Part 3 of 3 of our series “Creating a Successful Marketing Plan” gives you the final four ingredients you need to succeed. If you’ve missed the first two blogs, you can read them HERE or you can DOWNLOAD The free EBOOK HERE
The most important thing for you to do starting right now is to take action. Whether you do this on your own, or you hire an advertising agency or marketing manager, get things started. So here we go….the final four!
Clearly define your marketing and advertising budget
1. The average marketing and advertising budget is 3.5-5% of annual gross sales. This number may be more or less depending on your industry. To know what your industry average is you can download a copy of the Advertising to Sales Ratios.
2. What percentage of sales was used for marketing and advertising last year?
3. If this number is less than the industry average, it may not be financially responsible to immediately increase it to the industry average. Gradual increases may make more sense until your budget is up to industry standards.
4. If it is over the industry average, there may be an opportunity to decrease your advertising and marketing budget while maintaining the same effectiveness
Clearly define your plan’s execution
1. Define the responsibilities for creative development
2. Define the responsibilities for media buying
3. Define the workflow for how leads are handled
4. Define the workflow for follow up
5. Set dates for evaluating the performance of the plan
6. Pull the trigger
You can’t stop a bullet once it has been fired, and you should look at your marketing plan in the same way. If you have been thorough and honest in your planning, you should have an effective plan. Don’t stop it before it has a chance to start working. Evaluate monthly, but be hesitant to change unless there are serious flaws in the execution. It’s ok to tweak, but don’t get into the habit of “shooting from the hip”. This is what you did before you had a plan.
Monitor and review with discipline
Rome was not built in a day, and a successful marketing and advertising campaign is not going to be either. Be patient. If you have really done the work right, your plan should work. It may take some time for it to take off though. If you don’t see results right way, have the discipline to wait it out for at least three months before making major changes to it. The biggest mistake made is when the expectation is set that new customers are going to automatically beat your doors down. When this doesn’t happen giving up and completely stopping your campaign to save money, or radically changing what you are doing are the absolute worst things you can do.
So how do you know when it is working? Simple. Your campaign is generating new leads. This can be measured by comparing your call volume, website traffic, email inquries, social media engagement, and in-store traffic volumes to those prior to launching your campaign. When your campaign is generating new leads your sales should also be increasing. If they are not, then that is a separate issue on how you are converting leads into sales.
So now it’s time for you to get started on your marketing plan! Remember not planning is planning to fail, so you have no excuses. If you get stuck, need some help, or feel an outside perspective would be valuable, it may make sense for you to hire an expert. Hiring an expert also will save you a tremendous amount of time, energy, and most likely money. Contact SDB Creative Group to find out more about how we can help you with you marketing plan.