The Most Effective Ways to Use Your Advertising Budget. How to Plan Your Activities
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How to Create Effective Marketing and PR Plans for Your Company

Creating a marketing plan is one of the important components of company operations. The process of planning marketing should take place as part of the overall planning and budgeting of the company.

A marketing plan should answer the following questions:

• What is your objective?

• What will you do to achieve it?

• Are you doing the right thing?

A marketing plan should include ALL of marketing, advertising and PR activities of a company:

• Advertising;

• Marketing promotions;

• Trade show participation;

• Website development and maintenance;

• Internet marketing;

• Partnership programs;

• Event participation;

• Publications.

Large corporations and brands always have a promotion plan (the marketing plan for next year is usually approved in May), while small and medium-size business often let this crucial point slip through their fingers.

Plans may be:

• Long-term (a year or longer);

• Medium-term (a quarter or six months);

• Short-term (a month).

Large companies have long-term plans spanning several years, but it is difficult for a small business to do that.

If you have no plan, you:

• Lose your customers by not reminding them of your existence all the time;

• Incorrectly distribute resources and have an “either feast or famine” situation in terms of clients;

• Do not understand what is going on with your advertising budget and spend more;

• Cannot decide into which company growth scenario to invest;

• Do not know which customers to cater to;

• Cannot choose correctly which products or services you should improve and develop and which to get rid of;

• Have no clear perspective of your company’s growth;

• Cannot make clear to your employees what, when and why they should be doing.

Companies that have a monitored annual marketing plan are more successful and profitable than those that do not have one:

• You invest in promising growth areas of your company and cast away unattractive ones;

• You work competently with good clients;

• You know which problems you should solve first and how to do it;

• You have a procedure for achieving your planned objectives. You do not act unnecessarily;

• You employees know where you are going and their motivation and activities improve.

Stages of a Marketing Plan

1. Analysis of the situation (creating the USP, competition analysis, etc.).

2. Determining the goal: maintaining the status quo, introducing new products/services, growing the client database, getting rid of leftover products, etc.

3. Determining specific dates for events or their duration and creating a calendar list of events.

3.1. First of all, specify the “hard-wired” dates for events that cannot be changed. Most often, this is arrival of products – new collections for clothing stores or seasonal services, for example. The demand for tanning salon and fitness services usually grows in early spring. The holidays are “hard-wired” only if your products or services are in high demand. Otherwise, they are simply there to be taken into account.

3.2. Review the white (unfilled) spaces. Think of promotions or events for these dates.

4. Choose or review promotional techniques. Make sure to take into account:

  • Product or service;
  • Pricing policy;
  • Product promotional techniques;
  • Promotion locations.

5. Create a budget and distribute resources.

6. Verify the plan’s feasibility.

7. Monitor the plan in the course of implementation; at certain check-points (at the end of the quarter or six months, for example) the plan should be reviewed with the view to either changing it or keeping it.

There is no ideal number of “global” promotions a year. In B2C it is customary to remind your clients approximately once a month. In B2B – it is once every two or three months. The clients must remember you all the time. Four to twelve promotions a year are considered optimal for a company.

Notes to the plan should include a detailed description of the main points of promotions or work to be done (on the website, for example).

A media plan or work schedule should be created on the basis of the marketing plan.

• Media Plan is a specific plan for placing advertising in your offices/stores, in the media, with partners.

• Work Schedule is a freestyle list of things to be done with corresponding dates.

 

Example of a Marketing Plan

 

JANUARY

FEBRUARY

MARCH

APRIL

MAY

JUNE

 

1

2

1

2

1

2

1

2

1

2

1

2

Promotion 1

Preparation (in Dec)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Time period

Jan 9

Jan 31

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Promotion 2

Preparation for part 1

!!!                    

 

Start

 

 

Feb 3        

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Preparation for part 2

 

 

!!!               

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start

 

 

 

 

March 1

 

Promotion 3

 

Preparation

 

 

 

 

!!!         

 

 

 

 

 

 

Start

 

 

 

 

 

 

April 6

 

Promotion 4

 

Preparation

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

!!!       

 

 

 

Approximate Start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May 25

 

Promotion 5

 

Preparation

 

 

 

 

 

 

                  

 

 

Start

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

      

 

Example of a Media Plan

Venue

Type of Advertisement

Website placement

Unit of Measurement

Amount

Price

Total Cost

No. 1

Banner 486 x 60

Website Home page and Forum

1 day

10

1,000

10,000

No. 2

Article

“How to Choose” page

1 day

3

7,000

21,000

No. 3

Article

Home page

1 day.

