As a senior marketing executive, you likely spend your day juggling an ever-changing list of priorities. When it is time to create your annual budget, you may view the task as an annoyance rather than an opportunity. However, the act of creating your budget gives you the chance to review what you have done, consider what you want to accomplish during the coming months and create a map that can help you achieve your goals. Unless you avoid the most common marketing budget pitfalls, though, you could find that your budgeted funds fail to generate the results that you want. Here is a list of the 10 most common errors that occur when planning a marketing budget.
Not Having A Solid Marketing Plan
Successful marketing requires money, but it also requires a great deal of preparation. Without a solid marketing plan, you are not prepared to make decisions that ensure that you are spending your budgeted funds appropriately, wisely and effectively. A strong plan will include at least the following:
In-depth knowledge of your target market
Your competitive position within your target market
Your strategies and tactics
Your plan to differentiate yourself from competitors
Your KPIs to measure success
Once you have a solid marketing plan, your budget is easier to prepare, becoming something of a supporting document for the execution of your plan.
Not Engaging Business Partners
Marketing teams sometimes forget that they exist for a purpose: to help the company achieve its business goals. Achieving the marketing goals can be meaningless if they are not aligned with the company’s goals. Every marketing budget should be designed to support the company’s business goals. Otherwise, marketers can find themselves scrambling to shift priorities and objectives without having sufficient funds remaining in the budget. This means that marketing executives must communicate with other executives and leaders to gain a thorough understanding of the overall objectives and strategy. Engaging with business partners also gives marketers the opportunity to enlist support for marketing efforts. For example, marketing automation relies heavily on database quality, but marketers typically have little control over collecting, maintaining and scrubbing the data.
Relying Too Much On Historical Budgets
Last year’s budget can be an excellent starting point for creating the marketing budget for next year, but it is only a starting point. Even if all goals were met and the allocation of funds proved accurate, there is no guarantee that the same formula will work next year. Technology is evolving rapidly, your competitors are making changes and your customers are expecting more from you. You have to base your new budget on what you want to accomplish rather than what you accomplished in previous years.
Getting Too Detailed
Marketers sometimes “paint themselves into a corner” by being too specific when preparing a budget. To illustrate, suppose you learn in December that a new software called DuzItAll is scheduled to be released in six months. The product sounds as if it would be perfect for automating all of your marketing efforts, but it carries a substantial price tag. You create a line item in your budget devoted to the purchase of DuzItAll. However, the software is never released because the company folds. You now have to reallocate the funds, which may require obtaining approval from the CEO or CFO. Avoid complications by ensuring that your budget categories are vague enough to give you a little room to maneuver.
When you want to launch a marketing campaign, it can be hard to be patient. The sooner you launch, the sooner you can see those leads start coming in! Right?
Well, yes… And no.
Sure the sooner you launch, the sooner you might see a few leads trickle in, but if you really want to knock your campaign out of the park, here are 10 things you must do before launching your campaign.
1) Get clear on your brand.
Before you begin any marketing campaign, you must be incredibly clear on who you are and why you do what you do. Your brand is the core of your company and if you cannot communicate this clearly internally amongst yourselves, your hopes of running a successful marketing campaign that is consistent with your brand values is slim.
2) Get clear on your customer.
We can’t always get what we want, but that doesn’t mean knowing what we ideally want isn’t important. In fact, it’s critical. So make sure to know your target customer in detail, from demographic information to behavioral patterns and who their influencers are.
We recommend completing an ICP (ideal customer profile) for this step. There are plenty of ICP templates available online to get you started if you need help.
Warning: After you’ve gone through steps one and two once, you may not feel the need to revisit them for the next marketing campaign…but beware of skipping these. You should check in to make sure that the campaign that you are considering launching is consistent with your brand and your target audience before moving forward every time.
3) Develop a clear message.
What you are selling and how it helps your target customers might be clear as crystal to you…and you might be right. But unless you can communicate this in an incredibly clear and simple way to your customers, your campaign won’t succeed.
Focus your message on your value to your customers, how you solve a major pain point for them, how you make their lives easier…not specifics of your product or service itself. Those details come into play further down the funnel, once a potential lead is on the hook.
Also, make sure to create a few variations that you can test against each other in your campaign. No one is always right, so rather than choosing the single marketing message that you believe will resonate best, try a few and let your customers tell you through split testing which is the most effective.
