Whilst there’s still work to do this financial year, an eye needs to be cast forward to next financial year – in particular developing your marketing budget.
But, before you can develop a budget, you need to have your marketing strategy in place, and any existing marketing strategy needs to be reviewed, challenged and redeveloped. This will allow you to create a marketing plan and budget based on strategic objectives and outcomes:
- Improving your return on investment and your effort
- Be fully justifiable, increasing your chances of approval
- Provide rationale and focus for all your efforts. So as new opportunities arise, you can assess if they are on strategy. Making it easy to discard some and focus on opportunities that may present a better investment than those in your current plan.
Not every organisation’s strategic process will be the same, but here are some things that should be considered in every strategy
- First of all, forget the 4Ps (product, place, promotion and price) for the moment. Whilst this is vital in developing your tactics, you need to look beyond these at first and understand the market and your audience.
- Your marketing strategy needs to tie into your organisational strategy. What’s the organisation’s goals and mission? What outputs (financial) and outcomes (impact) does it want to achieve and how can your marketing strategy achieve these?
- What is happening in the market – what changes have there been in the last twelve months and what changes are likely to happen in the next two years? What are your competitors doing? What threats and opportunities do these changes bring?
- Who are your audience and what are their needs and wants? Don’t limit yourself to looking at your existing clients, understand the whole audience so you can create unique segments and build new business.
Once you’ve considered all the factors relevant to your organisation, you can develop your marketing strategy. Make sure you’ve covered which segment(s) of the audience you’ll target, your positioning to each segment and what your objectives are.
Tip: Whilst your working document will be many pages summarise it in one or two pages – this will be a powerful tool to keep the whole business and your efforts on track.
Tactics and budget
With your strategy complete it’s time to develop your marketing plan and look at the 4Ps (product, place, promotion and price). Analysing these against your strategy will allow you to create an effective marketing plan that:
- Ensures current services and business practices meet the needs and wants of customers, allowing you to make adjustments as necessary or add new services to your organisation’s portfolio.
- Ensures you reach the right audience at the right time with information that is relevant to them.
- Allows you to create a marketing budget where you only allocate a budget line to activities that achieve an objective in your strategy, rather than just repeating what you did last year.
Tip: Make sure your plan helps you achieve short and long term success. It’s much easier to get your message through to someone who already has a connection with your brand. Make sure you include activities to connect people to your brand and your mission. Whilst this will yield a lower return on investment short term, in the future it will make your marketing efforts more effective.