Planning a marketing budget looks different for every business, but no matter what, you must be ready for your plan to change (probably more than once) as the year goes on. Deciding what you’re going to spend on marketing for the entire year allows you to strategize your campaigns to match your business’s seasonal trends, as well as pivot when unexpected changes come up.
To be able to change directions on a dime and make the most out of your marketing for next year, your budget has to be structurally sound. Let’s discuss how you can make that happen next year.
Keep Going, No Matter What
During tough economic times, you might be tempted to pull back on your marketing budget, but that’s something you should never do. Why? Because other businesses will be tempted to pull back, too – and they’ll follow through with it while you won’t. That automatically places you ahead of the competition.
Not only that, marketing consistency is a comfort to your customers. With consistency comes reliability, that reliability leads consumers to choose your brand over others.
Look at Past Performance
Before planning for the future, you have to look at past trends. Take a look at what worked and what didn’t in your marketing plan to get an idea on where to allocate funds.
Review your KPIs for past campaigns and pay close attention to ROI too. When you have data on what initiatives brought about the most significant returns, you’ll have the information you need to make budget decisions for the coming year.
Set Clear Objectives
Setting S.M.A.R.T. goals can work for any type of journey, but it’s especially effective for marketing your business. S.M.A.R.T. goals are defined as:
Following the S.M.A.R.T. framework holds your business accountable, and it also lets everyone know just what they’re being held accountable for, and how long that goal should take to achieve.
When everyone is on the same page (or even when you’re on the same page with yourself and all the information you’re working with), reaching the goal is much more straightforward.
Know Your Competition and Your Industry
A big part of the marketing battle is understanding what’s next for your competitors. For example, if they have big moves in the cards, then you might want to allocate more funds to your brand awareness campaign to keep your business top of mind.
Beyond your competition, you need to know your industry. Keep up with the latest marketing trends, new technologies, latest innovations, and customer behavior shifts. It’s a good idea to set aside some budget to experiment with new approaches. Don’t risk too much – just enough. You’re not likely to regret testing the waters and getting intel on what strategies can benefit you and what ones you can leave behind.
Understand Your Audience
Once you have a thorough idea of who your audience is and what they want, you can fine-tune your marketing spending. A few things you can do to better understand your audience include:
- Customer surveying
- Developing buyer personas
- Reviewing data analytics
Determine Your Budget Amount
You can’t make a budget plan without knowing the budget that you’re working with. Your budget should be both realistic and sustainable, with enough funds to get you through the year with your marketing initiatives.
It will likely be similar to what you spent last year, so use that as a starting point. Then consider your objectives and the past performance of your marketing, as well as the cash flow of your business, to help you determine how much to spend next year.
Breaking down your budget into specific categories is something you’ll thank yourself for later. A few good categories include digital marketing, SEO, radio commercials, and content marketing – with estimated costs included.
Before the year starts, decide if you’re going to allocate funds based on marketing tactics, or perhaps based on specific campaigns as they align with your marketing schedule. If at all possible, tie your investments to revenue projections – that way, they'll be linked to expected returns.
As you keep an eye on the details, be mindful of changing market conditions. There should always be room in your budget to change up allocations if your priorities should shift.
Keep the Calendar in Mind
Review your past periods of increased demand and create a loose campaign calendar that surrounds the most important activities and events. You can get the most out of your marketing efforts by using this calendar as a roadmap to distribute your budget.
Monitor and Measure
Make a point to track and analyze the performance of your marketing campaigns. You’ll need this data to make informed decisions about where your budget is going and whether or not you need to reallocate resources as the year progresses. There should also be a system in place to measure KPIs for each of your campaigns and channels.
Schedule Periodic Reviews
Things change throughout the year. That’s just how business (and life) goes. Keep an eye on your plan in relation to market conditions, competitor activities, new goals, and customer behaviors – if any of these variables change, you’ll likely have to adapt your budget to those shifts. You should also be willing to learn not only from your successes, but from your failures as well.
Being willing to optimize where your money is going in order to get the best results is key as a marketer.
Getting Ready for Next Year
Having your budget in place is paramount to ensuring your marketing plan is watertight. If you need a little help putting your pieces into place, Federated Media is here for you. Reach out to our experts today and we’ll work together to create a marketing budget that works for you and your business.