5 Tips to Prepare Marketers for an Annual Performance Review
The end of the year brings joy and holiday festivities for consumers but for marketers is a busy time full of budget planning, possible team restructuring, re-evaluating strategies, and annual reviews.
Whether you are a Chief Marketing Officer (CMO), a content marketing manager, or social media specialist, you are going to have an annual review with your superior.
This is an opportunity for self reflection and professional development: Are you meant for this job? Are you meant for this company? Are you meeting expectations? Are you exceeding them?
Of course, you should always keep an eye on your efforts in relation to company goals and avoid waiting until a specific meeting for self-evaluation, but an annual evaluation puts your career as a marketer in perspective. An annual performance review is a chance to show how you impact the company to people who are not constantly interacting with you. This process can be nerve wracking, but a formal review with performance ratings is absolutely necessary for alignment.
Here are five tips to keep in mind when preparing for your annual performance review.
Understand the Employer, Superior, and Client/Consumer’s Priorities
Are you ultimately adding value to your employer? The employer’s main focus is to grow and expand the company. If you are a bystander or bottleneck, you are not benefiting the team and may have to reassess your duties and day to day behavior. The employer’s vision for the company is important to keep in mind when handling or executing any and all projects.
Everything you do directly impacts your superior. Are you making their job easier? Are you making them look good? Prove to them you are a benefit to the team by self-management and handling multiple projects. Become an asset by offering to pitch in with projects you know are a priority for your boss. Bosses can better understand their employees’ mindset by asking the employee to fill out a review form to compare their perceived progress with the boss’ impression. This determines any communication or expectation gaps and helps employees match their performance goals to the company’s overall goals and objectives.
How are you serving clients? How are you making them feel? Surveys, social media engagement, and communication measure how your efforts are making a difference. Even if their reviews are not tangible, being prompt, innovative, helpful, and consistent leads to effective behavior in your specific role.
Ultimately, your job is to make everyone else’s lives easier.
Know what Topics to Avoid during the Performance Review
In a performance review, make it about how your efforts are exceeding the expectations of the company and leading to growth. Avoid name calling, blaming (especially if you are a manager or leader on a team), or centering the conversation around you - unless you are asking for feedback to improve in your role.
Prepare All Year for the Review Process
At the very beginning of the year, meet with your employer and boss to outline expectations. Priorities are naturally going to change throughout the year (which you can note during the annual review), but detail how you have evolved and stepped into additional responsibilities as the company has changed.
In order to stay on track and aligned, have periodic one-on-one meetings with your supervisor so that no one is surprised by results in the annual review. The real-time feedback and constructive evaluations will help you stay proactive and on track.
Provide Evidence of Your Performance Value
An annual performance review is an opportunity to showcase your accomplishments, detail your strengths and weaknesses, and formally ask for a pay increase. Whether to prove your usefulness or negotiate for a raise, it is necessary to have proof of value to build a case.
Track the effects of your performance on the company with data, analytics, revenue, or client feedback. In addition to quantifiable reports, keep a folder with compliments from superiors, team members, or clients. Show that you add value and are valued.
How to Conduct your Behavior during your Annual Performance Review
Keep a level head and take deep breaths. Take negative feedback in stride and do not get defensive. The annual review is a chance for the employee to grow professionally in the company and as a person. Express specific goals and ask for projects or advice that will ultimately lead you to achieve those goals.
Preparing for an annual review as an individual is important, but it is also valuable to prepare an annual review as a team or company. In the past year, a company may have switched gears, changed values or directions, so be sure to align strategies and objectives.
In addition to internal affairs maneuvering, the marketing world is drastically changing day-by-day. Certain social media platforms like Facebook do not resonate the same way with upcoming generations like Generation Z as they once did with the Millennials.
It’s important to keep an eye out for changes in the target consumer’s preferences and personalities in order to cater to them in marketing strategies. If video is where content is headed, have a marketing content discussion about leveraging video. If Facebook ads are not generating quality leads, reevaluate ad platforms.
It’s never too late to change old habits. Constantly working to evolve yourself as a marketer as well as updating your team’s strategies will set you up for success.