Good Habit No. 1 for Your Marketing Budget: Annual Planning

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Marketing budgets are on the rise. A recent Nielson study reported that 63 percent of marketers expect to spend more money on brand marketing this year than last. That’s great news if you’re part of that 63 percent, but do you know how you’re going to spend that money over the next year to maximize its potential? The first good habit to get into with your marketing budget is to put together, at the very least, an annual plan.

Here are some of the advantages of having a marketing plan that we think are important for the annual planning process, as laid out by Entrepreneur:

  • It creates a rallying point for your employees
  • It gives you something to aim for and measure against
  • It creates some operational instructions for how and when to spend
  • It captures the current thinking of the marketing team
  • It takes you out of the minutia and makes you think about the big picture

For businesses in growth mode (especially smaller businesses), having an annual plan for your marketing budget is absolutely essential. It’s easy to get distracted or put off by the fact that revenue and cash flow may not be 100 percent stable. We get it: It’s tough to see the future when you’re writing it. But putting a plan in place and following it will better ensure that you don’t run out of funds before the end of your fiscal year.

For those companies in more mature, slower-growth modes, an annual plan can be supplemented by medium-term plans that forecast out two to four years. This is appropriate when you want to put together long-term messages and get higher-level creative out into the market. It also allows you to budget larger spends like big media buys or items with expensive upfront costs that will be used repeatedly (like a trade show booth).

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