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Fall is time to plan next year’s marketing and PR budget

Mary Fletcher Jones provides budget tips

Mary Fletcher Jones provides marketing and PR budget tips

Before you know it, 2009 will be a memory.  If you haven’t done so already, now is the time to develop your marketing and public relations plans for 2010, and that means setting a budget.  But where to start?

Every situation is different, but it can be helpful to have some general guidelines on what is commonly done, then adjust to your needs.

First, let’s talk about your marketing budget: the money you will set aside to spend on email marketing, advertising, direct mail, social media, and collateral materials, such as brochures.   To determine how much you should be spending on marketing for your business, take 10% of your gross sales (last year’s or this year’s projected sales) and spend that amount on marketing in 201o.  If that figure is uncomfortably high for your small to medium-sized business, pare it down to 7% or 8%.  However, if you have a storefront business (with expensive rent), you can spend less on marketing, e.g., 5% to 7%.  Going any less than 5% isn’t recommended, especially in this economy, and particularly if your business is less than five years old.  Another tip is to check out what your competitors are doing in terms of marketing.

If you are calculating a budget for a nonprofit organization with a mission that involves substantial educational outreach, you can go higher, allocating a percentage of your total budget for marketing in the teen percents, but keep it under 20% of your total annual budget.  If that outreach is less important, go as low at 5% to 8% of your total annual budget.

Planning a budget for a special event?  Don’t skimp on marketing.  Use 10% of your revenues to market the value of the event to your target audiences with high quality, professionally designed direct mail invitations and announcements, first class postage, branded social media, and classy email promotions.

What about your public relations budget?  Take 1% of your gross sales (or annual budget) and dedicate that amount to public relations efforts.  Use this amount on online press releases, media relations, monitoring, blogs, newsletters, podcasts, community outreach, and sponsorships.

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