It’s about this time, every year, that most firms with a degree of forward planning sign-off on their marketing plans for the next 12 months.
Marketing managers will, or certainly should, have spent a few weeks canvassing C-level executives and new business directors to ascertain the company targets for the next year. These targets will be financial – the ‘numbers’ the firm is aiming to hit – as well as sector-specific, such as particular contracts or market segments in which the business is hoping to operate.
Having considered these targets, and with the green light for a budget, the marketing director or manager, can formulate a plan of attack for allocating funds to the quadrumvirate of modern business communications – PR, advertising, social media and internet marketing.
But how much should our marketing manager allocate to each? And why?
As a strategic communications advisory, we at Tamarindo would say, firstly, that you need to know and understand your audience. Pretty obvious, right?
But, by knowing and understanding your audience, you can, in turn, gain an awareness of how they interact with the market, how they consume industry news and information, and where they go for commercial direction.
Let’s take a B2B firm operating in, say, renewable energy. When this firm’s potential future client pulls together a tender shortlist for its next multi-million pound contract, how does the B2B firm make sure it’s in that final selection?
Candidly this all comes down to what that procurement manager reads, sees and hears. But it’s also how they read, see and hear. Do they largely attend industry events for information, or do they take the trade magazines? If he or she is a senior executive, they probably don’t read the trade titles at all, but rely on the Financial Times and the national business pages. Perhaps they only read about their industry on the move, via a mobile device.
Whichever it is, if our marketing manager wants to help convey the firm’s message, and help reach those all important targets, he or she needs to consider when and where to work with the media, buy advertising, invest in social media or spend on SEO.
Tamarindo, of course, has a strong heritage in PR. We tend, therefore, to proselytise its benefits, and accordingly would suggest that a ‘well run’ (in itself a topic for another day) PR campaign can deliver a host of new business benefits, and, therefore, should really be considered for a good share of marketing budget.
But, to fulfil the needs of a wider marketing plan, employing a PR agency, or in-house resource isn’t the full picture, and a good PR campaign should be supported with well placed tactical advertising and an investment in the shop front of the twenty-first century – the company webpage.
So, coming back full circle to our fictional marketing manager, wrestling with how to approach marketing in 2017 – where should they look to invest?
It’s just a start, but our marketing manager should begin by trying to answer the following:
- How do your new and existing customers consume market information?
- How might they find out about you and your services?
- What’s the best way to reach them?
- Which of these means gives the best return?
Not all of these answers will be clear cut, and the last point will be subjective, based on whether you’re speaking to a PR firm, advertising agency or SEO business. But, if our marketing manager can answer some of these questions at the start of the year, he or she can devise a plan to best allocate resources to support the new business drive.
Ready for a chat?
If this has gotten you thinking – you have some questions – or you want to talk to us about what happens next, then please drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you.Get in touch