Is your marketing plan underperforming? Here are three tips on how to make a mid-year pivot.

It’s halfway through the year, and hopefully, you and your team are taking some time to step back, review goals for the year, and your progress to date. 

With so much volatility this year with supply chain disruption, inflation, and understaffed, overworked departments, it is likely that the plan you set out last fall isn’t too relevant now that we are in the third quarter. 

So if you find yourself needing to pivot strategy, here are a few tips that can be helpful.

  • Instead of starting a new initiative, try a reverse pilot. Status quo bias is a cognitive bias that makes us blindly accept established commitments. If you have an existing initiative or relationship that you think might be underperforming, try pausing it or quietly scaling it back for a set period of time. If there isn’t any negative impact on company performance, then you know those are resources you can allocate elsewhere.
  • Create a mid-year zero-base budget. This is a labor-intensive option, but if you are feeling like you are really moving in the wrong direction, don’t make small changes to your existing budget, because you likely won’t change enough to make a difference. Instead, start from a blank budget for the second half of the year, and justify every activity and dollar you are allocating to marketing and branding.
  • Play some mind games. Another cognitive bias that can stop us from making tough decisions is sunk cost bias. This means that we tend to keep investing time and money into a losing proposition simply because we have already “sunk” resources into it that can’t be recovered. If you suspect you or your team might be falling victim to this common trap, simply ask: If we weren’t already doing this activity or were in this relationship, how much would I pay or what time would I invest to get these results? Chances are, simply asking that question will get you to the answer.

I was recently working with a client on a strategic refresh. They were asking for help promoting a podcast they had spent two years and over $40k on, but it wasn’t producing any of the hoped-for results.

I asked the question “knowing what you know now if somebody recommended starting this podcast, would you do it?” When the answer was a resounding “no way!” I knew we had our answer. There was no way we were going to allocate one more dollar or hour of time to promote it. 

Was it a painful decision? Definitely. But true leadership is about making gutsy, difficult decisions, and this is one that I know they won’t regret.

If you do end up trying any of these tactics to pivot strategy, I would love to hear what worked for you (or didn’t!), and what you learned from it.