Adding THINK to Your 2011 Budget Planning Pays Off

Whether you’re looking forward to budget planning in the coming months or at the start of a new fiscal year, you’re probably engaged in some phase of planning. It may be time to look back on the year to assess what “worked” or didn’t work in your marketing communications or how successful your team was advancing the brand identity of your company or of a new product. Or, it could be that you’re feeling pressure to come up with a new initiative that will make a difference in the coming year. I’m days away from embarking on a three-week, five-city interview and focus group project for a client. A similar project completed four years ago yielded a multitude of insights that had considerable influence on the communications strategy and brand perspective. Using the earlier insights as a benchmark, we will be talking with end-users and those who influence them about how purchase decisions are made, what media are consulted, and how our client is perceived among its competitors.

As you engage in planning, you know that the world is a different place than it was those short four years ago. Think of the changes in media usage and the influence of a challenging economic climate and resulting customer changes in attitudes and behaviors. At best, our clients’ efforts to enhance its brand perception and maximize its marketing communications opportunities may be outdated.

Without the benefit of a good and current understanding of what customers are thinking and how they are making decisions, you risk planning in a vacuum. At Magnani, we develop plans and execute marketing communication strategies in the context of a process we call “Think. Plan. Act. Interact.” Taking the time to “think” – about who we’re talking to, what they think, and what we want them to think – makes our planning smart and more likely to be effective in the marketplace.

For effective, efficient and productive marketing planning, the investment in research – incorporating customer voices into your consideration – pays dividends.