The Most Wonderful Time of the Year – 2014 Marketing Planning

Part 1 – 2013 results review

It is not even Thanksgiving, and retailers are already putting up decorations and advertising the most popular holiday picks. The 24/7 holiday radio music and reruns of A Christmas Story have not yet started, but ‘tis the season to start your 2014 marketing planning process.

This two-part series will provide you with some practical ways to enhance your current marketing planning process (or implement one) and prepare for 2014. If you have a professional marketing firm, they should already be doing this for you.

Start with a critique of 2013 marketing results

Let’s keep this very simple, so allocate an hour or two to assemble the information. If you don’t have certain information readily available, skip it for now, but in Part 2 we’ll discuss how to improve tracking processes. Let’s break this into four steps to help organize the process:

1. Qualitative Review. Take a high-level look at your firm’s 2013 marketing activities and results:

  • Strengths – What worked particularly well? Could be a specific marketing campaign, attorney coaching, referral program, networking, etc. All contribute to ultimate revenue success.
  • Weaknesses – What failed, or fell below expectations. You may need to look back through your marketing file, as we tend to quickly forget our mistakes.
  • Gaps – What are the things you wanted to do but didn’t get around to, and why didn’t you pull the trigger? Is there anything on that list still worth considering?

 

2. Key Metrics. These are the short-term tactical indicators of longer-term success, like:

  • Website Traffic – Assuming that a major marketing goal is to build website traffic, how did it go?
  • Contacts – How many website phone calls, email messages and chats did you receive? This conversion ratio is an indicator of the quality of that website traffic.
  • Consults/Meetings – Ability to convert contacts into consults is a critical indication of your marketing success and monitor associate or staff performance.
  • Clients – The consult-to-client conversion ratio is also an important metric to monitor across your team. Who is doing the best job closing, and why?

 

3. Revenue. There are a few different ways to view revenue results:

  • Per client – How has your average initial and overall retainer value changed over the course of the year? Can this be linked to any business change?
  • Per associate – How does your team measure up? What best practices can be shared?
  • Over time – If you have seasonal revenue variance, why? Is it due to client interest, or another factor like competitor activity or associate availability?

 

4. Expenses. Let’s use some expense ratios to help determine which activities were more effective than others.

  • Cost per click – This is the expense of driving visitors to your website or ads. It provides a good baseline comparison between marketing activities.
  • Cost per contact – How well are your website, advertising, and other marketing-related activities generating leads?
  • Cost per client – This is your client acquisition cost. Was it an acceptable amount for each practice area? If so, you can now look for ways to invest in new clients at this level in 2014. If not, you can cut less profitable activities and look for new ideas.

Don’t get worked up over the data

Whether the results were better or worse than expected, the year is about over and you can’t change history – but you can learn from it. Use the data to build on the successes and fix/dump the failures.

If you made it this far I bet you already have some ideas about changes you’d like to implement next year. We’ll spend time working on 2014 plans in Part 2.

If you can’t measure it, don’t do it.SM

 

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