In case you haven’t heard, Demand Gen Report just released the results of a brand new survey on the effectiveness of content-enabled campaigns.
You might be asking, wait, what’s a content-enabled campaign? You can go here to get the full story, but for the purposes of this survey, DGR defines a content-enabled campaign as a series of strategies to align content and demand generation that creates a dialogue with your audience.
The entire survey report is worth your time, but we know you’re busy. Here are the three biggest takeaways from the report, and what they mean for the future of content marketing.
1. Only 18 percent of B2B marketers are extremely confident in the effectiveness of their campaigns.
This statistic should raise some red flags. Four in five B2B marketers are creating something, spending time and resources, and they’re not sure if it’s going to be effective.
If you’re not fully confident in your own work, how can you expect anyone else to believe in its message? Confidence starts with research and a comprehensive understanding of the whole buyer’s journey. It’s the marketer’s responsibility to have sufficient knowledge of his or her audience to create a campaign that will effectively generate demand and increase engagement.
A possible source of the campaign-launch shakiness is that marketers may be focusing too much on status-quo practices, and not enough on really catering to their ever-evolving audience.
2. 94 percent of B2B marketers are already using or are planning to use content as a central component of their campaign strategy, but 40 percent said they don’t have the resources to create enough content.
Okay, now the first half of this statistic is a little bit more reassuring, but the second half does not evoke the same feelings.
It’s promising to see that so many marketers are embracing content as an effective means of outreach. At the same time, though, nearly half of B2B marketers don’t have adequate resources to effectively create the amount of content that they need.
This is important because, as industry expert Matt Heinz explained in the report, content is too significant to just produce haphazardly.
If you are a B2B marketer, gone are the days when you hammered prospects with outbound email and telemarketing campaigns designed to prompt their interest in your products and services. Today’s savvy buyers hunt down their own information with search and social tools in a self-education process that taps into brand content late in the game. This new reality is why tactics such as B2B inbound marketing are now mainstream for B2B marketers and one of five techniques to focus on in 2016.
To further their efforts, B2B marketers are investing more in data-driven marketing talent, tools and data than their B2C counterparts. Our CMO spend survey revealed that among all marketers, B2B marketers anticipate the biggest budget increase in 2016. When B2B marketers were asked about the top areas where senior management’s expectations of marketing responsibility increased over 2015, converting leads to sales came in second only to innovation. Strategic planning came in third.
Here are five important B2B marketing techniques:
1. Leverage Account-Based Marketing techniques, including relationship management
2. Acquire Data-Driven Talent and Advanced B2B Analytic Tools
Establishing a business from scratch entails a variety of tasks. Not only is each task crucial but also comprises a number of steps. As a result, these are extremely time-consuming. In this highly competitive landscape of businesses, managing all tasks accurately and rapidly has become quite vital.
Marketing is one of the most significant aspects of businesses. Done right, it can enhance lead acquisition and revenue generation considerably. However, certain marketing tasks of businesses are redundant and take up more time than estimated, thus slowing down other tasks. The good news is, many marketing processes can be automated with the help of the right technology.
With the rapidly increasing digital noise on the Internet, it has become extremely important to constantly reinforce brand awareness to reach out to the target customer base. Automation can not only increase the amount of work done but also improve accuracy and precision.
Let’s take a look at some of the marketing processes that can be automated.
Managing Social Media Marketing
Social media is a crucial aspect of all businesses. In fact, social media marketing has been found to increase exposure of a brand by 89%.
Apart from interacting with customers, social media marketing involves several other activities which include curating news, trends and articles relevant to your business and publishing them. It also comprises scheduling certain promotions and offers etc. With the help of certain software programs, these social media marketing process can be managed automatically.
Having a well defined strategy is the key to improving the effectiveness of your B2B marketing efforts. Today we’re going to cover the top five B2B marketing strategies you can utilize to increase leads, ROI, and, most importantly, sales.
1. Dig deeper when targeting your demographic.
Often times B2B marketers take the “spray and pray” approach when it comes to targeting their demographic. This can be a huge waste of valuable marketing dollars. You can fix this by narrowing down your audience using “hyper-targeting”. While not a B2B company, Lululemon does an amazing job of this. Their marketing team went as far as creating personas for the male and females they’re trying to target. “Duke” is 35 years old and an “athletic opportunist” who enjoys surfing and snowboarding. “Ocean” is a 32-year-old single professional woman who makes $100,000 a year. While it may almost seem silly creating fake personas for your target market it can, psychologically, put you into their mindset so you can make marketing decisions that are more likely to resonate with them.
