Step by step to the right marketing and budget planning
When planning the upcoming marketing year or quarter, there are many individual steps to consider. With the right marketing planning, nothing can get in the way of targeted execution in the company and the budget can be used in the best possible way to ideally achieve the desired sales success. It is important to venture step by step and first draw up the marketing plan in order to then estimate the marketing budget.
What is strategic marketing planning?
Strategic marketing planning is the decision-making process regarding the execution of future marketing of the company and its implementation. A distinction is made between strategic planning, which decides on the goals and conception, and operational planning. The operative marketing planning of the company includes the marketing measures collected and prescribes how the various marketing instruments are to be used in the company. This includes the definition of individual content, the focal points and campaigns to which they should be summarized, and the extent to which they affect the overall sales objectives. Strategic marketing planning thus combines the company's strategy with sales and individual campaigns. The process of marketing planning should ideally take place systematically, but is nevertheless characterized by creativity and flexibility to respond to special situations.
The results of strategic marketing planning can then be recorded and manifested in the marketing plan. When managing and defining the marketing plan, all marketing activities of the company are listed in the planned period. It is important to include the product or service to be promoted in the marketing plan. In addition, this marketing plan defines the framework and speaks briefly about the potential in the market. In order to be generally understandable, it is important to provide explanations, influencing factors and derivations if necessary. A good marketing plan is characterized by comprehensive, thematic elaboration, which should cover the following points:
- Analysis of the current marketing situation
- SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and risks (marketing and market)
- Overview of the goals: General goals in the company, goals in marketing as well as targets for sales, market share and profit
- Product features that should be emphasized in marketing (USP)
- Planned measures: description, responsible persons, planned budget and medium
- Result forecast and progress control
What is particularly important?
In order to set up a suitable and successful marketing plan, great emphasis should be placed on strategy in marketing. A suitable plan can only be drawn up once the current situation is clear and the market is analyzed at regular intervals and the competitors are observed. This should be realistically adapted to the strategy in order to avoid possible short-term changes as best as possible. In addition to the situation analysis of marketing, special attention is paid to the general goals of the company. Ideally, the goals in marketing and thus the marketing plan are derived from these. In addition to the orientation towards the goals, it is also important to plan the measures as future-oriented as possible. However, the most important thing is not to forget the customer in this process and to adapt all marketing measures in the process to the customer.
Choose the right advertising material and content
The target group for marketing plays a central role in the choice of measures and the media in which they are published and distributed. The selected media in particular can provide information about which groups of people are addressed for the individual product. It is advisable to analyze the target group of the medium in advance and compare it with the target group of your own product or service. In addition, it should be determined in advance what information customers should receive about the product or service.
The strategic marketing planning and the budget
In addition, the marketing measures are significantly influenced by the estimated marketing budget. It is particularly important to focus initially on the information and advertising material that promise the most success in order to protect the budget and then take additional marketing measures if there is a surplus.
In most cases, budget planning for marketing begins with sales planning in the company. The greater the increase in sales, the more marketing will be required to achieve the goal, which in turn means that a larger marketing budget is needed.
How do I find the right budget?
Choosing the right overall budget is usually a challenge, especially when planning marketing budgets for the first time. There are no uniform key figures for determining the budget. Different sizes are suggested depending on the industry and product. For companies and suppliers in the automotive industry, the marketing budget averages around 3%, in the service sector 8-10%, whereas companies like Red Bull spend up to 30% of the sales volume on marketing. In general, it makes sense to always choose a value above the industry average in order to stand out from the direct competitors. However, if no industry values are known, the golden mean of approx. 10-15% of sales is recommended.
The question of efficiency
It is particularly important to use the funds efficiently and to invest mainly in measures that bring the highest possible advertising efficiency. This is calculated from the ratio of costs to reach or precise targeting. The more relevant people can be reached with the measure, the more budget should be spent on this measure. This strategy also tries to avoid unnecessary measures and thus costs and to convince investors with the right arguments.
What costs should be integrated?
In order not to be negatively surprised at the end of the year, it is important to consider all costs and to prepare the plan as best as possible. Important components and expenses that should be considered in the preparation of the budget plan are:
- Design costs and costs for the production of advertising materials (e.g. flyers, brochures, videos, etc.)
- Distribution costs (including participation fees for trade fairs and events)
- Travel expenses for employees and representatives
- Working hours of employees (for the creation, analysis, strategy and market research)
- Other costs (training, seminars, etc.)
Especially when calculating working hours, it is important to compare the estimated values at the end of the year with the actual values, so that it can be ensured that the next year can be planned even more precisely.
Checklist for planning the marketing budget (bottom-up):
- Determine marketing focus for the product
- Management and selection of marketing measures and media
- Clarify scope (period, repetitions, size)
- Calculate production costs
- Estimate personnel requirements and calculate time
- Estimate costs for service providers
- Calculate costs for individual measures
- Take measures together and calculate the total price
- Compare the price with the estimated marketing budget
- If necessary, delete or accept measures
In order not to stand alone with the management of the marketing plan and to communicate the information and content as best as possible to the marketing of the individual partners, it is advisable to resort to technical support using a software solution. There are various business models for how the right marketing planner can be brought into the company.
With this type of marketing planner, the complete license of the program is acquired once. The planner can thus be installed on the computers of the individual partners and used jointly. However, this purchase can be comparatively expensive, but offers the opportunity to make one-off adjustments and individualizations. After purchase, the license usually remains on the same standard and is not further developed.
Open source programs
Open source programs are the cheapest (mostly available online) solution to implement a marketing planner. Since the software is not sold commercially in this case, no additional training is provided or regular innovations are guaranteed. Open source marketing planners are therefore only to be recommended if the software is to be tested first and if the employees have sufficient technical knowledge to deal with the program themselves.
Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) offers the most flexible options, in which the marketing and budget planner is made available online as a cloud program in a web app. The personal log-in data provides each partner and user with access to the system, which they can use online and from any location. For this, however, a constant internet connection must be guaranteed. The price advantage is that it is not a large one-off sum, but monthly contributions.