You may still be a bit worn out from a crazed holiday season, and you might not want to think about in-depth analysis and reporting. But, as Kelly Lorenz of Bronto says, this is "the perfect opportunity … to improve [your tactics] for future years' holiday seasons."

Although Lorenz acknowledges that analysis is often neglected because "we're moving at 1,000 miles a minute and the to-do list is piling up," she reminds us that "it is the most important factor in determining future success."

Ready to take a better look back? Lorenz suggests you examine categories like these:

  • Overall Q4 performance. How does the 2010 holiday season stack up against those of previous years? Pay special attention to promotions that worked—but don't downplay those that fizzled.
  • Q4 buyers compared with Q1-Q3 buyers. "Are they first-time buyers?" asks Lorenz. "Repeats from Q4 last year? Are they gift givers or are they personally interested in your products?" When you have that information, you can target holiday buyers in ways you don't target year-round customers, she notes.
  • Post-holiday purchases. New customers who purchase complementary items or upgrades likely received your product as a gift. "You'll want to trigger messages with these cross-sells and upsells to encourage additional purchases," she advises.
  • Profit margins. "Taking a look at revenue and revenue-per-delivered is important," Lorenz allows, "but ultimately, the bottom line is the total net gain at the end of the year."

The Po!nt: Take time to really reflect. Don't let your busy schedule keep you from carefully analyzing just how well your 2010 holiday promotions succeeded. What you learn now may lead to an even better 2011 season.

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