As the new financial year approaches, it is timely to consider how you can set a marketing budget that will achieve your goals over the next twelve months.
Budgets are a measurement tool that ensure you can adequately manage revenue and expenditure. Similarly, you also need to identify how you will measure the impact of your marketing activities.
Setting a marketing budget may seem like guesswork, but with the right information you can set a realistic budget.
- Firstly, ensure you have clearly defined goals for the next twelve months. A business plan should be guiding the development of your business, supported by a marketing plan that shows how to achieve these outcomes. These plans should identify the actions that will be undertaken each year.
- Secondly, you need to consider how you will achieve these outcomes. While your strategic plans should identify potential actions, these need to be reviewed to ensure that they are relevant and achievable. A marketing audit can assist by providing a health check on your marketing activities.
Consider how customers find your businesses and interact with your products or services. Are you leveraging these marketing tools as effectively as possible? For example, are you integrating these activities to save time while extending your reach?
Instant time savings can be created through integrating your website updates with social media, providing a consistent approach while also providing ongoing activity. Offline materials can be streamlined through a consistent identity guide that determines the visual elements of collateral like brochures and leaflets.
Consider the budgeted amounts for each of these materials and their value in attracting and retaining customers. Do these marketing activities assist in not only obtaining customers, but also other goals, such as differentiating your products or services? For example, speaking at conferences or providing editorial content may not generate immediate sales, but can build longer ongoing credibility and demonstrate expertise.
Also don’t forget that word of mouth referrals are a form of marketing. What actions can you undertake to encourage recommendations? Asking people to refer your products and services is always a good start and may prompt someone to take action.
Knowing how you measure your marketing activities will assist in setting effective budgets that will guide the financial performance of your business.