Creating a perfectly balanced and effective marketing plan can be a daunting task. Balancing well planned campaigns and taking advantage of spontaneous shifts in the market can seem impossible.
While a fixed marketing plan retains confidence from your stakeholders and management, a flexible plan allows your business to quickly respond to opportunities. However flexible plans can also lead to disorder and doubt in management.
So how do you find a balance?
Virtues of a Fixed Marketing Plan
A fixed marketing plan creates solid predictions of marketing campaigns, micro campaigns, both internal and external marketing activities. They set predictable plans for sales, budgets, including projected spending and revenue for the year.
Often, this strategy involves bulk buying pre-set advertising space across television or radio, which can garner significant discounts and allowances. By determining your fixed marketing budget allocations early, including budgeting decisions, media placements, pricing strategies, measuring marketing effectiveness becomes straightforward.
A fixed marketing plan also fortifies brand management efforts, requiring fewer updates and changes to marketing materials throughout the year. This way, there is guaranteed consistency and cohesion between timed campaigns and marketing materials produced throughout the year too.
Virtues of a Flexible Marketing Plan
A flexible marketing plan sets out ideas of how and where you want to promote your product or services, with rough dates and timelines for each campaign. This plan allows for heavy changes – should an earlier campaign prove successful, it can be continued until the results diminish.
Advertisement purchases are ad hoc, with budgets often set to a percentage of gross sales for a period. This method requires constant evaluation of efforts to ensure trajectory of sales or revenue. This allows for an agile purchasing strategy, to make the most of emergency stock (advertising space that had been booked but cancelled) at heavily discounted rates.
A flexible marketing plan gives businesses the ability to respond to changing markets, react to new perceived trends, issues and opportunities. In the modern world, this is more relevant than ever. With the ubiquity of social media, Google reviews, YouTube tutorials and meme culture, this ability can make all the difference.
Benefits of a Fixed Flexible Marketing Plan
While each type of marketing plan clearly has their own benefits, most of the time, a mixture of both is the best option.
Particularly when trialling new products, or starting new in an industry, flexibility is vital to reaching your target market. Yet, having a set budget, timeline and strategy allows for solid measurement of effectiveness and viability. Aim to create a marketing plan with set campaigns, dates and budgets. Then, set parameters to changes – a standard deviation, if you will.
A fixed flexible marketing plan allows you to raise marketing spend when sales spike, extend successful campaigns, and cut spending in downturns. You can shed poorly performing channels and replace them with alternatives, tweaking your offering based on feedback.
Using a fixed flexible plan enables you to take advantage of a dynamic marketing strategy, while ensuring continuity and confidence. In industries with price-sensitive consumers, this approach is particularly important – as the ability to price match and tweak marketing budgets to suit is vital. If you are experimenting with new advertising channels, having the ability to increase or cut budgets allocated to each medium keeps your budget free of constraints.
Remember, all the planning in the world can only take marketing so far. Setting everything in stone in January can lead to rubble by June. Listen to your customers, listen to your industry and listen to your gut.
Custom plan, flexible service
At Nicoh, we know agile. Our team of business, marketing and accounting professionals are ready to craft marketing plans that work. We’ve seen how a mixture of set and spontaneous marketing has transformed businesses in the past – and we want to help you build your future.
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