As the calendar year draws to a close for many direct marketers, it’s time to compare sales against marketing projections. With that in mind, a few questions start the process.

  • Demographics and sales: Did the identified target audiences match sales demographics?

Sales records can indicate which groups were responsible for maximum sales and profit. If those records didn’t match expectations, where do adjustments need to be made? Remember to review all the various marketing platforms you utilize.

  • Risk management: What risk factors dominated operations?

At the beginning of the year, you can only estimate what risk factors may loom ahead. In reviewing overall operations, what activities constituted challenges? What problem categories were anticipated and what affected the bottom line? Many insurance groups and trade associations employ risk management experts who can assist you with information and plans to outline various strategies.

  • Return on investment: What were the high points leading to the best return on your investment?

Did you experience pleasant surprises, sales different than anticipated or campaigns better than projected? Also ask what will carry-over to next year and what needs to change.

The role of a marketing plan is to identify key target audiences, strategize advertising and promotional campaigns, manage risk factors and determine the best path for profit. Your marketing plan is unique to your operation and should be flexible enough for you to make changes. As the year progresses, you can refine ideas and plans to better address challenges and changes. In doing so, you have opportunities to increase sales and work toward the best return on your investment.

The above information is for educational purposes only and should not be substituted for professional legal or business counseling.