Thought leadership: How to plan your marketing spend

Thought leadership: How to plan your marketing spend

It’s budget time again. Time to consider what your marketing needs to achieve in 2018 and how you will reach your goals. Statistics have shown that up to 85% of small to mid-size companies operate from a budget only, that’s to say, there is no written plan for the year ahead.

Planning your marketing spend will help keep your entire team focused – a critical resource for your entire company. We can help you spend your marketing money on campaign elements that will have greater effect. Here are some actions to follow to get you started:

• Goals and objectives – Know your objectives and set goals so you know when you’ve achieved them. These need to be specific, measurable and realistic – not too easy, not too hard. Having clearly established goals will focus your mind on the campaign ahead and help you show the ROI that justifies your allocation of company funds. It also helps determine how much you receive in the future.

• Timeframe – How long have you got before your objective must be reality? Establish your end date and work backwards to initiate when your campaign elements must ‘drop’.

• Know who you want to reach – Identify your ideal customer/s, because unless you know who you’re trying to reach, your marketing message will be randomly scattered among people who have zero interest in what you are saying. Again, the more specific you can be about who your customers are, the more success you will secure.

• Establish clear USPs – They’re traditionally called Unique Selling Points, but we suggest you think of them as UBPs – Unique Buying Points, because you need to think from your customers’ perspective, and customers are not interested in selling, they’re all about buying.

You’ve probably heard the idiom ‘people don’t buy drills, they buy holes’, the point being that no one cares about the drill, as long as they get the right hole for their purposes at the right price. When setting your UBPs think along the lines of benefits to determine the legacy your business leaves.

• Plan of tools and tactics – based on your objectives, your budget and your customers’ preferences when it comes to message delivery and consumption. What sort of people are they? What will grab their attention? To grab their attention, you need to be where their attention is, so what media and channels are they influenced by?

• Choose your channels wisely – Will you choose advertising, email marketing, direct mail (GDPR compliant of course). How will you engage on social media, and on which channels? Do you have a constant flow of amazing content? Will you use PR and seek to recruit industry influencers to your cause? How about trade shows? The likelihood is that you will decide on a mixture – multi-channel marketing has proven itself a powerful means by which to achieve your goals.

• Build your campaign – Every campaign, no matter how big or small, needs a core message that all communication revolves around. You could also consider supporting your campaign with a big event. A ‘centre piece’ to your campaign could be attendance at a trade show. The costs can be far lower than PR stunts and big launches, yet the impact on the market can be significant, because all elements of your campaign can be executed in one sweep – under one roof.

Why you should place a trade show at the core of your campaign

Benefits of a trade show or exhibition attendance:

• Lead generation – relatively captive, well-targeted audience who are there to do business
• Quick results – generate potentially lucrative, qualified business leads in a short timeframe
• Face-to-face makes it easier to establish a rapport. It’s a chance to get to know customers and potential customers first-hand – learn what they want and explain why they should buy from you
• Speaker opportunities – it’s often free to speak as part of the education programme, this will raise your profile, you’ll be seen as an industry expert. This will lead to PR opportunities, social media promotion and media coverage
Awards – participating in awards during and around the event – all raise your profile, creating PR, blog and social media opportunities

Taking some time to plan what you want your marketing budget to achieve will provide focus and help direct your campaign to the right audience, at the right time, and in the right way. For more information on how to make trade shows the core of your campaign, get in touch, we’re happy to help.

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