Business Planning Gets Results

When developing a marketing budget, sales promotional offers fit right in.  By its nature, a sales promotion is designed to inform, persuade and remind buyers to buy your product or service.

As the tail end of a marketing plan, businesses sometimes give less consideration to how the consumer or trade will be impacted using a promotion. 

Usually, the last portion of a marketing spend is applied to an improvised promotional campaign.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes the most creative approaches occur once all the marketing plan exercises are completed.

How to Create A Marketing Budget

Marketing budget planning should first focus on larger business issues such as product, trends, and distribution

After all, marketing budget planning should be focused on the big issues

With the intention of creating excellent sales promotional creative briefs to hand over to marketing companies or coworkers, the following are the elements of a well thought out business plan.

Since marketing is a function of business, and sales promotion is a function of marketing, proper planning will get the results to create sales and grow the business.

How to Create A Marketing Budget: 6 Things You Need

1. Always Start With A Vision

This is often a hard concept for business owners to wrap their head around. It seems so complex because people often think it’s bigger than it is.

Product Vision Statement

If you are marketing a product or service, the vision is the ‘core essence’ of the product or service, and where you see it heading in the future. When you write the product vision statement start with the customer in mind.

For example, if you are a financial advisor, define your core essence and customer benefit.

Charles Schwab company vision statement:

Helping Investors help themselves

The core essence of helping investors, and the customer benefit of them helping themselves to a better financial situation is simple, yet impactful. 

Organizational Vision Statement

For a larger business, a vision statement creates a clear picture of where the business is going and what the end result will look like.

For example, Amazon’s vision statement sets the tone for their employees, vendors, and customers:

Amazon Company Vision Statement:

Our vision is to be the earth’s most customer-centric company: to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they want to buy online

Vision makes a difference in how you do business. Many times, companies use the vision statement to create a sales promotional campaign.

vision statement

A Vision Statement sets the tone for your team and the customer so that everyone is focused on your brand promise

It creates a focused message that sets your brand apart.

The financial company’s vision statement is direct and it quickly communicates their positioning in the market.

Promotional products with that statement printed on them will be a motivational piece for consumers for the company that puts them first.

The Amazon vision statement is more comprehensive. A trade show booth with this vision statement clearly visible would let potential sellers know the companies position. It is a good way to open up a negotiation.

Vision is unique to your company and the customers you serve. It often is the very thing that sets you apart from the competition and establishes your point-of-difference.


2. Look At The External Business Environment

Highly effective marketing campaigns depend on correctly identifying large groups of potential customers that have a specific need for their product or service.

You then create sales and distribution channels based on the most profitable segments you identify.

Market Segmentation

Once you develop a focus on the proper market segments, marketing and sales promotions can be highly targeted to achieve a specific revenue objective.

market segmentation

Market segmentation identifies high-profit customer segments and other target groups to market to.

How you segment and sell to your target market is a large part of the marketing budget development process.

Make sure you research every potential cost of any media or sales channel you research to impact your market. One missed estimate can be disastrous, especially if you are working with a small profit margin.


Competitive Analysis

In addition to identifying your market segments, you also need to analyze direct and indirect competitors.

Known as a Competitive Analysis, pre-budget tools such as a SWOT analysis will help you identify your strengths and opportunities against competitive threats.

competitve analysis and marketing budget settingMany times a marketer will identify a key competitive issue and focus on that for their marketing campaign.

Avis rental car company identified that they held the number two market share position. They ran with that fact to create a campaign.

The ‘We Try Harder’ because we’re number two slogan grabbed the attention of customers and the press. This bold move gave the underdog a huge leg up in brand recognition.

Industry Trends

Industry trends are also an important part of the business assessment process.

How to Create A Marketing Budget and industry trends

Recognizing industry trends will position an organization as a leading brand among target customers

An example of rapidly changing trends can be found in the auto industry.

Factors such as the expansion of electric cars, the testing of self-driving vehicles, the emergence of the rideshare concept, and the millennial generation choosing not to purchase vehicles the same way their parents do are trends that have auto manufacturers continually re-assessing their business model.

Recognizing and reacting to trends will position your product or organization in a leadership position among your target customers.

Marketing and sales promotions that sell your trendsetting message are often the best types of campaigns to build immediate interest, excitement, and sales.

In the tech industry, this point-of-difference strategy is what drives the market.

3. Do An Internal Business Appraisal

Based on your market segments, your competitors and the trends in your industry, design your business structure to service your customers.

The resources you will need to attack your market and to adjust your base business strategy will have a great impact on your business and marketing budget.

