Quarter 3 is nearly upon us and businesses everywhere are taking stock, trying to figure out how they will meet their goals in the last two quarters of 2016.

May 23

Quarter 3 is nearly upon us and businesses everywhere are taking stock, trying to figure out how they will meet their goals in the last two quarters of 2016. A phrase we use often is “hold your advertising accountable.” With that in mind, I compiled a list of 5 questions to ask before you lock in your Q3 marketing plan and budget.

How much did you spend in Q1 and Q2?

It’s time to pull together the figures on how much you spent versus how much you earned. I know this isn’t the first time you’ve taken a look at these figures, but do this exercise anyway. You should be able to pinpoint where the majority of your advertising budget was spent by channel and campaign.

What worked and what didn’t?

Go get that marketing manifesto you wrote as your road map for 2016 and see how far you have come. What forks in the road did you take? Which detours got you where you wanted to be, and which ones didn’t? Ok, I know this can be frustrating because all that data in different places is making you insane, and is the reason you avoid looking at your marketing results in the first place! If this frustrates you as much as it does me —all those numbers in different places and all that money and not being able to understand the direct impact on your results – that’s ok. For now, just take a look at a couple of items, like the most successful campaign and the least. Try to understand why each one worked or didn’t, as the case may be. Was it a different keyword? A special promotion? Favorable weather? An increased ad budget? A motivational sales team meeting?


What are your goals for Q3 & Q4?

Don’t give up on the creation of SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound) goals, even if the data isn’t all there.  As your journey to gain transparency into the results of your campaigns progresses, you will know exactly what you’re looking for.

Where should you adjust your spend to meet those goals?  What new tactics do you need to add?

If your second half goals are similar to those of the first half and you feel confident in the return your ad spending generated, that’s great!  Keep doing what you’re doing!  But if your goals are changing or you’re not happy with the results of your ad spend (or you’re not sure if you’re not happy), it’s time to mix things up.  Look to competitors, new technology vendors, and even innovative companies outside your industry for new ways to efficiently reach potential customers.

If answering numbers 1 and 2 caused you some frustration, ask yourself what you can do to get more transparency on your ad spend and its results.  What vendors are working for you and which ones are making your life more difficult?

When I started in this industry as a digital marketer, the lack of transparency into the true results of my clients’ ad spend frustrated me.  Most agencies used either first click or last click attribution and didn’t take into consideration the clicks in between, or the effect of offline advertising.  Look for providers that can not only connect the dots between offline and online, but also provide marketing directives.  That way, you not only know what worked and what didn’t, but exactly what you should change (or keep) moving forward.