I love this time of year. I love fall, football, fire pits, pumpkin flavored everything, and leaves crunching underfoot. I also love annual budget planning. Massive spreadsheets and flowcharts are created and color coded to illustrate the allocation of annual budgets. New strategies are unfurled and new tactics are recommended.  ROI is projected. Presentations are built, dismantled, and rebuilt to communicate the plan for the year to clients, agencies, CMOs, CEOs and board members.  It’s a chance at a clean slate, new opportunities, and to tweak what worked in the past.

I believe that the best approach to annual planning is to follow a clear and consistent path. At Department Zero, we use some basic checkpoints to make sure all planned experiential efforts work with our clients' overall marketing goals.

  • Strategy - Start by revisiting the Marketing Strategy, to be sure that goals are clear.
  • Tactics – Process all tactics thru the Marketing Strategy filter, to be sure those tactics that best support the marketing strategy are included in the plan, and all work together.
  • Estimates - Get multiples estimates for recommended tactics, to get a realistic expectation for current market costs and to eliminate surprises.
  • Projections – Using past experience, project potential ROI for each tactic.
  • Budget – Allocate budget to each tactic based on potential ROI, reach, and how each helps to achieve the Strategic goals.
  • Opportunities - Allocate funds to be available to invest in new opportunities that pop up within the next 12 months that were not available during planning.
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No matter how the goals may vary, every brand should follow some sort of annual planning process to be sure their marketing dollars are allocated the most effectively.


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