Planning Your Marketing Budget
Marketing is one of the most important components of building a business, and it deserves a lot more attention than it gets. Many businesses fail because they ignore their marketing budget. When I say marketing budget, I don’t just mean the money you spend on direct mail, but also expenses like web design, internet service, printing costs, etc. You need to set aside a marketing budget every year just for your company’s marketing needs. The good news is that you can help ensure that your marketing budget is used correctly if you follow these simple steps.
Before you set up your marketing budget, make sure you know exactly how much your company will spend on marketing next year. This includes every aspect of your marketing. For example, include expenses like printing and web design. If you don’t know this information, ask someone in the company to help you do this. They should give you an accurate estimate based on the last few years’ worth of marketing.
Once you know the amount of marketing budget available, figure out what you want to spend it on. Do you want to pay for local marketing? Are you going to buy national ads? Do you want to spend just on television spots or nationwide ads?
Once you know what marketing expenses you’re planning to cover, you’ll need to figure out what you want to spend your budget on. You can break your budget into several categories, including research and development, distribution and sales, administrative expenses, and financing and debt collections. While most companies spend their money very evenly across all the categories, some spend more on one area than another. Keep this in mind when creating your budget.
One category that many businesses don’t pay much attention to is advertising.
If your budget is tight, don’t skimp on advertising. Even if your business isn’t a household name yet, you can always improve your reputation and traffic with effective advertisements. Whether direct mail or magazine ads, make sure that you pay attention to every aspect of your marketing budget.
When it comes to marketing, there are plenty of ways to cut corners and save money. For instance, instead of hiring a publicist, consider hiring an event coordinator. They know just what it takes to stage conferences, conventions, and trade shows. If your budget is tight, don’t hire just anyone. Hire professionals who will help make your budget a success.
Pay your employees well!
A big part of running a company is paying employees. Pay them well! Employees are one of the most important marketing tools a company can utilize. It’s critical to pay them well so that they’ll be loyal and stay with your company and give you excellent service. If you take care of your employees by providing a good working environment and a competitive pay scale, you’re more likely to get better results from your marketing campaigns.
You have to make marketing your top priority if you want to be successful.
Don’t put it off another day. Invest in marketing, and make it a priority. It will pay off for you down the line. So don’t skimp on your budget. Every little bit helps, making a difference in your marketing strategy and your bottom line.
The advertising you use to market your product or service directly impacts how many customers you’re going to have. To be effective, you have to work hard to find the right marketing strategy. You can hire a marketing company, or you can do it yourself. If you want to do it yourself, here are some tips:
Hire a Marketing Consultant.
Marketing companies are plentiful. Make sure you choose the right one. Look for someone with experience who knows your business and will keep you informed about how marketing impacts you. A consultant can help you with your marketing budget. However, if you’re serious about running a profitable company, you should hire a marketing manager to ensure your marketing budget meets its purpose.
Buy billboard space.
If you don’t have the money to advertise, you can buy space on a billboard. Billboards are expensive but make a good return on investment. If you’re going to spend money on marketing, at least make sure you’re not wasting it on something that’s not making you money. Don’t get stuck with an ineffective marketing budget.
Terrible Ways to Spend Your Marketing Budget
Spending a single cent without any plan
If you spend your budget on marketing, you need to have a clearly defined marketing plan. A plan that outlines what your goals are. A plan includes a detailed budget (which should show the projected results from every marketing method over a given time frame). A plan that allows for short-term and long-term savings.
Unfortunately, most business owners don’t have these detailed plans in place. They tend to spend their marketing budget on what feels like an ‘activity. This may be something like a conference or a networking event. Even something as simple as printing off a brochure is considered an activity. There are three particular problems when it comes to spending a marketing budget on this kind of activity.
First, the activity that you are participating in does not correlate with your marketing strategy. If you want to continue to save your budget, stop spending money on activities that have absolutely nothing to do with your long-term marketing plan. For example, let’s say that you have a marketing budget for an online company. If all you are promoting your site via social media sites, or even worse, PPC, you aren’t spending any money to make your online business grow. If you stop doing this, you are running the risk of damaging your budget.
