January 3, 2018

Planning Your 2018 Marketing

by Collin Slattery

For many small and mid-sized businesses. Marketing and advertising are treated as an afterthought. It is the leftover money that is sitting around that is just thrown at things that haven’t been planned but you hope will work. It’s the first spending to be cut when things get bad. But it shouldn’t be this way! Marketing and advertising is vital spending for any successful business.

Marketing Drives Revenue

According to a study of CMO’s conducted by Deloitte, marketing represents 11% of companies’ budgets on average, though this does vary by industry. One key finding is that marketing drives revenue at approximately 40% of the companies surveyed. This means that marketing is primarily responsible for driving new revenue at these companies. You can’t just hope new revenue is going to come into your business; you need to plan and execute.

Commit to Spending Money

With the new year finally here, now is a great time to begin planning your marketing and advertising for the new year. Commit to allocating budget to your marketing. Allocate at least 10%. It is impossible to make marketing and advertising work for your business without allocating the necessary funds. Ad hoc advertising doesn’t work. Even if you’re a small business--let’s say $200,000 a year--that still gives you a budget of $20,000. You can do a lot with $20k!

Identify Goals & Create a Plan

With your budget set aside, it is time to identify your marketing goals and make a plan. Be specific with your goals.

  • I’d like to increase revenue by $X.
  • I want to get X new clients.
  • I want to grow our social following by Y.
  • I want to increase our email list by Z.
  • I want to get N visitors to our website.
  • I want to generate X new leads.

You can and should have multiple goals, but it is important to keep them realistic. If your website only generates 20 leads a year, having a goal of 20,000 leads is not realistic. It can feel exciting to come up with lofty goals, but it is better to have goals that were slightly too easy to achieve than goals that were impossible. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Once you identify your goals, work backwards to create a plan to reach those goals.

  • What are your quarterly milestones?
  • What are your monthly milestones?
  • What work do you need to do and by when?
  • How much money needs to be allocated to each item?
  • Who is doing what?
  • How will I determine what is working and what isn’t?

Execute the Plan

Having a plan in place is great, but if you don’t follow through with it, it isn’t worth the time, effort and expense you put into creating it. Make sure that your deadlines for each task are realistic and don’t procrastinate. Make sure that everyone who is involved with the marketing efforts knows when their tasks are due. We recommend using a task management platform like Asana.

Analyze Your Results

With the goals that you set during your initial planning phase, you can track how your marketing efforts are performing compared to your goals. Is your social media following growing at a pace that will allow you to reach your goal? Are you getting enough email subscribers?

If your results are in line or better with your annual goals, you’re in good shape. If you’re slipping behind, dig into that. What can you do to improve your results? What can you do differently? Are your goals too aggressive and need to be reevaluated?

Successful marketing can be summed up in 4 steps:

  1. Set goals
  2. Create a plan to reach those goals
  3. Execute the plan
  4. Analyze the results and tweak as necessary

The key like with all things is consistency. Marketing is a marathon, not a sprint.

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