Marketing Strategies

8 steps to creating the best year-in-review campaign

As a career email marketer, the Year-in-Review season is my absolute favorite time of year. My inbox is full of these annual wrap-ups highlighting my “accomplishments” and the accomplishments of the companies I follow. The data geek in me is obsessed with seeing how my numbers stack up — and the marketer in me loves to see how companies continue to make these gems even more personalized year after year through video, photography, infographics, and dynamic content.

Though it may be too late to impact your company’s plans for this season (hint: take a look at our first tip), we thought it would be helpful to share some of the things we’ve learned over the years to make next year’s campaign your most successful one yet.

1. Start early

As anyone who has kicked off a YIR campaign in October can tell you (speaking from experience), it pays to get started much, much earlier in the year. I like to kick off the new year by incorporating YIR planning into our overall yearly campaign planning. It allows us to define what data we want to collect over the year, be certain it’s set up correctly, ensure we have the right technology in place to showcase it and determine the stakeholders that will contribute to the campaign’s success. Most importantly, it gives us the time to overcome any challenges and last-minute changes that could impact a successful launch.

2. Define your goals

Will your YIR campaign focus more on your company’s successes and plans or the accomplishments of your customers? Or both? Having clearly defined goals will allow you to craft a story that is compelling and drives toward your objective and also set the tone for your communication.

How will you measure success? With open rates being a less important/accurate metric these days, many email marketers rely on some form of click metric to determine a campaign’s success. If this sounds familiar, think about ways you can not just showcase achievements, but drive your customers towards further engagement to boost their stats.

3. Gather the data

Once you’ve decided what story you want to tell, make sure you’ve got everything in place to start collecting that data throughout the year. Beyond customer and company stats, consider including other “group” metrics that can help to build a sense of community like top social posts or most-read articles. Visualizing this kind of data through video, infographics, or charts can help to make your campaign feel more fun and drive engagement.

4. Choose your platform(s)

Whether you choose to launch your campaign on your website, through social media, via email, or on your app, choosing the platform upfront will help you determine how to tell the story for each channel. As with most marketing campaigns, a multi-channel strategy will yield better results, meeting your customers where they are.

Company-centric YIR campaigns are great for your website and social media — especially when you want to include video — but to get truly personalized, email and in-app are the way to go, allowing for more dynamic content targeted to your customer’s journey.

5. Use your voice

Your YIR campaign should be one of the most engaged campaigns of the whole year, so now is the time to really level up your brand voice and copywriting skills. Make it conversational, heartfelt, human, and don’t forget to show appreciation for your customers. After all, they have plenty of options on where to spend their time and money — and they’ve chosen to spend it with you!

6. Make it personal

This is your chance to shine[, Fname] 😉. But seriously, though first name personalization is a given, there are many more ways to make this campaign feel more personal and relevant. Including a personalized infographic with your customer’s achievements, user-generated content like top social posts, a message of appreciation from a real person at your company, employee or customer spotlights, behind-the-scenes moments, and customer stories are all examples of ways you can bring this campaign to life.

7. Timing is key

Now that you’ve created the best YIR campaign the industry has ever seen, when do you send it for maximum response? Well, that depends. We’ve found company YIR campaigns that highlight major milestones and achievements or plans for the upcoming year work well as a holiday “thank you” message sent before the holidays (and before people start taking time off). Conversely, customer-centric campaigns work well as a New Year’s message and are a great way to start the year off right. Plus, sending these data-driven campaigns after the end of the year allows you to gather data that truly is comprehensive of the entire previous year.

8. Measure your success

As with any marketing campaign, taking time to analyze the results will help you measure your impact and get the wheels turning for next year. Look at engagement across all your channels and dive into those heat maps to see where you hooked your customers — or where you may need to rethink or revise. Review your results together across your teams and take a moment together to celebrate your success.

A well-executed Year-in-Review campaign not only celebrates your company’s achievements but it shows appreciation and recognition for your customers. Spending the time to get it right can go a long way in setting the tone for the year ahead. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!

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Jen Tabbal
Jen Tabbal
VP Content Marketing

Jen Tabbal, Vice President of Content Marketing for Data Axle, has spent her 20+ year career creating and implementing multi-channel, data-driven content for clients including Marriott International, Hewlett-Packard, Logitech, US Bank, and Discovery Channel - as well as numerous startups, small business and nonprofits.