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Start Planning Ahead for Next Year’s Marketing Now!

[caption id="attachment_3633" align="alignnone" width="300"]Marketing Planning and Budget Marketing Planning and Budget[/caption]

Start Planning Ahead for Next Year’s Marketing Now!

The best business planning takes place months ahead of time—it gives owners and operators time to look ahead to plan viable goals, allocate proper funds for different campaigns and allots time for changes or updates that have to be made to a business’ timeline. While you can’t control everything when it comes to planning for your business’ future growth, you can certainly control how you’re going to market yourself. Planning marketing campaigns and branding initiatives ahead of time is one of the smartest things a business can do. Not only is marketing directly linked towards growth, it can also be one of the costlier aspects of running a business, which makes it prudent to plan ahead of the costs your campaigns with incur. Not sure how to plan so far in advance when it comes to marketing and branding? Talk to one of the professionals at AlphaGraphics! We have a depth of experience in helping growing businesses to project their own futures and, more importantly, plan accordingly for sustainability in the long term.

Calculating your Campaigns

Does your business have an editorial calendar? Do you know how to create and budget campaigns based on an editorial calendar? If not, this is your starting point for future planning.An editorial calendar is an outline of what your business’ marketing focus will be on a weekly, monthly or quarterly basis. Within an editorial calendar you’re bound to find everything from budgets to deadlines, materials to assignments and anything else that’s pertinent to accomplishing your marketing goals. But, most importantly, an editorial calendar is a steadfast plan that you can use to plan financially for the upcoming weeks and months ahead. As an example, let’s say you’re planning to run a huge campaign for Valentine’s Day next year.Rather than putting together materials a week in advance and recording these costs after the fact to discern whether or not your campaign was a success, an editorial calendar will give you insight into what materials you’ll need upfront, what the cost of these materials is and what revenue goals you’ll have to reach in order to justify the cost of the campaign.

Factoring in Budgets

Now, aside from an editorial calendar as a dynamic tool for planning your future campaigns, you need to take a fiscally responsible approach to planning for your business’ future as it pertains to advertising. This doesn’t just mean allocating X% of your yearly revenue to “marketing” as an overhanging objective—it means breaking “marketing” down into its unique, individual costs.

So what are Marketing Costs really?

Well, it’s a collection of costs that encompass materials, media buys, fees and more—but more than this, it’s a subsection of categories that require their own attention: brand building, lead generation, client retention, brand awareness and sales boosting. Each of these unique goals of marketing becomes its own segment and each requires part of your business’ marketing budget to successfully plan ahead.
Here’s a quick example of how you might break down your Marketing Budget over the next quarter, to make sure you’re planning properly:
 30% total marketing budget to brand building materials  30% total marketing budget to lead generation o 10% to brand awareness campaign #1 o 10% to brand awareness campaign #2 o 10% to promotion materials o 20% to advertising materials o 10% to advertising radio campaign  20% total marketing budget to sales materials  20% total marketing budget to client retention o 10% to direct mail program o 10% to referral program The above example may look complex—and to an extent it is—but even this is only skimming the surface of how in-depth a budget can get. The further you can break down your anticipated costs, allocate your business’ funds and plan for desired outcomes, the better the position you’ll be in and the more comfortable you’ll feel heading into the future. If planning months and months ahead seems like a daunting task or you’re not able to align your future plans with your current budget projections, it might be time to speak with someone who can help. Contact AlphaGraphics today to sit down with a marketing professional who can put everything in its place for you to see and help you feel more confident in your decision to plan ahead.

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