Guidelines for formulating a public relations budget.

Author:Wendhausen, Theresa
 
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It is easy to get caught up in the status quo year after year: Budget for projects because it has always been done that way. However, taking the time to truly examine your public relations efforts and manage them appropriately can go a long way toward truly making a difference in your communities and bolstering the image of your bank.

So, where do I begin? As bank marketers, we are pulled in many directions: product development, compliance, advertising, social media, branding, market research, the list goes on. How can we possibly find time to evaluate how we are spending our public relations budget? I would caution that if we don't take a little time to focus on it, this will be the first area to he cut if and when the time comes to scale back on expenses.

According to the 2012 ABA Bank Marketing Survey Report, advertising (including direct marketing) accounts for nearly 51 percent of total bank marketing expenditures. Public relations is the second largest spend at 28 percent of marketing, expenditures, of which, 57 percent goes towards donations and contributions. To put this into real numbers, if your overall marketing budget is $500,000, then, $140,000 is being spent on public relations, of which, nearly $80,000 is being given back to the community in the form of donations and charitable contributions. Given the magnitude of the public relations portion of our-budgets, we should spend a little effort in this category to make sure our spend aligns with our bank's strategies and goals.

Things to consider when it comes to your PR budget:

* What is the population of the town and count), whew each of your branches arc located?

* How litany braliches do you have in each community?

* How many customers does each branch have?

* How Irian), school districts, colleges, hospi lois, golf courses, andsemi-professional/professional sports teams are in the area? (The answers to all of the above questions will likely be an indicator of how many donation requests you will receive throughout the year, so plan accordingly.)

* How many competitors does your bank have in the community? Let's face it, banks are generous in supporting various causes in the community. If your competition is contributing, the organization will likely reach out to your bank for support too. Don't try to keep up...

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