Failing to create an annual marketing budget and sticking to it.
It’s almost the middle of February and I was recently told there was no money for a marketing project I was asked to provide a proposal for about 8 weeks ago. I asked if this meant all 2013 and received a tearse answer of “yes.” The project ended before I could start it.
There are two issues here. First, many companies in small business, simply fail to sit down at the beginning of the year (or whenever) and establish an annual marketing budget. But to be honest with you, it’s very rare to be out of money this quickly.
The second issue, of course, is that these same companies fail to stick with the plan.
Sometimes, when business drops, it’s easy to say, “Cut the marketing budget.”
Experience teaches us that this is the worst time to cut a marketing budget. If anything, this is probably the time to be more aggressive in your marketing than you’ve ever been.
The best way to create an annual marketing budget for the coming year is to review what you did last year. Think about the results you obtained. Think about where new and “better” business is coming from.
Then, remove marketing and advertising approaches that were less productive and replace them with a new approach that seems more appropriate given the state of your business and the economy.
Just remember to work from a strategic marketing standpoint. In other words, focus first on your primary mission… your big goals… your major objectives. Avoid including marketing or advertising activities (like the Chamber of Commerce directory or high school sports program book) simply because you included them last year.
CONCLUSION: There’s an old saying, “If you’re not making plans for yourself, you’ll wind up in someone else’s plan.” That’s definitely not where you want to be. And especially in February!
Sure, planning takes time. However, the sooner you begin, the sooner you get your act together so that you’re not wasting time or money. The key is that you must start planning from a strategic standpoint and stick with that strategy. There’s nothing wrong with a brown bag lunch, but a budget?
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