I recently attended a meeting with a group of marketing professionals who are employed by CPA firms in my local marketplace (Philadelphia). The room complained of last minute, meaningless requests for unwarranted marketing activities that unjustifiably drained the marketing budget.
It was agreed that a multi-faceted marketing plan that is long-term (at least 12 months) can turn marketing efforts from reactionary to proactive, which is important, I believe. Using a simple tool like an Excel spreadsheet can show your team, at a glance, the date of the annual conference to reach your target audience (so you can pitch speaking engagements or plan to exhibit), the year-long editorial calendar of the trade publications your target audience reads (so you can pitch and deliver articles in a timely manner and/or coordinate ads) etc.
Marketing PLANS = pro-active marketing
A well-monitored marketing plan can also provide enormous insight into how and what the money should be spent on moving forward. After year two – the efforts should be well-managed, proactive and a “piece of cake” in terms of predicting your marketing dollars.