It’s important to have a strategy for your online marketing, whether that includes PPC or social media marketing. Without one, your budget is doomed to waste. However, if you are only spending money on promotional activities that aren’t directly related to your marketing plan, you are simply not optimizing your budget for success. That is the number one reason why businesses fail. They don’t have a marketing plan.
Finally, if you are trying to save your budget, you mustn’t just do anything. Look at it this way; if you were going to run a marathon, wouldn’t you put some effort to prepare yourself? I think you would. The same goes for budgeting. You need to get some planning down, and you need to stick with it.
Research is not included in your marketing budget.
Many factors will affect the type of research you need, including your category, target audience, and location. The internet provides tons of free research, but if you want to curate it, it’s going to take both time and money – perhaps you’ll need to set aside resources to hire someone to do the job for you. Imagine you’re a small retailer or service business in a neighbourhood or non-major metropolitan area.
For instance, this could include attending networking functions or one of the regional Chamber of Commerce meetings and getting a couple of subscriptions to magazines (online editions aren’t that expensive!) to keep up with industry trends. Much time will be spent online poking around at your competitors if you have an e-commerce business. In addition, you may need to conduct independent research about the play’s target audience or category, depending on its size. Primary research, like focus groups, is also great.
As soon as you have written your marketing plan, which will include your research, be sure to stick to the budget you have set in that plan. Obviously, things will come up – and you should plan for them if possible – but otherwise, show some discipline. Too often, I see entrepreneurs who get a call from a media rep or see something online and instantly decide it’s the greatest thing since sliced bread, parting ways with what they’ve previously planned to do to snap up the latest opportunity. As a football metaphor goes: Folks, you can’t play audible on every play if you want to score. Sometimes, “three yards and a cloud of dust” is just what you have to do to get ahead.
Engaging in vanity projects
Are there any close friends of your cousin’s ex-wife who have daughters who would love to take care of your social media? Would your business partner like to put his wife on your homepage? Are you thinking about buying some billboards from your high school boyfriend who works for the local outdoor company? How self-aggrandizing it can be as an entrepreneur to use your business to do nice things for or curry favour with important people for one reason or another.
Is Item X in line with the stated objectives of your plan? Does it? As long as your budget permits it, you should go ahead. Be cautious about launching a marketing campaign around a chance like this.
Producing materials without consistent branding.
Choose colours that spark joy in you when choosing a logo, and use them all over. If you can, invest time and money in putting together a brand standards guide. Consider this: You recognize Apple’s communications when you see them, right? Does the Apple logo even matter without its omnipresence? As a result of carefully policing using the same font over the years, they’ve done pretty well for themselves.
Taking shortcuts when it comes to the important things.
Marketing mistakes are very common, especially in business or any other field that you work in. You have probably heard many people talking about how bad budgeting is and how you need to do it all the time if you want to be successful in your business. Well, let me tell you that not all marketing budgeting mistakes are created equal, so you have to be very careful in choosing which ones to do or skip. 10 Terrible Ways to Spend Your Money on Marketing Budgeting:
Taking Shortcuts When it comes to the most important things. There is a misconception about budgeting, and that is that budgeting means you don’t spend as much money. But in reality, budgeting means you set your spending limits, and you stick to them no matter what. Budgeting is taking small steps forward each month and keeping track of your progress. Many tools are available to help you with this, so you won’t have as much room to cut when marketing budgeting. If you know you will spend a certain amount for the month, but you still want to increase your earnings, you can take shortcuts by using a coupon site or buying a product you don’t need and treating it like a promotional item.
Depending on your entire future in it
Depending on how much you have a budget for advertising, you can develop different ways of spending your marketing budget. You can decide to use the money to buy ad space or place banners in different places so that you could drive a lot of traffic to your website. Or, you can also use your marketing budget to do some pay-per-click advertising campaign so that you could direct huge traffic to your site.
