Advice, recommendations and news you can use from the chapter’s seasoned professionals

By: Krista Cartee, APR

Account Services Manager, Priority Marketing
As we begin a new year, many businesses are forging ahead with business goals for their organizations – planning for ways to hit sales projections and high conversion rates from leads to clients. Ideally, these businesses have a plan in place to reach revenue goals and benchmarks to evaluate their success; key staff development, new product or service launches, etc. Smart business owners would not leave their bottom line up to chance with no planning or strategy to work from. So, surely they would also have a plan in place for the marketing efforts that should be driving traffic to their door? Right? 

Unfortunately, this is not always the case.  Lack of communications planning is a common mistake made by many, well-seasoned business leaders. Strategic planning for marketing, advertising and public relations is not a priority for many companies and lies outside their area of expertise. Even more concerning, the budgets allocated for these marketing programs fall in the “if we have any money left over” category.

As public relations practitioners, it is our responsibility to educate clients on the value and importance of strategic planning in all areas of business, especially marketing, advertising and public relations. Here are some compelling reasons business professionals should develop an integrated strategic plan and budget with the help of a public relations professional:
·    When you have a plan, you develop tactics that fit within your company’s business goals and brand. Everyone in the company is aware of the company’s messaging and positioning, allowing them ALL to act as brand managers.
·    Life is easier when you know what is coming. Following a marketing plan helps prevent the “what are we going to do this month?” syndrome that causes unneeded stress on an organization and its employees. Things can move forward quickly and efficiently, consistently keeping your company name in the marketplace.
·    It saves you money! Developing an annual marketing plan and budget creates internal efficiencies that save the company money. This process also allows you to negotiate contracts with media on annual schedules, which reduces advertising costs, target publicity efforts around new products/services and plan out printing and production projects to be more cost-effective in the long-run.

As public relations professionals, we counsel our clients on the best use of their marketing resources. This needs to include the development of a strategic plan, each year, to help them (and us) continue to be successful in the marketplace.