“Plans are nothing, planning is everything.” ― Dwight D. Eisenhower
Well, it’s that time of year again – time to start thinking about your company’s 2017 marketing budget and begin the planning process. What? You thought I was going to say relaxing at the beach, grilling with friends or camping up the mountains? No such luck. However, with these helpful budget planning tips for most mid-sized B2B companies, including healthcare, technology and business services, you may be able to free your mind of the burden of marketing budget reports and enjoy the rest of your summer.
Where to start?
- Be Aware of Trends
- Organize Financial Info
- Track, Assess and Adjust
- Start Planning
1. Be Aware of Trends1
One of the smartest things you can do to prepare your 2017 marketing budget, is to be educated on the current and emerging trends and develop your plan with those tactics in mind. Here are a few trends to keep an eye on as you do your breathing exercises and chew your antacids:
- Market to Customer (Especially Millennials) In-Store: With 80% of millennials using their phone in-store and 74% of millennials willing to receive location-based mobile alerts, marketers have a tremendous opportunity to provide relevant offers to their customers directly on their phones.
- Invest Big on Social Analytics, Then on Social Budgets: According to the DMA Statistical Fact Book, social media will grow to 24% of marketing budgets within five years, up from 10% today.
- Double Down on Video: Video is taking over the social media landscape with 4 times as many consumers preferring digestible video content over text. Marketers that bet and budget right will outpace their competitors in delivering ads that are more timely, relevant and responsive.
- Triple Down on Programmatic: The use of programmatic ads isn’t just growing for video; it’s now representing a larger portion of the overall advertising market. Programmatic is growing faster than audience-based content advertising, capturing 50% of all display advertising spend.
- Prepare for Cross-Device Marketing, Quickly: The average consumer is now connected through 5 addressable devices, breeding opportunities and headaches for marketers – as 69% say they do not have cross-device data alignment within their companies.
2. Organize Financial Information2
Without a budget plan in place, it’s all too easy to go overboard on marketing expenses. Here are a couple tips to help you organize finances, determine where to spend marketing dollars and when to strategically make adjustments.
Once you are aware of the current trends and how they apply to your target market, the next step to creating a solid marketing budget is to get organized about your current financial situation. When you are working around estimates, it is impossible to create a realistic marketing budget.
Therefore, organize your revenue information including how much money your company makes on a monthly basis and the variations that might exist. Although income can vary significantly throughout the year, you must organize the information based on reliable revenue.
Divide up the money based on your goals. For example, if your primary goal is attracting clients and you are putting a hold on hiring until your client base is stronger, then you can put more money into the marketing budget.
3. Track, Assess and Adjust2
The final step of building a solid marketing budget is the analysis of the plan and adjustments that improve revenue production. Marketing is designed to bring in extra revenue. If the strategy does not bring in new revenue in excess of the cost, then it is better to remove that strategy and pivot.
Assessing the data is a vital part of creating an effective marketing strategy. Evaluation begins with comparing past performance to the performance after marketing the product or services. Look at the changes to revenue and determine if it has increased, decreased or stayed the same. Ideally, you will be able to tie increased revenues directly to each advertising source to gain marketing insight and prioritize the highest performing tactics on your marketing plan for the remainder of the year.
4. Start Planning3
Most marketing plans kick off on the first of the year or at the opening of your fiscal year, if it’s different. You should allow yourself a couple of months to write the marketing plan, even if it’s only a few pages long. Developing the plan is the “heavy lifting” of marketing. While executing the plan has its challenges, deciding what to do and how to do it is marketing’s greatest challenge. Of course, that is when and where a trusted marketing agency can add great value, and insight.
As you digest this information and evaluate how the marketing trends of 2017 stack up against your target demographics and market, breathe a sigh of relief knowing that the first step is well underway.
Did you find these tips helpful? Here are other resources you might enjoy!
3Entrepreneur, How to Create a Marketing Plan