ClearEdge Senior Vice President Michelle Krier and ClearEdge Vice President of Client Delivery Nikki Leonardi join The Edge podcast to discuss how organizations can develop their 2018 marketing plan.

Nikki kicks off the podcast by saying that the biggest mistake organizations make when it comes to marketing is not having a strategic plan in place. An effective marketing strategy tightly aligns business goals from the sales team, recruitment team, etc., to see how marketing can help those team members reach their goals. Key stakeholders from the organization should be part of the planning conversation so that marketers can understand what each department’s goals are and create a plan that supports those goals.

Nikki and Michelle are commonly asked which marketing tactics get the best ROI, and Nikki says that not one size fits all. Your goals, the current state of the market, the audience you’re targeting and so much more, all factor in to what you should include in a marketing plan that will yield positive results. Some basics that Nikki recommends are a responsive website and easily digestible content.

When it comes to how much budget an organization should set aside for marketing, Nikki and Michelle recommend 3-10% of the organization’s revenue. Nikki mentions that the budget depends on how aggressive organizations want their growth to be and what their plans are for the following year such as a product launch, new website, brand refresh, etc. People are afraid that they can’t afford marketing, but often they don’t understand how they can break down what they can afford and figure out the best approach to take with that budget. For more on the best tactics to take if you’re watching your budget, check out Michelle’s recent blog post, “Just Starting Your Business? Early-Stage Marketing Advice for Busy Professionals.”

For marketing ROI, everyone wants to know that what their spending on marketing is coming back to the business. There are certain metrics organizations can look at such as social media engagement, conversations on email campaigns, web traffic and overall leads brought into the sales team by marketing initiatives. However, marketing ROI isn’t just dollar signs, it’s insight into what’s working and what’s not working in outreach efforts for your organization, as well as customer satisfaction feedback. That type of ROI might not be shown in data or numbers, but goes a long way in the livelihood of your business.

If you’re interested in an effective marketing plan in 2018, take a listen to this podcast episode.