Have you put together your 2012 marketing plan? There is still time.
The Coming Year
Moody’s, Goldman Sachs, the Economist and other sources point to 2012 as another year of stagnate growth for the U.S. economy. Most of these sources point to less than 2% growth in GDP. As you know, anything can happen but it appears to be another tough year to grow your business. You need to plan for more of the same and hope for better.
Part of this planning should include developing your marketing programs and a budget for these programs. In down times many companies cut marketing in hope of saving money. Recently our own Jonathan Ebenstein wrote a blog about how you should consider the opposite. (See Blog — Benefits of a Strong Brand – Part Two – Strong Brands Thrive During Economic Downturns). If planned properly, marketing programs can help you grow your business in down times.
With 2011 almost over, it is a perfect time to plan for 2012. It is time to think about how you are going to make every dollar count; how you are going to invest in your business to grow revenues. For those of you who have never had a marketing budget then it is time to gain control over the expenses and begin putting a process in place to measure performance. Your CFO will love you … and it is easier to get approval for programs with an estimated return on investment or ROI (I will talk about measuring the performance of marketing programs in a future blog). For those of you who have marketing budgets it is a perfect time to review the 2011 results and adjust your programs to make them more effective for 2012.
Developing a marketing program budget provides several benefits:
- It provides a map for the year on programs and the investment in these programs
- It increases the speed of program implementation as you have a plan and understand what can be spent to implement the plan
- It will not eliminate all issues surrounding the cost of programs but it provides guidelines and is auditable
- It provides a means of measuring success before and after the implementation of programs
- It helps as you move forward with future marketing programs in upcoming years
What is Included?
Budgeted items should include estimates for the creation and implementation of all marketing programs including: program management, design / development and implementation. It should also include the estimated value for production and placement if required. Typically, it does not include the cost of internal employees or any travel expense incurred by any individuals who support marketing programs.
Areas you should consider in your plan include:
- Strategy development – do you have strategic programs or new product launches in the upcoming year?
- Market research – What trends are taking place within your industry that you need to understand? What new industries should you consider? What new products are you considering and how should they be positioned within the market?
- Customer development – Are you looking to expand your existing market with new, pre-qualified customers?
- Competitive intelligence – What are your competitors planning for the year?
- Customer surveying – What do your customers consider important? What products do they want you to provide or how can you improve your service to them?
- Marketing programs – Have you developed the communications plan to support your strategy? How will it be implemented? What will be the cost of implementing your program?
Typical programs categories include: advertising, public relations, eMarketing (web site, eNewsletters, blogs, Search Engine Optimization program, etc.), sales literature, market research, events (conferences and trade shows) and more. I usually map this to a calendar.
Part Two: Coming Soon
Keep an eye out for our next blog post which covers questions such as “How much should I budget for marketing?” and how to determine if various budget items should be approved.
In the meantime, the Skoda Minotti Strategic Planning Services consultants would be pleased to offer you a free, one hour assessment of your marketing plan for 2012. Contact us at 440-449-6800 or use our contact request form and we’d be happy to provide suggestions on your upcoming programs and budgets.