However, based on how much you spend on marketing, it is obvious that you will get positive results only if you have high conversion rates. If you have high conversion rates, you can expect to make a good profit margin. However, as every business person knows very well, there is no profit without loss. So, depending upon your needs, you can either invest in new traffic sources or cut down on the amount of money you spend on advertising. For example, you can go for PPC if you are into paid advertising and do not see any immediate results. But, if you are planning to build a strong list in the long run, you would be better off relying on free advertising methods like article marketing and blogging.
Therefore, before you start spending your budget on PPC campaigns, ensure that you have done your research. Do not rely on hearsay and trust anyone who tells you that you can get a lot of traffic to your site using PPC. It just does not work that way. It may take you a couple of months to notice any difference, but it will be worth the wait.
Not leveraging PR as part of your marketing mix.
Although media relations can help promote a business and advance its goals, many companies do not realize the importance of leveraging PR as a part of their marketing mix. While traditional media outlets such as newspapers, television, radio, magazines, and billboards are certainly effective in communicating a company’s information to the public, they are also largely untapped sources for PR. PR professionals know how to use these outlets to benefit a company and position themselves accordingly to fit the media outlet’s needs. Using PR as a strategy for marketing and building a strong public relations reputation is often considered one of the most effective marketing tools available.
There are many examples of how to leverage PR. For example, several large corporations have formed partnerships with Disney (Walt Disney World) and the State of Florida to promote Florida attractions. The corporations can receive discounts on theme park tickets, hotels, events, and other attractions and destinations by forming these partnerships. The public widely appreciated the PR value of this strategy, and the companies saw increases in their bottom line. These partnerships have proven to be quite successful, especially during the economic downturn experienced by all companies worldwide.
Many other large corporations that have not yet leveraged PR include AT&T (Mobility), Geico, and Kentucky Fried Chicken. All three companies successfully garnered media coverage by offering discounts on their auto insurance policies or launching marketing campaigns such as “You’ve Got Mail” to improve customer service. By integrating PR into their overall marketing mix, the companies increased customer loyalty, retention, and profit. Although the techniques used may not have been originally planned, the fact is that PR is a very effective marketing mix and should be utilized by all companies.
Dealing with long-term commitments.
Marketing budgets are cut, budgets get lost, and most companies find themselves in a position where they have no marketing budget at all! Many companies find that they have spent far too much money on advertising, and even when they do save their budget, they still find that they have run out of cash to advertise. Is there any way to get out of this dire situation without having to cut the budget? One answer is to start planning a marketing budget for your company now. How can you do this?
Before you can do anything, you need to have a budget. You should have a marketing budget, but the question is how large of a budget you should have. Do you have enough to pay for your expenses for a month or so? Do you need to go on a spending freeze until you get some more cash flow coming in?
These are all important things to consider before you start laying out your marketing budget. First of all, you must decide what kind of marketing you are interested in. If you are a sole proprietor, you can probably do away with budgeting altogether and do the marketing yourself. However, if you do have someone else help you out and a budget, you will need to figure out how much you will spend each month on marketing before you plan to go forward with your plan.
If you are a small business with one employee, you may find that your marketing budget can be kept low because there is no need for a big marketing budget. A marketing budget is necessary because you can’t rely solely on advertisements alone. You will need to do other kinds of marketing as well, such as flyers, direct mail, cold calling, and getting word of mouth about your business through word of mouth. Of course, these other kinds of marketing will cost more than advertising. Therefore, you must budget for it when you set up your marketing budget.
However, there is one way that you can use to stay within a budget while still doing all of the necessary marketing. Budgeting allows you to see at a glance where your money is going, and you can easily stay on budget by sticking to a weekly or monthly budget. This way, you always know where your money is going, and you won’t be tempted to spend it on something that is not necessary. Of course, sometimes the unexpected does happen, but you can catch it right away with budgeting and save yourself money in the process.