Marketing Planning

How To Organize Your Marketing and PR Activities

Marketing and Public Relations are lively, challenging and ever changing areas of activities. Markets change, new products and services need to be introduced, companies merge with other companies, old competitors disappear, new ones appear, technology advances. These and other changes require marketing and PR professionals to constantly adapt to new market conditions. And this is one of the reasons why marketing and PR are so exciting. It is also one of the reasons why marketing and PR professionals can get a little overwhelmed by the multitude of marketing tasks. So how to stay on track?

Start With a Plan

Good marketing and PR require a good plan. The planning process for each new business year usually starts about three months before the end of the current business year.

Marketing and PR Strategy

Start with your strategy. Ideally, you have received an updated overall business strategy paper from your management, which describes your company’s strategy for the next three to five years. Based on this business strategy, you define the major marketing and/or PR objectives.

Marketing and PR Concept

Your next step is to develop your marketing and/or PR concept. How will you reach your marketing/PR objectives? Which products or services will you have to focus on? Which basic ideas and messages do you want to communicate? What marketing/PR measures are ideal to achieve the defined marketing/PR objectives? How will you reach your target groups? etc.

Marketing and PR Plan and Budget

Then you write your marketing/PR plan and your budget plan. You will need a monthly action and budget plan and a summarizing overview for the whole business year. Your detailed plan needs to list activities and budgets per product, product group or business unit. Which marketing materials are you planning to develop for which marketing measures/media and for which products?

Product A might need a product brochure (Collateral), a press announcement (PR), banners on websites (Internet Marketing) and a retailer road show (Channel Marketing), and so on. You usually start this planning process with a bottom-up plan, where you list your ideas of an ideal marketing plan and budget. In the next step, you usually get feedback from your management, sometimes including new budget figures, and with these you start your top-down plan.

Stick to Your Plan

The planning process takes some time, but a sound and well discussed marketing/PR plan is a good basis for your work. Your plan is a guideline, something you and your management have agreed on and something to hold on to. Of course, in marketing and PR, new suggestions, ideas and requests seem to come up every day, and it is good to think about new input. But the question you ask yourself should always be: Does it serve our strategy and concept? Does it not counteract other defined measures? Is it in the budget? Learn to say no to ideas that arise just as momentary thoughts, but cannot be integrated in your plan or do not serve your major objectives. Or sometimes, instead of saying no, it can be better to say “I like your idea, but I don’t have the budget for this.” And then, with your marketing plan in mind, you can explain what the focus for this year’s budget is.

A marketing and PR plan sometimes has to be adjusted a little during the business year, but it really helps to stick to your own concept. Planning your activities and resources and working along your plan will help you be successful in your job.