I have seen many financial institutions’ marketing budget and marketing plan in my day, and I’m often amazed at the thought process that goe...

The Right Way to Draft Your 2017 Marketing Plan and Budget

I have seen many financial institutions’ marketing budget and marketing plan in my day, and I’m often amazed at the thought process that goes into them. They run the gamut from extremely complex to entirely too vague. Some banks and credit unions just automatically give their marketing department the same number of marketing dollars every year. Some marketing teams go through lengthy processes to establish their budgets, only to find out that their plans don’t match the financial institution’s goals. And some just fly by the seat of their pants. They don’t have goals or plans or any sense of direction for that matter.

The Right Way to Draft Your 2017 Marketing Plan and Budget
None of these approaches is correct because they don’t factor in the bank or credit union’s overall strategy. Following are some tips for crafting your 2017 marketing plan (and budget) the right way.

TIE YOUR MARKETING PLAN/BUDGET TO YOUR ANNUAL PLAN

I know of several financial institutions that draft their marketing plans/budgets before their annual planning sessions take place. How can you create a plan when you don’t know what your credit union’s goals are for the fiscal year in question? That makes about as much sense as building a house without a blueprint. The end result could work in your favor, but you could also spend valuable time creating something that gets scrapped. Make your marketing plan an extension of the financial institution’s annual plan.

CREATE MARKETING GOALS THAT REFLECT THE FINANCIAL INSTITUTION’S GOALS

How will marketing help the bank or credit union meet its annual goals? Your marketing plan should answer this question. If the goal is to increase auto loans by 10 percent, your marketing plan should reflect that. It should also answer what you will do to meet that goal and assign a dollar amount to each line items. For example:

Goal: Increase auto loans by 10% to $500,000

Plan: Create auto loan campaign to run three separate times in 2017.

Marketing channels:

  • Advertising – $30,000
  • YouTube video – $5,000
  • Car show event – $1,000
  • E-mail marketing – $500 (creative expenses)
  • Social media ads – $2,000
  • Giveaways – $2,000
  • Branch signage: $5,000

This level of detail is important. It shows your senior leaders exactly how much you have to spend to reach that 10% goal. If they decide to cut your budget, you have justification for decreasing your goal.

RESEARCH BEST PRACTICES AND BE INNOVATIVE

It’s so easy to take last year’s marketing plan/budget and just change the numbers, but how effective is that? Use your new plan as an opportunity to explore new innovations or best practices from retailers (not necessarily financial institutions).

Consider the audience you will need to target for each goal and research the best way to reach that audience.

You do want to look at last year’s plan to remove any dead weight. For example, many financial institutions have stopped doing a newsletter after they’ve found their customers aren’t interested in it. If something you did over and over last year continued getting poor results, figure out why, and either change it or remove it from your plan and budget. You want to make as much room as possible for marketing channels and tactics that will get your customer’ or members’ attention.

Marketing is a critical component for increasing the value of your financial institution. In order to be effective, it must be born of and support your financial institution’s overall strategy.

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