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  • John Walker

Take the dread out of budgeting: Five tips to create a better marketing plan for 2020

Are you starting to get the meeting invites from Finance that signal the start of budget planning season? If this is not your favorite time of year, take heart, building your 2020 plan is actually a chance to make some big improvements to your media and marketing performance for 2020. Here are five critical steps to take as part of the budgeting process.

Consolidate media suppliers: See if you can reduce the number of media suppliers, concentrate media spending with fewer, and negotiate volume discounts. It’s likely that some of your suppliers offer a wider range of media options than you are currently buying from them. For example, most local news organizations offer digital media along with their traditional advertising platforms.

Set media performance goals: While you’re negotiating with your media suppliers, introduce the idea of performance goals. This means defining the actual outcomes you seek from the media buy, like sales leads. So, work with your media partners to ensure they know exactly what outcomes you seek and even consider incentivizing them to hit goals.

Narrow your target audience: When your target audience is not defined with precision, you pay extra media dollars to reach poor prospects. For example, if your media target today is adults 25-65, could you narrow it by age to 30-50? Or could you narrow parts of it so you are just targeting female consumers? Doing this will amplify media impact within the smaller universe of target consumers.

Adjust the media mix: It’s critical that your media plan deliver effective reach and strong frequency against your target audience. And this means using a mix of media. If you’re already doing that, then look at the mix in your current plan and optimize it. Put more money behind media that’s working well. If the performance of some media is lagging or unknown, then push for greater performance and accountability, or cut it.

Plan staffing: Your yearly budgeting process is the time to evaluate whether you’ve got the right mix of in-sourcing and out-sourcing of staff. A good rational for out-sourcing some marketing activities is to gain specific expertise or to hedge against fluctuating volumes of work. For example, maybe you want to expand your inbound marketing efforts and need someone to write blog posts. That’s easy work to out-source.

In-sourcing is a chance to build internal expertise that strengthens your organization long term. Marketing analytics is an area where some organizations want internal expertise so they have reliable insights to make good marketing decisions. So, maybe it’s time to hire a marketing analyst.

This post was written by John Walker, Principal at J. Walker Marketing. Contact John directly to discuss your marketing challenges.

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