Do you know how much you spend on marketing each year? If not, now is the time to create a marketing budget and start keeping track of it, so that you can make the most of the money you are spending.
My type A personality will become apparent when I talk about budgets, tracking and being aware of where spending is happening. While you don’t need to obsess over the numbers, getting a good handle on them is important. I’m amazed how often I talk to someone that has no idea how much they are spending on marketing, or they are completely unaware of something that costs them thousands of dollars each year. It is common, but still not a good idea, for small businesses to overlook marketing budgets, which is why you’ll find many articles about the importance of a dedicated marketing budget. –And why you’ll likely be encouraged by your Vivid Image team to give some attention and planning to your marketing budget for the upcoming year.
Five Impact Areas for Marketing Budgets
Every business and organization are different and have unique requirements when it comes to budgets and spending, but there are five things that are universal for all.
- Spending Awareness – Do you know where your money is spent? Did you sign-up for a service years ago and you continue to receive and pay a monthly invoice? Look at those items. Is it the best use of your money? Times change – marketing and technology are not the same today as they were three years ago. Whether it is $50, $300 or $1,000 every month – think about how you can spend those marketing dollars most effectively.
- Set Goals – Once you have a handle on how much you have available to spend, decide what you want to accomplish. By setting goals you can direct your marketing dollars in the right direction and track the results. Are you trying to reach a sales goal surrounding a product or service? Do you need to build brand awareness? Are you hiring staff?
- Targeted Marketing – Based on your goals decide who you are targeting to reach those goals. Just because you’ve always sent a postcard about XYZ widget to a specific customer group in December doesn’t mean you need to do it again. Who should you reach with your marketing to achieve your goals? It may have changed over time.
- Adjust and Be Flexible – It is easy to keep doing the same things year after year. Do you create a yearly marketing budget and 95% of it is the same each year? That is a sign that you need to take a hard look at what you are doing and make sure it is effective. Do this constantly. If you have a marketing budget and something big comes up, always allow some flexibility. The economy, your industry and customer behavior change constantly. If a new life-changing product hits your industry in November, but you didn’t plan or budget for it back in January, do you think it is a good idea to just ignore it? No! Don’t get left behind or miss your opportunity.
- Track & Measure Results – You probably hear this often, but it is important and worth repeating. Track what you are doing. Set your goal and determine if what you are doing is reaching that goal based on numbers and facts. Just because you like doing something or you’ve always done an activity doesn’t mean that is the right thing to be doing for your organization. Let your Vivid Image team help you put measurements in place!
A new year is right around the corner. Now is the perfect time to look at your marketing budget and make sure it is effective. Think about the five items above and see how they fit into your approach. If you don’t have a marketing budget create one.
Critiquing your own plans and creating change can be challenging. If you need advice or another set of eyes on your marketing plan reach out to your Vivid Image Account Director. We help organizations approach marketing with a strategy every day.