Basketball and American football games each give players a brief but meaningful halftime break to recover and adjust their game plans for the second half. American business follows a similar cadence. Our first half ends right before the July 4 holiday, giving us time to eat a hot dog or three, watch some fireworks, and gather ourselves for back half of the year.
This marketer’s halftime is more important than ever because of how quickly the landscape changes. New competitors seem come to market faster than ever before. Customers’ buying habits evolve more rapidly. We have more options for reaching them. We have to process all these things in what feels like an instant and then start executing, knowing all the while that we’re likely going to change course at least once before the year ends.
Here is a five-point mid-year checklist to help prepare for a winning 2H.
Goals check: Are the objectives you set in 1H the right ones to pursue in 2H? What about the metrics you associated with those goals? This may be the last chance you’ll get to move the goal posts.
Revisit target audience definition and segmentation: Who makes the decisions when buying your company’s services? Now is an ideal time to update personas accordingly. Knowing who you need to reach is key to just about everything else you’ll do in the back half of the year.
Refine inbound marketing strategy: Affirming the target customer’s wants and concerns will help make sure that your website is positioned to support their journey to purchase with the right website features, search engine keywords, and content roadmap.
Choose outbound marketing activities: What events will drive the best ROI? If you’re deploying a content marketing strategy, which blogs, case studies, and white papers are the best ones to actively promote to prospects, customers and the media?
Hone your industry insights: Are you reading the right blogs and newsletters? It’s a good time to unsubscribe to the stuff that may not be as useful as it once was and to ask your peer group what they’re reading. It’s also important that you reflect on your industry’s biggest changes in 1H and determine how they’ll impact your business. Here’s an example that’s relevant to me: Pinterest is aggressively pitching its advertising products, joining Facebook and Twitter in offering mobile-first, in-feed options that are bought programmatically and target actual users.
I always found that early January gives the entrepreneurial marketer a chance to get a jump on those who might need more time to clear the holidays from their brains before resuming full speed. July is no different; just substitute burgers and dogs for cookies and eggnog.