same KPIs and metrics as you have always done. And the results year over year about the same. As an marketing analytics agency who works with marketing agencies we see it all the time, metrics that do not mean anything, numbers without the story behind it, and meetings which end with we will investigate or let us come back to you. We also see marketing agencies trying to uncover new metrics to hide the fact that results were not that great. Therefore, we have put together this list of 10 mistakes to avoid in your year end client presentation.

  1. Showing metrics without context: we have all seen impression numbers or clicks being presented but what does it matter that you had reach of 10,000 people or that you had 50 clicks. This does not tell you if you had better or worst results, which would a simple year over year calculation show you. Therefore, it is a good idea to ask yourself what is this number tell you and ask yourself, so what? So what if I got 10,000 impressions, so what if I had 50 clicks? So what, is the question you should ask yourself throughout the presentation to avoid useless data points.
  2. Ignoring seasonality: this mistake is more common during month over month analysis, where you can see an increase or decrease which is normal during this time of the year. If you sell jewelery, you will probably see an increase during the holidays and Valentines Day. The way to show seasonality in a year end report is to pick a metric and draw a line graph or a bar graph. Ideally showing over 24-36 months worth of data with year by year beside each other to really what seasonality tells you. Most agencies will respond the client already knows their seasonality. While that is true, you can compare yearly how you did at peak months vs. low months, to see if you have improved results on some level.
  3. Presenting irrelevant metrics: often presentations get re-used from client to client, maybe you have even automated your dashboards to look the same regardless of the client. While consistency is great for efficiency for year end you want to make sure the metrics are relevant to your clients.  For example, your B2B client whom you run e-mail marketing for, does not probably care how many impressions or clicks you got, but he is more interested in leads, emails open rates, click through rates and impact on sales. While a start-up in the retail space may only care about brand searches and share of voice and other metrics that are more applicable to brand awareness.
  4. Not doing a deep dive: Sometimes it is important to go beyond the high level view of your data. See if you can uncover new opportunities. Year end is a perfect time to evaluate your creative, placement, geography, targeting and so on. For example, if your B2C client is running a promotion, which was successful, it is a good idea to evaluate what you did differently maybe it had a unique sale, or was using a new channel, or maybe it got popular in a specific state, the list goes on. But the idea, is that you uncover the why, so you can repeat it next year.
  5. Not telling a story: a lot of time numbers get reported on a quantitative basis. That is just a starting point, the real value a marketing agency can bring is adding context to the number. For example, social media agency may see a drop in followers, while this number looks bad it could be a good thing, because despite the drop of followers engagements remain the same or even higher, meaning the followers that were lost were not engaging with the brand. Now doing a deep dive, you can identify followers that are engaged and find look-alikes for your future marketing campaigns.
  6. Ignoring Next Steps: while year end presentation is a year in review, it is important to look ahead. What can be done differently? What has not been tested? Ideally, your marketing agency is testing new creatives, concepts, promotions, channels, landing pages, etc… on on-going basis, so now it is a good time to put in a testing matrix to get some ideas from your clients.
  7. Not correlating marketing efforts with sales: While not all agencies will have access to sales, your marketing team inside companies should be able to at the minimum provide some data points on how well we did. Corelating marketing activities to sales, can be a key insight into what channels, campaigns, promotions, creatives and other elements worked and did not work. One thing to remember, that when dealing with branding initiatives you can still correlate your efforts to sales but you would need to account for time difference between exposure and sale.
  8. Lack of communication: when presenting analytical metrics, it is important to get input from your team, they may have additional insights which can paint a picture to your numbers. For example, you may see an increase in CPC in a specific month, the search team can explain that this was caused due to bid type strategy change. That explanation, while can be derived from numbers would save your analytics team a lot of time just by explaining some anomalies and will prevent client from questioning your data gaps.
  9. Lack of benchmarks: without having goals you may not be driven to achieve them. After all if you do not know where you are going any road will take you there. If your goal is just to do what you did last year, you are probably going to have to become efficient to keep up with inflation. If you do want to improve results you would need to get your benchmark from previous year or from industry standards.
  10. Hiding bad performance: it is important to present objectively your good and bad results. Hiding it will not change the outcome of your marketing, if there was a negative result on sales, hiding it will only make it worst. Instead, present the results with in-dept look at why they were not good and have a plan to fix it in the future. Ideally you monitor your results at a minimum on monthly basis so you catch it before it becomes a year long problem, but if not changing your practices and being honest will always pay off.

Checklist to ensure your year end analysis goes smoothly:

Now that you know what not to do, our marketing analytics company has put together a checklist for you to follow when doing your year end analysis.

  • Add all KPIs with meaningful context including: benchmarks, Year over Year changes and insights into why it was up or down.
  • Check if KPIs make sense for the business by asking: “So What?”
  • Get your team’s input into the why and next steps
  • Establish goals for the new year
  • Adding testing matrix on things to try in the new year

Sometimes it is easier for year end reports to be put together by outsourcing your marketing analytics company, this is because they will bring in new perspectives. Also, sometimes internally there a lack of expertise into how to put data together. After all the client does not care how search is doing but rather overall what is impact on sales, visibility into brand awareness and a story of what’s working what is not. Hiring a marketing analytics agency can help save your team time and have better outcome for your clients in the long run.

About StrategicDB:

StrategicDB is a marketing analytics agency which specializes in all things data. We know how to correlated marketing and sales (beyond co-efficient correlation), run year end analysis which tell a story, identify the why and put together testing matrix on things to test to try to improve results next year. We work with small agencies and companies as well as help manage analytics for Global Fortune 500 companies. Contact us today, to get started on your next analytical project.