A Game of Two Halves - Conducting a Midyear Marketing Review

July 5, 2023

There’s a British football cliché, “It’s a game of two halves,” attributed to the late, great Jimmy Greaves, which refers to games that exhibit markedly different character before and after the halftime break.

For better or worse, your business year can show similar behavior.

In football—or soccer, if you prefer—the two teams’ coaches get fifteen minutes to review first-half action and make tactical adjustments for the forty-five minutes ahead.

What worked well in the first half won’t necessarily continue to deliver success, especially if the opposition makes corresponding changes.

While realigning resources and correcting mistakes is paramount, bringing everyone together to reaffirm the overall strategy is potentially even more valuable, so that the team enters the second half ready to take on whatever it encounters.

For your business, you can spend longer and analyze things more deeply, but the same dynamics are at play.

Bringing the team together to pause, reflect, adjust, and plan is as valuable for motivational reasons as it is for tactical adjustment.

Here are some tips on conducting an effective mid-year review.

Each company, team, and situation is different, so how you choose to carry out a midyear review will depend on your particular circumstances.

However, the following prompts encourage reflection, analysis, and discussion, and will allow your marketing team to assess their progress, identify areas of improvement, and align their strategies for the second half of the year.


Overall Performance

Reflect on the team's overall performance during the first half of the year. What were the key achievements and milestones?

Look for specific marketing campaigns or initiatives that stood out and drove positive results, as well as ones that fell far short of your expectations.

Are there any general learnings or patterns you can extract that your team should either double down on or move away from in the second half?


Progress Against Targets

Evaluate the team’s progress towards its stated goals and objectives. Are you on track to meet the company’s targets for the year?

Identify any challenges or roadblocks that have been encountered and discuss strategies to overcome them in the second half.


Campaign Effectiveness

Assess and rank the effectiveness of the marketing campaigns your team has executed thus far.

Which campaigns delivered or exceeded the desired outcomes? Which tactics and messaging were most successful?

Discuss opportunities for improvement or optimization.


Customer Insights

What feedback and insights have been gathered from customers during the first half of the year?

What were the key trends, pain points, or preferences your team identified?

Discuss how these insights should inform future marketing campaigns, and any impact this might have on your overall marketing strategy.

Update your buyer’s journey maps, either as part of the strategy session or as a separate exercise. Remember to cascade the updates through to tactical selections, channel selections, and content prioritization.

How does your marketing stack up against the competition?

Competitive Landscape

Review your competitive landscape and assess your company’s positioning.

How does your marketing stack up against that of your competitors?

Complete, or revisit, a SWOT analysis to look for areas of differentiation and opportunities for improvement.

Identify any “red flag” gaps that need urgent attention; i.e., those with high impact and high probability of occurring.



What new marketing initiatives or strategies were implemented?

What experiments were conducted to test new marketing directions, and what did you learn from them?

What impact could those tactics have on business outcomes?

Discuss whether your team is conducting enough experiments and trying enough innovative ideas. Marketing is a game of moving targets, so even a small team needs to be continuously experimenting and testing to stay ahead.


Collaboration and Communication

How effectively are team members working together?

What about the level of collaboration and communication with other departments?

Discuss any situations that have arisen—especially any that have happened multiple times—and identify areas for improvement.

What might other teams do differently for the marketing team to be more successful?  This is an area where the CEO and marketing leader should work together to ensure optimum contribution and cooperation from across the organization.


Professional Development

Does the team have the skills and experience needed to deliver a strong second half performance?

Continuing the sports analogy, are any substitutions needed?

While acquiring new skills takes time—and won’t necessarily bear fruit this year—it’s important to identify opportunities for personal development to enhance long-term performance, while tapping external resources if an immediate skills boost is needed.


The Final Whistle

Did you really think I would go with “Conclusions” or “The Bottom Line” when there’s such an obvious line to be used?

Midyear reviews are often checkbox exercises that deliver little value. Hopefully the prompts given here will help to change that.

Irrespective of which prompts you follow, the goal should be to leave the room feeling motivated and reassured, not beaten up and deflated.

Take care to surface and discuss any concerns your team may have about hitting full year targets or continuing down paths that haven’t borne fruit up to now.

If the discussion is handled properly, it should be clear what needs to change and how those changes are going to affect the eventual outcome.


Sign Up Today for the *Free* MessageUp Newsletter on Substack

Stay in the know. The weekly MessageUp newsletter delivers the latest blog content, a selection of B2B content marketing insights gathered from across the web, and quick, actionable tips for taking your content marketing to the next level.

Sign up here!


Image credits: Adobe Stock



View all Posts