We have officially turned the corner to the second half of 2014.  The important question is…how are you doing with your 2014 goals?

Article previously published on CUInsight.com
We have officially turned the corner to the second half of 2014.  The important question is…how are you doing with your 2014 goals?
Just as it is important to review your marketing plan on a regular basis, it is vital to do a “halftime” assessment of your efforts thus far to make sure you get the highest return for your marketing investment. 
Step 1: Perform an audit of your project list.
What elements of the first half of your plan remain uncompleted?  What are the reasons for non-completion?  Determine which tactics are still relevant to the plan and assign due dates and accountabilities for each project to ensure their completion and success.    
Step 2: Evaluate the effectiveness of your efforts thus far.
Now that you have six months of momentum, what has the impact been on the overall strategic goals?  Do an assessment of what worked, what didn’t, and what could have been done to improve results.  Make a list of the three biggest obstacles in the way of you reaching your 12/31 goals and communicate them to your department, the senior management team and CEO so you are all on the same page, and then get everyone’s buy in and commitment to the plan.
Step 3: Crunch the numbers.
What is the spending trend so far in 2014?  Are you above or below target?  Has what you have done so far met the primary purpose(s) of your marketing budget?  Perform a financial analysis with ROI projections for each one of the projects you have yet to complete and prepare your team with an action plan for meeting those goals by 12/31.
Step 4: What has changed?
Mid-year is also the time to take stock of what is affecting your institution and community.  Have there been budget changes?  Are there new competitors, economic changes, or unforeseen changes in the strategic plan?  Are there new opportunities, such as new products, new product pricing, new target information, or other opportunities for which you need to plan?  Remaining committed to the plan you put in place for 2014 is important, but flexibility to make adjustments may be appropriate.
Step 5: Update your plan.
You have a project list, a budget, and refreshed knowledge of your market position.  Make sure the marketing plan is updated to reflect these changes, and amend the project plan to address the success or lack of success for the first half of this year.  Be sure to complete an updated document.  Written goals and tactics are often the difference between success and failure.
Step 6: Communicate, communicate, communicate! 
Marketers are not an island!  As everyone at your financial institution is on the marketing team, it is important to communicate results and plans for the future.  Now that you have completed the “halftime” assessment, it’s time to share your updated plan with the entire organization.  If possible, plan a July meeting to get all employees together to discuss and understand the plan. 
If there are issues impacting the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, whether it is time, manpower, budget or market climate, you absolutely need to have a conversation with the CEO.  The numbers from step three will help you quantify and get what you need so an investment in the marketing department yields a great return. 
It is even more important to communicate the results you have driven thus far.  In other words, sell your success.  I have worked with many marketing directors on really cool projects that yielded great results, but those results weren’t communicated with the CEO.  When money is allocated to the marketing budget, make sure that you communicate the results early and often so the CEO and senior managers not only see the value of marketing, but that marketing is a key driver to profitability. 
Here’s to a fantastic next six months! 
If you’d like help with your financial institution’s Halftime Review, contact me today!