It’s almost the end of 2016, and that means we at JP are busy planning clients’ marketing budgets for 2017. It’s important for us to utilize our clients’ marketing dollars and help them get the most bang for their buck and the only way you can do that is plan, plan, plan.
I’m a planner- I like to do things in advance. What can I say; it just helps me sleep better at night. But sometimes in advertising you can’t always arrange things in advance; actually you can’t plan a lot of things – many things come up at the last minute. But when we can plan out things, I like to take advantage of it.
We like to start out with a budget to determine where to spend it. Ideally, that budget is for an entire year. Where should you start? As Jane discussed in her 8 Steps to Beating the Big Brands to determine how much you should put in your marketing budget, take a percentage of last year’s sales or projected sales. Here’s a recommended breakdown based on different categories of businesses:
- For established businesses that are not in a highly competitive market, we suggest 3% of sales should be allocated to the budget.
- If a business is seeking growth and competes in an active marketplace, we suggest an increased investment of 5% of sales.
- For start up companies with no brand recognition, businesses in a competitive marketplace, or businesses who want to grab more share of the market, an 8% investment is recommended.
Now that we’ve determined an overall budget, we can break it down into categories including television, radio, digital, outdoor (billboards), events, public relations, and more. It’s important to not put your entire budget into one category. Advertising through different mediums increases your reach and allows you to target different groups of people. Based on your campaign goals and who you want to reach, you will need to determine which channels are best suited for the campaign.
Now back to the advertising budget. We use advertising planners that breakdown costs per category and per medium. Usually, we take it a step further with a monthly calendar that lists flights. This kind of planner helps us stay organized when we have a lot of clients to manage. If you want to create your own budget, here’s a simple budget template from Hubspot.
Benefits to Planning Ahead
Some of our clients don’t like to plan out the whole year in advance and instead they like to buy media month to month. Here are a few benefits to creating an advertising planner for the year.
1. Lock in better rates for TV or radio
Our media team is made up of the best negotiators. The further in advance we can buy media, the better rates we can get. We like to book two to three months at a time or even six months. We also get the best placement when we book in advance for TV, radio, and print.
With an advertising planner, someone can simply look to see what media is running during the week. It makes it easier to stay organized when you are advertising on multiple platforms.
Although the word flexibility might sound strange when talking about planning, that’s exactly what having a plan can lead to. You know that old saying, “You can’t know where you‘re going without knowing where you’ve been.”? This is never more true than when it comes to marketing.
Let’s say that you have your beautiful 2017 marketing plan complete with clear goals and a path to get there. But now it’s June and you’re nowhere near hitting the mark. Don’t panic. Because you’ve had 2017 mapped out, you know exactly what hasn’t worked, what budget has been spent, where you are with your goals progress – and now you know what to change.
Even the best laid plans must change, and now you have the perfect tool to make some drastic (or not so drastic) changes without breaking the bank. At JP, we are always staying on top of the trends and researching the best ways to advertise in this digital age. If we find a new way of advertising half way through the year, we can add it to our advertising plan.
We are ready to take on 2017 and make it a great year for our clients! Are you ready for 2017?
–Alexa Ude, Account Assistant