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Four Marketing Plan Strategies that will Impact Your Budget

An effective marketing plan lays out the forward-going strategies that will move the company toward the one- and five-year goals. But a good marketing plan is not just a listing of programs and dollars. The plan takes account emerging technologies as well as costs and program impact. Here are four areas that a solid marketing plan takes into consideration.

1. There is a very large number of marketing strategies to take advantage of. It has only been a few years since social media such as LinkedIn and Twitter became a marketing channel and B2B companies started to take advantage of them. Now there are hundreds of online technologies that are used for everything from sales to product support. There are so many, in fact, that it has gotten to the point where it is difficult to keep up.

Add to that all the newer strategies such as content marketing, influencer marketing, marketing automation and mobile app development and you have a very big pot of marketing strategies to choose from. A marketing plan that uses each strategy effectively requires an understanding of your industry and their responsiveness to various marketing methods so that you can allocate dollars where they will have the most impact.

2. New marketing technologies will require a bigger budget than you expect.

Everyone likes to try the “next big thing” when it comes to digital marketing and the newest “next big thing” seems to be appearing in the market place every week. For example, live-interaction applications such as Blab and Periscope have caught on with B2B companies which have been leveraging them for product support and question-and-answer sessions. Many new technologies have promise and could probably be used to connect with audiences, but they also have a higher cost.

Since these “new things” are indeed new, the cost for trying them goes up due to the need to test them and work out the bugs in your method of marketing with them. Costs such as extra personnel to research, learn, plan and test the implementation add up. These are people who could be working on tried-and-true methods, so integrating the new methods into the marketing plan becomes a lost opportunity cost.

3. There are hidden costs to marketing programs. Whether the programs are online or offline, inbound or outbound, they have hidden costs; extra personnel, extra printing, increased postage costs, extra travel and even the need for online reputation management should something go wrong. A smart marketing plan adds in extra dollars for the hidden costs that are likely to arise. Here are some examples:

Online marketing strategies:

  • Anticipated expenses: new and better Search Engine Optimization (SEO). More display ads on an increased number of targeted websites, more marketing directed at influencers and industry experts.
  • Hidden expenses: more personnel; designers, content managers, web masters. Printed literature for the influencers. Expanded tracking, data analysis and record-keeping. Training of inbound personnel to answer questions and inquiries. Re-vamping the website will require a web designer, an art designer and a copywriter, which means training and ramp-up can cause lowered productivity.

Outbound marketing strategies:

Trade shows and conventions:

  • Anticipated expenses: larger booth, more videos, printed handouts, personnel costs.
  • Hidden: extra printing costs, shipping printed materials, training the sales people, outbound calls to get influencers into meetings with your people at the trade show, shipping of product demo units and after-show support for phone calls from attendees.

4. The costs of some marketing strategies can be reduced significantly. For example:

Outbound marketing: The cost of print advertising can be reduced by negotiating with the salesperson. Buying larger quantities of ads or combining print ads with renting their mailing list can drive costs down by thousands of dollars. In-box flyers can be printed on-demand at the mailing house rather than bulk-printed; thereby saving hundreds of dollars in printing and storage costs.

Online marketing: Pay-per-click (PPC) ads can become less expensive as the search words are optimized and the ads are clicked. Joint online advertising with other businesses drops costs significantly. Press tours and press releases can be done online, thereby reducing travel expenses.

Before you put together your marketing plan, consider the areas we discussed above. A good marketing plan does more than list out marketing strategies and tactics. A good plan considers the more subtle influences on the budget and accounts for them. To learn more about effective budgeting for 2017, download KEO Marketing’s free Marketer’s Guide titled “5 Critical Steps for Planning Your 2017 Marketing Budget.

Sheila Kloefkorn

With more than 25 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.