The implementation of a marketing plan and business projects needs financial back-up and hence requires a budget allocation. It follows that the next step is to source the funds and/or how much of the budget allocation will be used for marketing activity and projects.
A key to the answer is to distinguish between the terms ‘funds’ or ‘budgets’ and the term ‘resources’. The difference is that when we look for resources rather than a monetary budget, the funds become only one element of an infinite amount of resources which can be identified from both within and outside an organisation to effectively implement a marketing plan and/or projects.
The departure point for the implementation of a marketing plan is creativity. This also applies to how to source and how to make effective use of resources. For example, a well-planned joint promotion with a compatible organisation creates synergies through the extension of resources, the impact of the promotion and increasing value to the customer.
Organisations which represent foreign brands very often have budget arrangements to promote the products on the local market. However marketing resources could be extended through material in kind such as one-off price allowances for promotions, the supply of point-of-sale material or giveaways for on-shelf promotions as examples. In addition, companies could be organising international initiatives which local companies could participate in. For example, an international organisation could sponsor an event or promotional initiative organised by the local company, giving customers the opportunity to attend a unique experience using participation tickets provided by the sponsor.
Being diligent with the way to use business money is a motto which is always relevant. One of the ways that this could be adopted is by carrying out in-house marketing activity. An example could be a Facebook incentive which could be administered internally and the cost would be that of the chosen incentive. A loyalty scheme could also be administered internally through the organisation and regular updating of a database. The efficient and effective use of human resources can also contribute to productive marketing initiatives where internal staff can be engaged to prepare and send mailshots, take care of website maintenance and other related work. This could give the opportunity to staff having different roles to make use of the occasional slack time by carrying out some work in different areas to those of their normal routine.
PR and added value offered by print media is another way of how marketing expenditure is commonly extended. In addition, corporate social responsibility presents many opportunities for organisations to combine promotional initiatives with contributing to a good cause. This route will increase the chances of having a wider consumer engagement and participation, building the corporate image and hence, goodwill.
The budget criteria are typically related to sales forecasts and the anticipated results of marketing activity. Regular evaluation of performance would assist the control of spending in relation to earnings. The establishment of sales trends over a number of years is a good tool to measure the result of promotional initiatives at any point in time.