Developing & Optimizing an Effective Marketing Plan

Developing and managing a budget are among a marketing leader’s most important - and oftentimes challenging - tasks. There is only so much money available and where you allocate each dollar can mean the difference between a marketing strategy that barely gets you by and one that truly drives the success of the business. Thankfully, with the right approach, optimizing your marketing budget doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Here are a few tips to get you pointed in the right direction.

Set specific goals.

You can’t begin to develop your marketing budget until you understand exactly what you’re trying to achieve. This will help you identify which areas to allocate funds and in what proportion. While the importance of establishing revenue and marketing goals remains constant in every industry, the actual nature of those goals will likely vary by business. 

For instance, the amount and method for marketing a brick and mortar store might be quite different than that of a strictly ecommerce operation. In any case, figure out who you are trying to reach and what you are hoping to achieve, and then develop a strategy and a budget for how you can best accomplish those goals.

Figure out what’s working (and what isn’t).

As you’re hammering out your marketing strategy for the future, it can be helpful to understand what activities you’re currently doing that are producing positive results. For example, perhaps your social media advertising is bringing in a lot of qualified leads. At the same time, you may also discover areas where your strategies aren’t performing as well as you’d like. 

Routinely assessing the current state of your marketing approach will help ensure that you’re not investing money where it isn’t netting a good return. Use the tools available to you – like Google Analytics, CRM software and call tracking technology - to help with measuring, tracking and optimizing ROI. 

Understand cost efficiency.

It’s not always enough to simply compare different marketing channels side by side, as doing so could produce results that are misleading. To assess true ROI, you must also take into account the bottom-line cost efficiency of each channel. For instance, if advertising online resulted in a $4,000 increase in sales and running a radio ad brought in $5,000, at first glance, you might assume the latter was the wiser investment. However, because advertising online costs significantly less than marketing on the air, the actual return may not be as straightforward as it appears. Make sure that you’re taking a holistic approach to your marketing budget analysis. 

Use data for smarter decision making.

Finally, when developing a marketing budget, it’s also beneficial to examine overarching trends that are occurring in your industry as well as in the marketing realm as a whole. Some helpful resources for tracking and leveraging this data include organizations like Forrester Research, eMarketer and Marketing Sherpa. These, along with industry-specific resources can provide insight as to what to expect and plan for in the marketplace of tomorrow, which can aid in determining which areas to allocate your marketing spend for the greatest potential return.

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