Knowing how to handle a marketing budget is part of your job if you control your company’s marketing staff. Your sponsored advertisements and website upgrades don’t operate on a shoestring budget.
This article will discuss how to make a marketing budget for your company. If your marketing tactics aren’t generating sales, even the most thorough marketing strategy can only go you so far.
What Is a Marketing Budget
A marketing budget is a strategy that specifies how much money you may spend on marketing and how you’ll distribute it among various marketing tactics. Budgets for marketing might also include other expenditures like paying for software or outsourcing services in addition to fees for tactics.
Typically, the whole budget planning process takes two months. However, this might vary substantially depending on your company. You must invest time in pre-planning to speed up the lengthy process of developing your marketing budget.
While developing a thorough marketing strategy differs from company to company, it often begins with your superiors discussing your budget for marketing.
There are four common approaches to marketing budgeting:
- Revenue percentage: For each spending period, you are given a specific portion of the company’s overall revenue, often between 5% and 20%.
- Based on the competition: You are given the money you need for each spending period to match what your rivals are doing.
- Top-down: Your superiors give you a sum without consulting you, and you allocate it as efficiently as you can.
- Bottom-up: You decide how much money you anticipate you’ll need for that spending period using a goal-based method, and your superiors approve.
Marketing teams often need more say in the first three alternatives; they mostly have to make do with what they’re provided. However, organizations often combine two or more strategies, mainly top-down and bottom-up.
For instance, your supervisors can give you a list of spending goals to stick to while making plans. The final project is then presented to your superiors for approval after you have planned out precise strategies to distribute funds within those expenditure objectives.
How to Plan a Marketing Budget
It’s time to start planning how to employ the funds your supervisors are allotting for marketing once you learn about your expenditure objectives. Don’t allocate the money right away to different projects or campaigns.
Research Is Important
Spend time researching your firm before going into the planning process’s core components. Be careful to understand:
- The situation of your industry right now
- Your adversaries
- Your industry
- Your goods
- Customer personas you have
To better grasp how to promote to your audience, you also need to figure out how your buyers’ journey looks. Know your monthly revenue from traffic, leads, conversions, and related expenses and values. Google Analytics can provide a wealth of valuable data in this area.
Setting objectives is a crucial part of pre-planning your marketing budget. Specifically, work to develop a list of SMART goals —Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely — for your marketing team. You may avoid setting nebulous objectives by using SMART goals. A purpose like “raise income” is too general to be the basis for budget planning. The phrase “improve ROI for X pay-per-click (PPC) campaign by Y%” might be a preferable alternative. Here are some other SMART goal template examples:
- X% more material should be written each month.
- Increase Facebook followers by X throughout this budgetary term.
- Obtain X minimum backlinks for each piece of the published content.
- By the conclusion of this expenditure period, increase traffic to product page X by percentage point Y.
If you need assistance determining what precise numbers to strive for, consult industry standards and previous budget figures.
Another longer-term option is to test several marketing techniques to discover which performs best for your company. This will help you decide where to concentrate your efforts. Your company may perform poorly on social media, yet PPC significantly impacts outcomes. Don’t cut corners during the goal-setting phase.
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Don’t just list five objectives and call it a day. It would help if you considered all you want to achieve with your marketing resources during the approaching expenditure period.
Because you need to match your budget with your objectives after creating them for this spending period, your SMART goals will serve as your compass for the remainder of your marketing budget breakdown.
Setting goals is essential for managing your marketing budget. A goal-driven approach helps you be responsible for how you spend your money and positions you well to bargain with superiors, later on, to maintain or get cash for your team.
It’s time to move on to the next section of our marketing budget breakdown: establishing a marketing budget now that you have your budget amount and list your objectives.
List the Expenses
Making a list of particular chores and activities that will aid in your goal-achieving is the next stage. Here are some suitable illustrations of how they may appear:
- To boost the volume of written content, hire X more marketing writers.
- Over this expenditure period, create X new Facebook-sponsored posts.
- Create and manage new PPC advertising for X products to point consumers to the Y product page.
- Create X YouTube video advertisements throughout this budgetary time.
In terms of being particular and doable, these activities need to be similar to SMART objectives, but, this time, they’re things you may budget for.
Any firm may relate to this, but newer ones in particular. As you can see from the list above, part of this concerns what you have to do and what you’d prefer to accomplish.
It would be best if you didn’t neglect to account for employee pay while managing your marketing bit; you should be careful to budget for “hidden expenditures,” such as any monthly subscription fees you may have or purchases you made last spending period that won’t be processed until this spending period.
Go back through your list of all the initiatives you might use to your advantage and estimate the expense of each one.
Since calculating cost appears different for each action, this stage might be challenging. Furthermore, prices for certain goods, like PPC, might differ significantly. Try to estimate how much you will need to spend on each task.
