In this edition of Element Three's Tactical Thursday video series, President Tiffany Sauder discusses how to plan your 2014 marketing budgets.
Learn how to set and manage your objectives through planning and analysis as Tiffany explains how to use planning numbers and "actuals" to track your progess over the course of the year.
Tiffany Sauder: One of the things that you're most likely thinking about right now is what should your marketing budget be for 2014. A lot of companies are going through business planning right now and asking that question. But it all starts with the objective. So let's talk about how do we really set objectives and how do we manage that throughout the year.
Let's harken back to my days as a financial analyst. When I was an analyst, it was my job to create a business plan. And so what I did is every single month I figured out what did I think was going to happen and then compare actual financial performance to that and looked at variance. What happened compared to what I thought was going to and what didn't happen compared to what I thought was going to?
So the same principles apply to marketing planning and setting objectives. So very, very basic structure here but let's take a look at the pieces. For one single month, we're going to look at what are the major metrics that you need to be looking at. In this example I've selected website traffic, total number of leads, new blog subscribers and the number of new customers. And then figure out what's the plan, so what are the numbers based on either historical information or what do we think is going to serve the business.
And then at the end of January you go in and you put what were my actual metrics and what's the math that tells me what my over/under was. So the next big thing that kind of gets everybody boggled is: what if I don't have a baseline to work from?
Well, when I started Element Three, the first year when I put together my financial plan I had no idea what was going to happen. I took on a ton of risk in that plan. Now eight years later I have trendlines, I have historical information to work from, and I'm much, much smarter and the variance that I see from actual performance to plan is pretty tight.
So the same principles are going to apply when you start looking at your marketing metrics. If this is the first year that you're doing it, set everybody's expectations that these are really smart educated guesses maybe based on industry trends or best practices that you find or maybe a peer company that you can baseline yourself against.
If you're five, six, seven, eight, ten years into it, chances are you're going to be able to plan in a really smart way. So objectives completely drive marketing efforts; please start with this. Good luck planning 2014 and let us know how you're doing it. Thanks.