Is the organization effectively structured to respond to the needs of your customers and sales force?

Do you have a way to measure if you are meeting their needs?

How to Create A Marketing Budget

The internal appraisal positions your team to respond to the needs of your customers in an ever-changing environment

Are some key questions to address during this process.

Consider the definition of marketing as ‘everything a business does to complete a sale’.

With this concept of marketing in mind, you need to assess such things such as your logo, employee and sales interaction with each other and customers, your retail store, your website, advertising, and promotion to make sure you are aligned for success.

The external assessment identifies the challenges to overcome to be competitive in the market.

The internal appraisal positions you and your team to meet these challenges head-on.

Internal Appraisal Example – Rocket Mortgage 

The Rocket Mortgage brand’s entire marketing campaign is focused on how easy and quickly a mortgage customer can get a quote. The back-end service process they developed is also promoted as a point-of-difference.

In an industry that has become more tedious due to government regulations, this organization adapted its business to create a unique advertising message. The company makes a bold statement that drives sales activity from its media campaign.

4. Create Organizational Alignment

Your organization should be aligned with your vision and your target audience needs.

Once your business planning is complete, developing sales promotions and marketing that focuses on your point-of-difference is a natural progression that appears within the elements of the business planning process.  

There are several base strategies you can choose from to design your business structure,

These strategies are focused on whether you consider yourself one of these business types:

  • Commodity-Driven,
  • Technology-Driven,
  • Quality-Driven,
  • Service-Driven,
  • Customer-Driven

Here is a link to some fun marketing plan examples that illustrate how core business strategies inspire logo design and business communications

5. Set Business Goals

goal setting

Identify goal categories so that everyone is moving forward together to achieve common goals

What is your mission for the next five years, the next year or the next three months?

Once you have identified the differentiating factors your product or brand delivers, it’s time to launch your marketing offensive.

To do this you need to identify goal categories. With shared goals everyone is on the same page, moving forward together.

Some examples of goal categories:

  • Customers,
  • Cash Flow,
  • Best product quality,
  • New product development,
  • Quality suppliers,
  • Motivated workers,
  • New market penetration.

Categories differ based on many factors. These include where your brand is within the Product Life Cycle, your industry, and the competitive environment, to name a few.

The marketing plan and budget flow directly from the business plan and the goal categories you focus on.  

The marketing plan should include market research, market segments, competition, positioning, the product or service you are selling, pricing, advertising, and promotion.

6. Establish Metrics, Track Results

With all the traditional media, social media and sales promotional options available today to potentially reach prospects, often metrics are imperfect.

How do you measure the impact of a sweepstakes promotion across several social and traditional media channels?

What’re the results from a new product sampling campaign initiated at a special event?

Here’s the sad but true answer. There are often no standard metric tools to judge the effectiveness of your varied marketing campaigns.

Establishing Metrics Is Your Responsibility

Having a way to measure results is imperative for you to support your spending and determine future marketing and sales efforts.

With all the data available today there is always a way to set up some type of metrics to measure results.

How to Create A Marketing Budget

Researching and pricing the different metric options and coming up with a consistent way to measure the many different channels is your challenge

As a marketing specialist, researching and pricing the different metric options, and coming up with a consistent way to measure the many different channels is your challenge,

When I worked with a brand that spent several million dollars in consumer advertising, the team set up metrics to measure advertising results.

The elements we used were: consumer recall of ads, the public’s perception of the company, and the number of sales leads that were generated during a specific time frame when the ad ran.

It was our own formula. We determined it, set up vendors to track it and saw results, good and bad.

This measurement process was used consistently for every campaign. A unique set of metrics began to unfold and the organization’s media plan and ad content were improved over time.

Don’t Plan In A Vacuum

Often marketers are asked to establish a marketing budget in a vacuum. You may have some pieces of the business planning puzzle, but not the entire picture.

Whatever the size of your business, even if you are a small part of a larger organization, use these six steps to begin your marketing budget process.

Ask questions and develop your own set of conclusions if you need to (which should never be the case in a successful organization).

Knowing why your product or brand exists by using these six parameters will guarantee your success as a marketing professional.

“Leadership is having a compelling vision, a comprehensive plan, relentless implementation, and talented people working together.”
–Alan Mulally, former President and CEO of Ford Motor Company



Kevin Danaher

Kevin’s career spans over 30 years where he worked for New York Sales Promotion and Advertising agencies such as Ventura Associates, and BBDO developing promotional campaigns for some of the world’s leading brands including VISA, General Electric, Kraft/General Foods, Fidelity Investments, and Chrysler. Read More