Once you have cost estimates for each item on your list, put them together to get your total.
It’s likely much beyond the range of your budget. That is to be anticipated, so don’t be alarmed.
Your first list, which you created during a brainstorming session, contains everything you want your marketing team to be able to accomplish and you will only be able to accomplish some things to polish everything, which brings us to the next stage of making a marketing budget.
Make Your List
Reducing the size of your list is the next stage in our marketing budget breakdown.
Decide where your priorities are by going over the list. Which tasks are essential? What ones are you able to live without? On which of these would you be able to save money? As you do this, keep in mind your SMART objectives.
Make sure to leave all tasks off the list that don’t directly advance one or more of your objectives. It would help if you emerged from these cuts with a basic outline of your comprehensive marketing strategy.
You need to be able to narrow it down eventually to a thorough marketing strategy that adheres to your budgetary goals. You must either find a means to boost your spending goals or find a way to distribute your funds more wisely if you want to keep more items from your initial list.
Once you have a figure corresponding to your spending goals, double-check that every item on your list supports your SMART objectives before deciding how much money you will allocate to each method.
Using our marketing calculator, you may obtain suggestions on how much money you should spend on things like social media advertising or PPC, which effectively cost whatever much money you decide to put into them.
Once you’ve finished, make any necessary edits to your list before sending it in for internal approval.
There will undoubtedly be some back-and-forth at this point. Your superiors will evaluate your budget plan for performance and compliance. They’ll check to determine whether the entire cost is within their budgetary constraints and whether the various actions will benefit the business.
You may need to adjust based on their input. But eventually, it will be accepted, and your budget will be finished.
How to Manage a Marketing Budget
You may now start to monitor your marketing budget after everything has been completed:
Before the spending period starts, you should complete a spreadsheet to monitor everything from this marketing budget breakdown. A decent spreadsheet is a secret to keeping your expenditures in line with your budget.
Having many spreadsheets may be advantageous. You may use one template to keep track of all your marketing expenditures and others for more in-depth monitoring of specific categories or campaigns.
You may have a separate one for content, one for PPC, and one for SEO. As you proceed through the spending period, regularly update these spreadsheets. Your thorough marketing strategy is only helpful if you utilize it to control your expenses. At the very least once every week, update your expenditures.
Consider making a calendar with dates and reminders to help you keep track of any automatic spending or monthly payments, such as subscriptions or contract renewals.
Employee spending, however, is a little more challenging to monitor.
Sometimes it involves paying for software and renewing contracts; other times, it involves hiring new people. However, it might be challenging to consolidate since it involves several persons and platforms.
A spend management system probably contains a function that allows you to record these payments and update your budget as necessary. If not, be vigilant about monitoring employee expenditures.
List Products Paid or Unpaid
Another tip for managing your marketing budget is to categorize things according to whether or not they have previously been paid.
Knowing which budget items are variable and which are already fixed makes it much simpler to transfer money or swap out one activity for another when needed. It is simpler for everyone if you label them as paid or unpaid.
Continue to Experiment
Once you’ve identified a plan that works for your company, stay with it but avoid becoming stuck in your ways. Always utilize the last 10% of your budget to experiment with new and alternative possibilities, even if 90% of it remains the same each spending month.
Note Potential Upgrades
You shouldn’t just think about your current spending cycle. When organizing your next budget, consider what you can do to assist yourself. Look at the ROI of various budget items often over the expenditure period and make comments on how you can make it better.
Keep any adjustments from the mid-spending period. As was previously said, you may need to change your budget in the middle of a spending period.
You’ll need to get new numbers to replace your old ones when that occurs. Duplicate your original budget first; do not overwrite it. You may use the gap between your initial and updated budgets as a pointer to what changes you might be able to anticipate when making plans for the next spending period.
Analyze Your Effectiveness
Managing a marketing budget is always complex, but monitoring your marketing effectiveness may simplify it. You should monitor key performance indicators (KPIs), including bounce rates, cost per lead, and average customer value.
Look into integrating platforms like Google Analytics or other technologies with your website since they may provide you with much of this information. Understanding this data is essential to determining which budgetary items are genuinely helpful.
Closing a Spending Window
Revert to your SMART objectives entirely after the spending time has ended.
Make sure that every one of the actions in your thorough marketing strategy that you invested money in ultimately helped you achieve your objectives. Then, review your goals and financial plan for the next expenditure period.
You should consider eliminating some of your current spending from the budget for the next quarter if you still need to achieve your objectives. Around this time, your finance department will request that you reconcile your actuals or confirm that the amount you spent and the amount that left the business bank account match.
It might be tedious and time-consuming to go over everything you spent money on throughout the period and total up all the charges. Try to reconcile more regularly than once every spending period — maybe every two weeks — to simplify things for everyone.