1

15,000

15,000

Writing article copy

 

Number

1

3,000

3,000

No. 4

Forum promotion

Forum No. 1

Month

1

20,000

20,000

 

Venue

Type of Advertisement

Website Placement

Unit of Measurement

Amount

 5

 6

 7

 8

 9

10

11

12

13

14

No. 1

Banner

486 x 60

Website Home page and Forum

1 day

10

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

1

No. 2

Article

“How to Choose” page

1 day

3

1

 

 

1

 

 

 

1

 

 

No. 3

Article

Home page

1 day

1

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

You can extend and improve the media plan:

• Separate venues by subject. First note the trading portals and catalogs, for example, then news websites by topic, search engines, then advertising in someone else’s mailings;

• Add contact information of the person who needs to receive the advertising materials. This is appropriate if you have an entire department working on advertising and promotes interchangeability;

• Add document information (add columns for account and agreement number, for example, payment due date and receipt, dates certificates should be received, etc.);

• In addition to the media plan, create a placement schedule. It will look similar to the one above (using image promotion as an example). The advertising campaign takes place from the 5th to the 14th of the month (see table for dates).

A Company PR Plan is that part of the marketing plan that deals with the media.

There are two approaches.

1. Implement the PR plan first, as if testing an advertising idea, then put the advertising into motion. This is practically unworkable for a small business.

2. Deal with the press at the same time as implementing other activities.

Exercise

Analyze your marketing activities for the previous year.

Promotion, Event

Promotion Cost

Event Results

Reasons for promotion failure or success

Resolution for the future

 

 

High rate of sales growth, paid off well

 

 

 

 

Small rate of sales growth, break-even

 

 

 

 

Losing promotion, no effect

 

 

Exercise

Plan your marketing activities for next year. Your plan should include:

1. Situation analysis (USP, competition analysis);

2. Your company’s strategic plans;

3. Your annual goals (in numbers) with a break-down by quarter and month. Take into account the impact of seasons, weather, time of day and other external factors on your sales.

The goals are usually set by the company owners. They should be discussed with the company CEO.

Prioritize.

• Your current market share and your plans for the year;

• Your current and target market niches;

• Going into more profitable markets/niches or maintaining your current position;

• Attracting new clients or retaining loyal ones;

• Desired customer growth rate per day/month;

• Average amount of sale, its monthly growth rate;

• Current cost of one sale/transaction, its reduction.

Goals are dependent on the type of product you sell:

• Sell leftovers in Х months;

• Increase sales by Х %;

• Sell a product that is new for your company or your market;

• Grow your client database by Х clients monthly;

• Increase the sale of a particular product by Х % a month;

• Increase your average sale by Х % in the next quarter, etc.

4. Your marketing budget for the year with the break-down by quarter and by month. It also makes sense to look at the budget break-down by target markets and separately – by advertising channels and tools.

5. Choice of advertising channels. It is important to take into account the effectiveness of channels and tools you have already used. Evaluate the specifics of your target markets. When you plan new events, make sure to take into account your real capacity in providing products and services and production capacity of your company.

6. Events, holidays, promotions. It is best to discuss promotions with your employees. Find out if they can do what you have planned or if you need additional resources. It makes sense to delegate website analysis to an external expert and to work out the statistics yourself. Determine how often you will conduct advertising campaigns or use particular channels and tools.

7. Calendar Marketing Plan.

8. Media Plan.

Write down specifically what you are going to do:

• On which website, where on the website;

• Using which media;

• Which partner should you talk to;

• If you are doing a flyer – will it be distributed by a promoter in a specific location, or will it simply be available in your office;

• Are you making a banner.

The plan should be clear to your employees. You can include contact information or accounting documents in media plans.

Make sure to include units of measurement:

• Days;

• Number of items;

• Price (or specify “free”);

9. Make a work schedule or placement schedule.

Basic Marketing Plan Mistakes

 The plan is not feasible.

• The plan is not discussed with those who will implement it. They do not understand what to do or how to do it.

• The plan is not monitored. People tend to forget that something was approved back in January and work as usual. As a result, in June the website is not done and the company is not ready for the scheduled promotion.

• There is no CRM system or automatic reminders for a large number of clients. Thus, there are no holiday wishes, as were planned.

• The reminders are too frequent and there is no option to unsubscribe. If there is too much junk mail, at some point people decide never to come back to the store.

• Customer relations take place on holidays only. Poor marketing specialists only work on Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day and Christmas. In that case, however, the wishes and offers are lost among others and are not perceived as valuable by the customer. You have expended as much effort as you would if you had a promotion any other time and the results are zero. If your business is not holiday-dependent, like a florist on Valentine’s Day, it makes no sense to have a promotion for a holiday. It is better to pick another day. Another option is to differentiate yourself from your competition and wish people happy holidays a day or two earlier or later. Ideally, you should send good wishes to customers for personal reasons, such as their birthdays or their children’s birthdays.

How to Work with a Marketing Plan

1. Discuss it with those who will implement it before approving it.

2. If you do not have a CRM system, it is simpler to create a regular Google document in https://docs.google.com and give access to it to several employees.

3. Monitor plan implementation and make monthly adjustments as needed.

 

Summary

1. Plan your marketing for the next year.

2. Create your company’s PR plan.

3. Monitor plan implementation monthly.

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Date of publication: 23 January 2018
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