By now, you should have started creating your Marketing Plan/Budget. Here are three tips to guide you, because as you’ve probably heard, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” I know it’s tempting to simply copy and paste last year’s plan but this is a bit like driving while only looking in the rear-view mirror. Market opportunities, alliances, relationships are constantly changing so your Marketing Plan needs to evolve as well.

1. What to Include

A good Marketing Plan is a one year roadmap of how you will achieve your firm’s Strategic Plan. Here is what you should include: Budget (see below), Staffing (who will do what and by when), Timeline (prioritized sequencing of implementation), Promotional Mix (advertising, web site, social media, brochure, video PR, events, etc.). If you need help in this area, I can recommend a consultant. To help you get started, click here for a free .pdf map to help you through the process.

2. Ask for the Money
Don’t be timid in asking for a healthy budget that will allow you to effectively market your firm. There are three methods I know of to create your budget. Projection is taking last year’s budget, and based on projected growth or decline, adjust this year’s budget. Percentage is taking a straight 10″“15% of gross revenues. I recommend Goal-Based; which is taking each goal from your Strategic Plan and breaking down what it will cost to achieve that goal. You can then check this against Projection and Percentage to make sure your budget request is realistic. Your labor costs should be 50″“70% of your overall budget with promotional costs covering the remaining 30″“50%. I’m happy to provide rough estimates to help with budget requests. Is it likely that your plan might change throughout the year? Absolutely. But if you don’t ask for the money now, it will surely be designated to something else later when you really need it.

3. Implementing the Plan
Having a plan is a great first step, but implementation is what you will be measured against. First, form a core Marketing Team (not too big, but with enough Principal muscle to be influential). Marketing Plans will fail unless the talent responsible for implementation is involved in the creation of the plan. Share the Marketing Plan with everyone in the organization because marketing the firm is everyone’s business. Finally, review and measure on a regular basis (at least monthly). Be sure to share success stories internally. This demonstrates the value of marketing and builds momentum and morale.

Just doing what you’ve always done will get you what you’ve always got. So invest in your Marketing Plan to be a beacon for your best year yet. This will help to prioritize proactive and reactive opportunities and make the most of your time and money.

What Do You Think?
Is this helpful to get you started in creating your marketing plan?
Is there anything else that you include in your marketing plan?
What are some ways you motivate your team to support your marketing plan?

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