2012 is just around the corner… Is your marketing budget done and ready to go for the new year?
If not, let’s go through a few key things that will get you on your way and help smooth the process.
1. Write a marketing plan.
You can’t just start throwing dollar figures on a page. Every company needs a marketing plan: its your road map for the year ahead. Having a plan in place will help you flesh out your goals for the year and help you to focus on reaching them.
Are you trying to increase sales? Launch a new initiative? Increase brand visibility?
These are the goals that you need to establish first so you can then forecast how much investment in marketing you will need. Establishing your annual goals will let you lay out your strategy and tactics that will best aid in guaranteeing success.
2. Identify where your customers are.
Are your customers mostly online? Do they read magazines or newspapers? Figure out the best avenues to reach your target market and avoid spending costly dollars on waste. If your customers aren’t on Facebook, don’t advertise there. If they read technology blogs, consider reaching out to several sites to see what partnership options might exist.
Not sure where they are? Ask them. You can send a simple online survey through Survey Monkey or a similar survey company.
3. Determine your spend.
How much money would you ideally set aside for marketing, and how much can you actually afford? This will vary depending on how long you’ve been in business. If you are just starting out, you may have to invest more upfront to ensure your customers can hear/learn about your brand. For example, if you’re a new business, you’ll need to spend money on creating a website, designing/printing collateral etc whereas an established business won’t have those start-up costs.
4. Evaluate your WANTS vs NEEDS.
Sure you want to exhibit at that awesome upcoming conference, but do you need a huge booth or will a standard 10×10 slot cut it for your first year? You need to look at the ROI or ROR (return on relationship) on each line item. If the full-page ad isn’t really doing anything for you or you aren’t able to measure the results, try something less expensive.
5. Be ready to defend it.
Unless you are your own boss, someone else will need to review and approve the budget. Know which ideas you will defend to the end and which you’ll be ready to cut. In these economic times, we’re all cutting back, but it’s important to stick to your guns if you know an idea/campaign is worth pursuing. Have examples of similar campaigns and make data readily available to show potential success.
Ready to get started but not sure what marketing channels to begin with?
Consider the following:
- Events (Consumer & Trade)
- Public Relations
- Market Research
- Advertising (Print & Online)
- Social Media (Facebook/Twitter campaigns)
- Blogger Outreach/Sponsored Posts
- Print Collateral
- Web Development/Maintenance
- Direct Mail
Not all of the above are right for every business, but it gives you an idea of where to start. Good luck!