Make Sure Your Holiday Sales Analysis is Complete

It’s the time of year when most direct marketers are going through their holiday results with a fine-tooth comb. You’re sifting through mounds of response data, checking out your response rates, average order, list response, online productivity, and merchandise stats. You’re also reviewing mail data analysis and making some notes for strategy changes for the current selling season and for next year’s holiday marketing campaigns.

All of this is extremely important. Without such a baseline analysis, planning for the future would be lacking. But in today’s multichannel world, it becomes even more important to make sure that you’re not missing out on some important pieces of business intelligence.

To make your post-season analysis truly complete and proactive, make sure you’re not overlooking the forest for the trees. Overall trends and interactions among your various marketing campaigns will offer tremendous insight for your future marketing efforts. Here are a few things to consider:

  • Read and analyze the results of all of the testing you’ve done this season, including promotions (e.g., free shipping), covers, e-mail strategies, list and model tests. Chances are if you don’t do it now it may be too late to retest or roll out.
  • Make sure you’ve matched back web sales to offline catalog mailings, e-mail campaigns and search marketing programs. Knowing the interactions among these and other media could have a profound impact on next year’s strategies.
  • Make a note of all the things you’ve done differently this year vs. last year. This will form the foundation for much of your later analysis. This includes merchandise, offer, page counts, Website changes, paid and natural search increases or decreases — and I’ll bet I’ve only scratched the surface here.
  • Make a listing of the opportunities you may have uncovered in your initial analysis and the areas to avoid based on this year’s performance. This will prove invaluable in your planning for next year.

Most of all, it’s important to remember that, while each facet of your campaign is important, what really matters is the overall interaction among all facets – direct mail, space, e-mail and other online elements. For example:

  • Your catalog performance results could offer a telling insight into some additional opportunities with paid search marketing at peak performance weeks, or even days.
  • Individual keyword results could make your catalog or print copy even stronger by highlighting these terms in your offline or e-mail copy.

Unless the entire program is meeting your objectives, you’re probably missing out on some great opportunities. Take the time to do the analysis now – it could prove to be a very profitable exercise.

Steve Tamke is senior vice president of Hackensack, NJ-based list services firm Mokrynskidirect. He may be reached at