We may be basking in the July sun today, but retailers in particular – and many enterprises in general – are probably just giddy right now with thoughts of Black Friday and the holiday shopping season to come.

Of course, that’s because the 4th quarter and holidays in particular are make-or-break for many. For those who are regularly successful, marketing, profitability and other competitive and operating challenges and opportunities have been identified early enough to positively affect end-of-year performance metrics.

Look Back to Win in the Future

We’ve often suggested to our clients that a valuable way to improve future sales production is to look back –something that we call a strategic and tactical review. At this time of year, the focus of this can cover two very important events: 4th quarter 2019 and the entire 2020 marketing initiative.

Such a review can serve three important functions:

  1.  Identification of areas for immediate adjustment to ensure you meet sales and profit goals.
  2. Avoidance of preventable missteps or costly pitfalls that will delay success and tarnish your brand image.
  3. Enter the shopping season better informed and focused on available marketing and sales opportunities.

A strategic and tactical review needn’t be complicated. What is required, however, is objectivity. The business or organizational leadership must be willing to take an honest look back at the fit and effectiveness of the current plan relative to the stated goals, objectives and strategy.

A strategic and tactical review should at the very least reconsider the marketing initiatives, their components, associated processes and the reasons for the results they delivered thus far, in order to:

  • Keep – those parts of the plan that effectively implemented your strategy and accomplished your goals and should therefore be continued.
  • Adjust – those parts of the plan that contribute appropriately to the above, yet could be improved.
  • Eliminate – those parts of the plan that do not implement strategy, help you reach goals and cannot be improved to do so.
  • Add – those elements that are missing, but would complement goals and strategy, and fit available resources.

This framework, executed with expert insight is fast and efficient. It allows the firm to move with both precision and speed to matters of bottom-line performance.

A strategic and tactical review is a good place to start to make sure you capture all of the sales possible during that critical holiday shopping season – and to start the next year on the right path.

For the forward planner: how far in advance do you double check to make certain the initial plan for peak-season is still fully on target and fine-tuned for maximum sales production and customer retention?