Let’s talk about metonyms. Stay with me, this will be fun. A metonym is a literary term describing an instance where you describe something using a word associated with that thing.
So, if you say ‘Would you boil the kettle?’, what you actually mean is ‘Would you boil the water in the kettle?’ The word ‘kettle’ is a metonym for the whole process. Similarly, if you say to a friend, ‘Nice wheels!’, you’re probably not specifically complimenting the wheels but expressing overall admiration for the car as a whole.
We all use metonyms every day and most people don’t even realise they’re doing it. What a bleak existence that must be.
Have you ever been asked for your email address when visiting the website of your favorite store? Do you follow any businesses on Facebook or twitter to learn about special offers and upcoming events? If you have, you have been the target of digital marketing.
Digital marketing, also known as content marketing, internet marketing, or online marketing is the process of marketing products and services using internet based resources. These resources include your own website, blogs, social media platforms, to build and maintain relationships with customers and prospects.
Digital marketing differs from traditional marketing because the focus isn’t on direct sales. Instead, you use content to earn the trust, respect, and interest of your prospects while also introducing them to your products and services without using hard sell tactics.
For any organization, especially for startups and small businesses, HR software is a crucial aspect. Such records of employees help you keep track of their diligence. It also indicates the interest your employee has in his/her work. The more the leaves, the less the interest. HR software helps you keep the most accurate track of the amount of paid leave, sick leave, and holidays your employee is entitled to.
You will be able to keep a track of how many holidays your employee has used and how many they have left. HR software is crucial in any company as it indicates input by the employees. Excess vacations can and will reduce this input to a great extent. Such factors are very simple yet pivotal.
Before you begin researching and evaluating HRMS solutions, it’s important to determine what specific things you want the system to be able to do. The following checklist contains key software capabilities your company may need in a new HR software solution. Check off the items that are integral to your company’s HR processes. You may also have needs that fall outside of this checklist, so add any unique requirements your company may have to this list.
Businesses are generating more content these days and may hire a content marketing consultant to help. Why?
High-quality content can drive traffic to their website, bring in leads from an ad campaign, and give the sales team an armor for sharing helpful information with top prospects. Marketers, particularly those with smaller budgets and less resources, are challenged to produce content with both quality and quantity needed to stand out from the competition and drive sales.
As a result, many B2B startup leaders may hire consultants and strategists to help decide what to do on the content front, as well as how. Below are four common examples of business challenges that a consultant or short-term freelancer can help address.
1. Strategy and Planning
A good customer-centered strategy is critical to get results. A content marketing consultant will take charge of figuring out what content to develop and why. He/she will take into account market opportunity, customer needs, buyer personas, competitive landscape, as well as the sales process, business strategy and sales goals.
If you do not have a CMO, marketing leader or full-service agency leading the charge, a consultant can work with the CEO and other leaders to decide how best to use content to achieve business goals.
2. Structure and Process
Once you decide what you need to do, you need to figure out how best to get the work done. There’s lots to think about and decide (the devil is in the details, as they say).
A content marketing consultant, who is also a strong project manager, can help you organize all that needs to get done and give you structure, analytical measures and detailed project plans from which to prioritize and manage the workload.
3. Coaching and Feedback
Sometimes an issue for B2Bs is finding marketers who truly understand the particulars of your business, customers and sales process. It can be hard for someone with little “on the streets” background to hit the ground running – no matter how great a writer or marketer he or she is.
A content marketing consultant with a background in B2B (particularly on the business vs. agency side) can offer coaching and advice to those on your team who are not as confident in B2B or strategic planning, as well as give feedback on ideas that require strong business acumen (e.g. case studies, how-to webinars, explainer videos, white papers, etc.).
4. Tips and Best Practices
Similar to coaching, a good content marketing consultant can work with you on the nuances and tools that make the difference between a good content marketing program and a great one. For example, he/she will help you pick effective content management tool investments or choose the best way to manage, integrate and measure social media channels.
The process to execute and measure a content marketing plan efficiently and easily is a lot of work and consultants can help you speed things up.
With over 20 years of business, sales, and consulting experience SMS is capable of serving many market sectors. We provide the field level support needed to generate results and grow your business. Other companies may provide appointment setting services; whereas SMS will partner with you to grow revenue.
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