Marketing Budgeting & Planning Deliver results - Here's How to do it right.
If you want to be successful in today's marketing, you must give fresh and consistent content that is of value to your target audience. You must be helpful.
If you are researching a comprehensive marketing plan or marketing plan template, chances are good that you already understand that marketing is a good business practice. Before diving in, it can be helpful to pause and clarify your business objectives.
When you are clear on what and to whom you are marketing, your return on investment is likely to be higher.
What Are Your Business Objectives?
We applaud you if you want to get your budgeting ducks in a row when determining your marketing plan! Before you work on a spreadsheet it is absolutely necessary that you identify your goals.
What are you trying to achieve with marketing? Do you want to attract new customers? Nurture your existing client base? Attract a different kind of customer?
Understanding goals and stating them at the front-end will influence your choices as you build-out your plan.
Who is your audience?
The beauty of digital marketing is that you can effectively target your audience. Before you do this, you must define who they are. It's helpful to create a persona of your ideal client and give them a name and a profile! Creating the persona will keep your message on target because you can always test out a new idea by answering the question - would our ideal client be attracted by this?
Some questions to ask when you are creating your ideal client persona:
- Who are your current clients and prospects?
- How specifically can you define them?
- Where do they work? Where do they live?
- What is your client’s budget?
- What are their pain points and how can you help them?
- How do you help their business and bottom line?
- Where do they play, read, or visit (i.e. industry events, LinkedIn, Facebook)?
Prioritize your activities and marketing efforts based on your answers to these questions.
Most marketing plans will be a balance of activities influenced strongly by the strategy you create.
Why Are You Special?
Before you jump in to creating the strategy, you need to be able to answer the question, "Why are you special?" or, "What about your product or service is special, unique, better than anything else available?" This tends to be difficult to answer, we know. Understanding your unique value and creating a unique selling proposition will be the cornerstone of a marketing strategy.
If you're not sure of the answer, ask your best clients and they will tell you.
What is a Marketing Strategy?
A marketing strategy is the overarching theme that ties all of your tactics together and makes them work in alignment towards your goals.
Base your marketing strategy on the cross section of what you offer (products and/or services) and what your clients need to be successful. A thoughtfully created strategy will incorporate providing real value to your clients in mediums and locations that is easy for them to consume.
For example, if your clients use healthcare billing software to do their work and you provide professional services for people using healthcare billing software, then your marketing strategy might be to provide specific tangible value to them about the software that they use as a way to develop trust with your prospects and deliver value.
As a healthcare professional services organization, your marketing strategy might include identifying a series of content pieces that would help your prospects be successful in their job. You would then identify the best places to deliver that content to your audience including industry specific conferences (presenting or leading workgroup sessions), industry produced email newsletters, blog posts on industry produced sites, blogs, and updates via social media.
Once you identify the value that you can provide and who you are providing it to, you can easily create a strategy that incorporates your services and products, your target audience, and the best places to engage them.
How the Marketing Budgeting Template Can Help!
You’ve clarified your business goals and determined your target audience - now you need to make the plan that will achieve those goals and reach that audience AND, you must do all of this within the confines of your marketing budget.
This is where our marketing budget template comes in handy. We created this template based on our own successful marketing budget and strategy as well as those of our clients.
The detailed template allows you to plan your annual marketing calendar, your event calendar, and your budget. You can determine your budget on a monthly as well as annual basis and fields are available for all marketing possibilities including traditional, digital, capital spending, etc.
Do you have questions on how to implement marketing budget template or a marketing plan? Let us know - we would love to help!
Editor's Note: Originally published in 2016, this blog has been updated and edited in November 2018