3 min read

How to Conduct a Year-End Marketing Review

How to Conduct a Year-End Marketing Review

I don't believe I'm alone in saying that each year seems to fly by, and before you know it, we, as marketers, are back in the planning phase, preparing for the upcoming year.

While the year may seem to have gone by in a flash, it's important to realize that a lot has happened that requires our attention and analysis if we are to improve our marketing campaigns.

By reflecting on an entire year of performance, brands can identify patterns, derive actionable insights, and set an informed course for the upcoming year.


9 Steps for Conducting a Year-End Marketing Review


1. Set Clear Objectives

You and your team are busy, so beginning your year-end marketing review with a goal in mind will help keep you focused and efficient.

Is your goal to identify areas of improvement in your media mix, your conversion path or gauge how your creative performed?

These are only a few examples of goals; you can perform your review with multiple objectives in mind. Still, the key is to segment what and how you're reviewing it so that your insights are clear and you are less likely to jump to conclusions or become overwhelmed. 

2. Revisit Your Marketing Goals

Assess your key performance indicators to determine if you met, exceeded, or fell short of your marketing objectives and, most importantly, why.

Were your goals achieved, or do they need recalibrating for the upcoming year?

If your goals changed within the year, note what caused that change and where you can be proactive next time.

photo of a dart board with two red and two green darts in it.


3. Gather Feedback

Collect feedback from different stakeholders. This may include team members, other departments like sales, customer service, and clients or customers.

While it may seem tempting to collect this informally, consider using a more structured method to ensure the feedback is specific and actionable.

Establishing an environment where stakeholders feel their insights are respected and acted upon is important to achieve success with your marketing.

Be transparent in how the feedback will be utilized and share a recap of the resulting changes or strategies.

This validates the importance of their input and reinforces a culture of collaborative, strategic development within the organization. We often find that things move smoother when everyone feels heard.


4. Re-evaluate Customer Personas

Your customer personas should be reassessed at least once a year.

With rapid shifts in the market, it's critical to ensure that your personas still align with the current consumer landscape.

Even if you don't have formal customer personas, you should still have a written record of your target audience and what they care about to refer to throughout the year.

Consider any changes to your customer demographics, shopping, purchase, or usage behavior, and customer decision journey.

photo of a man holding a question mark in front of his face



5. Customer Insights

Gathering customer insights is often seen as a step at the beginning of a new campaign, or only when refreshing the brand; however, remaining in touch with your core audience throughout your marketing is incredibly important. 

A lot can happen throughout the year, impacting customer perceptions and experiences. Directly engaging with your audience through surveys or interviews offers a window into their experiences, preferences, and pain points. 

These interactions enable you to uncover the impact and effectiveness of your current marketing strategies and tactics, highlighting the hits and misses and opportunities for improvement.

Moreover, this dialogue can reveal disconnects between your brand messaging and customer perception.


6. Audit Lead Quality

Review your lead sources to identify how your customers find you.

Once complete, pinpoint your most valuable marketing channels - the ones that deliver your best customers - and calculate the cost per lead.

This calculation requires tallying external expenses like media spend, event participation, content production, and internal team time.

Determine which marketing tactics work hardest for you and aim to enhance these moving forward.



7. Competitive Research

How has your marketing performed relative to competitors? Are there tactics or channels where they outperformed you? What can you learn from them?

Your competitive analysis should include an evaluation of marketing tactics, brand positioning, customer perceptions, and pricing strategies.

This exploration enables marketers to benchmark their performance, uncover potential gaps, and decipher patterns in competitors' strategies that may reveal challenges or opportunities.

By including competitive research, your annual marketing review reflects internal data and the marketplace overall.

Spider Man Pointing Fingers


8. Identify Trends

Consider broader industry and digital trends.

Are there emerging platforms, tools, or consumer behaviors you should consider for the upcoming year?

Pay attention to available industry reports, trade publications, and market research to identify trends. Attend industry conferences, webinars, and trade shows virtually or in person.

Additionally, if you or your agency have access to social listening tools, those may be able to identify consumer preferences or sentiment trends.

Our blog is a pretty good place to stay informed about digital trends. You can sign up for updates right here: 😉


Form CTA


9. Document Everything

Ensure that your findings, insights, and decisions from the review are clearly documented. This provides a valuable reference heading into the following year and makes the subsequent reviews smoother.

A year-end marketing review is an important tool for strategic planning and campaign refinement.

When approached strategically, the end of the year can provide a necessary moment of introspection—a time to celebrate successes, learn from missteps, and set the stage for future growth.

By following these steps, you'll ensure that your year-end marketing review is thorough and sets a solid foundation for the year ahead.


Like what you read? Contact us to see how we may be able to help you meet your marketing goals.


What Should My Marketing Budget Be?

What Should My Marketing Budget Be?

The amount a business should set aside for its marketing budget will vary based on its position in the market, its business goals, and the...

Read More
Why Brand Marketing Is Important

Why Brand Marketing Is Important

The word brand is often misused in marketing. The confusion is likely tied to the fact that most “brands” didn’t start out thinking of themselves as...

Read More
Customer Segmentation and Persona Development

Customer Segmentation and Persona Development

For some marketing teams, segmentation is seen as a dirty word. Brand managers may see their product or service as having universal appeal and may be...

Read More