Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How Marketing Plans Work


Scheduling

Based on the information and the results you calculate from your media weightings, you should be able to put together a schedule of advertising, promotions, and events that will match your goals. There are some scheduling techniques you should consider when planning media advertising:

  • Front loading - This refers to heavier advertising for the introduction phase of a new product.
  • Heavy-up - This refers to specific times throughout the year that need heavier advertising (usually timed out with new introductions, promotions, or increased market activity).
  • Flighting - This refers to shorter periods of advertising (three to six weeks) that are followed by periods of no advertising.
  • Pulsing - This refers to a regular schedule of on-again/off-again advertising.
  • Continuity - This refers to a steady fixed rate of advertising for continuous exposure (often used to try and even out a fluctuating buying pattern).

Look at your goals, product seasonality, special events, and other marketing factors and select the scheduling strategy that would work best for the situation. Remember, while the different media types can follow different schedules, you should also consider the added impact of combining media on the same schedules. It all depends on your objectives and goals.

Now you need to think about your marketing budget. No matter how hard you try to be frugal, you'll probably never have enough marketing funds to really do what you want. Just remember, you are not alone. Your competitors are probably facing the same issues you are.

There are three steps you should take when setting your budget. When you get all three results, set your budget based on comparisons of each finding.

  1. Set your budget based on your plan's goals and objectives and the schedules you have recommended.
  2. Look at the industry average of marketing dollars spent as a percent of sales for similar companies in your industry. There should be data available for the average in your industry. Using this second method will let you see if your budget appears to be realistic in comparison to other similar companies. This figure will help you determine if your budget is too high or low compared to the industry average.
  3. Go through a third exercise which involves estimating your primary competitor's advertising and marketing budget based on what you know about their activities. This is a good way to help you be more competitive and possibly gain more market share.

Next, construct your final budget sheets. You should include:

  • an overview sheet illustrating your total budget
  • a breakdown by medium
  • a breakdown by product/market

See our sample budget forms on the Marketing Tools page.