You’re probably putting together your 2013 marketing budget about now — at least we hope so. If not, get going. Given the unsettled economic climate in the industrial sector, there’s probably not enough in that budget pie to feed all your hungry marketing ideas. Which means you may need to make some tough decisions about your budget. Here are five ways to make those decisions a little easier.
First: Know your marketing goals. This is almost a no-brainer, but it never hurts to be reminded that you should have a firm grasp on your marketing goals for 2013. Whether your company is launching new products, entering new markets, developing a thought leadership position, raising the visibility of your brand, or focusing on engagement opportunities for your sales team, make sure everyone, from leadership to the marketing associate, knows your marketing goals. Everything that follows depends on it.
Second: Prioritize. How would you answer the question about which of your marketing goals are most important? Please don’t answer that they’re all equally important, because they simply can’t be. This is reality. It’s the law of sacrifice: to successfully meet your most important goals, you may need to abandon — or at least set aside — some of the lesser goals. And prioritizing goals is the only way to know where to fund and where to cut when dollars get tight. Fund your marketing budget from the top down — in other words, from the “must achieve” marketing goals to the ones that would be “nice to achieve.”
Third: Learn from history. What were your most effective marketing programs this past year? For online marketing programs, you should be able to easily determine the answers, because impressions, clicks, and conversions are all measurable with online programs. It also helps that almost all of your target customers use online resources to find manufacturers, components, products, and services. If you have some of the same goals year over year, and your marketing programs aligned to those goals are working, then keeping those programs alive is an easy decision to make and to defend.
Fourth: Get more bang for your buck. Let’s say your top two goals for 2013 are increasing the visibility of your brand in a new market and generating interest from prospects. Look for programs that can help you achieve both of those goals. For example, advertisements in industry-specific e-newsletters can get your brand noticed, and you can use those ads to make an offer (such as white paper or Webinar) that will generate interest from prospects. The best advice here: share your marketing goals with media partners and listen to their recommendations on the most efficient way to combine programs to meet those goals.
Fifth: Plan for sunny days and dark skies. No one can predict the year. And all marketers know that the marketing budget “set in stone” at the beginning of the year can suddenly become very elastic as the months roll by. Your budget plan is likely tied to key corporate goals, especially supporting sales and growth. So rather than start the year with a single budget and marketing plan, create two budgets, or better yet three. Plan for the most likely scenario for 2013 as best as you can predict. But be prepared in case you need to re-allocate funds during the year. However, you may receive more money for your initiatives as the year goes on if your company is hitting its goals. It’s best to be prepared for all of these situations so you can act quickly.
For more advice on planning your strategies and initiatives for the year ahead, download our complimentary 2013 Industrial Marketing Planning Kit.
Have you started your budget planning? What tactics do you use to determine where and how to allocate time, resources, and money? Let us know in the comments section below.