During the final few weeks of the year, you might be asking, “How did this year go by so fast?!” You may also be thinking, “I’m not ready for 2019!” Heck, you may only be thinking, “Enough work, bring on the eggnog!”

Whatever your state of mind, now is a good time to do some easy prep work for 2019, so you can really kick off your B2B marketing come January 2nd. The best part is that while you may be running around looking for gifts or planning holiday parties, you likely have downtime in the office as you are waiting for everyone to get back to you on a certain project or initiative. (Seems like at least one team member is out every single day in December for school plays, family celebrations, etc.)

Here are our tips to make the most of the last few weeks of the year and get a few extra things done.

Look at the Data

Every successful B2B marketing strategy relies on quality metrics to gauge what’s working and where there are opportunities for improvement. The last few weeks of the year are an ideal time to look back at an entire year’s worth of data.

Take some time, at least an hour or so, to look over your marketing efforts, first at a very high level and then drill down into your specific initiatives. We’ve put together a few questions to guide your data analysis:

  • Do you see any patterns?
  • Are there any spikes in website traffic, referrals, or leads?
  • How did your efforts perform when compared to last year?
  • Did you meet your yearly goals or objectives?
  • Which initiative did better than expected?
  • Which initiative had lackluster results?

Determine Wins & Losses

This part piggybacks nicely on the data analysis and only takes 20 minutes or so. Write out where you had some great wins.

  • Did you get your new website launched?
  • Did you roll out a new rebrand?
  • Did you win a strategic partnership in a critical client vertical?
  • Did you get your internal staff on the same page with the company’s value proposition?

The hard part can be figuring out any losses. We don’t call them failures because they often provide valuable information.

  • Did your email campaign push not produce enough ROI?
  • Were your social ads successful but display netted more leads?
  • Did you not see any traffic from a huge campaign spend?
  • Have your B2B website leads dropped off or has the quality declined?

These can be tough questions (put your ego aside!) but they are tremendous for the next step to…

Build Your Strategy

You likely will have a big strategy session with your team to build out your 2019 B2B marketing strategy. However, in your downtime or when you find a spare 30 – 45 minutes, map out a rough strategy. If you are working with an outside agency, tap them for help with revamping your 2019 marketing strategy.

  • What revenue goals are you looking for as a company in 2019?
  • How does marketing contribute to those revenue goals?
  • Look at the revenue dollars/closed deals in 2018 – how will you exceed that?
  • Do you have the resources you need for your marketing efforts?
  • What initiatives do you want to include in 2019?
  • What large projects/wishlist items do you have for next year?
  • Is it time to overhaul your branding, website, marketing materials?

The best strategies take a high-level view and then drill down later into specifics. Ideally, you will have a comprehensive view of your strategy to see how everything works together and complements one another.

Ask for What You Need

As you drafted your strategy for 2019, you came away with a wish list. The list may be 4 – 5 larger items or 20 smaller projects. Think about what it will take to complete that list next year.

  • Do you need more staff?
  • Do you need more training for your staff?
  • Do you need to bring on a B2B marketing agency to get things accomplished quicker?
  • Do you need better tracking tools to show value?
  • Do you need to hand off less important projects or deprioritize projects that don’t add revenue or value to your clients?

Most marketers know that the end of the year is budget time. It’s also time to start planting the seed for what you need in 2019. Even if increasing marketing headcount isn’t in your current budget, you can start making requests for 6 months from now. If you need to start ramping up your pay-per-click campaign to support a growing sales force, ask for the money now. You’ll have better success with any requests you put in now if you are able to demonstrate that marketing is a revenue driver rather than a cost center.