When sitting down to plan a marketing budget, the most common approach is to take numbers from last year. You may decide to invest more into social media and less into direct mail and call it a day. However, this broad approach can prevent you from reaching your sales goals. Instead, it’s best to start fresh each year and craft a solid budget based on your objectives, market trends, competition and any big changes that will be happening.
Below are the factors to consider when crafting your perfect marketing budget.
Last Year’s Numbers
Evaluate last year’s successes and failures. What happened that you want to see again this year? Did you reach your sales goals? Did your sales team have enough quality leads to work with? While last year’s budget doesn’t dictate your new plan, it does provide insight as to what you were able to achieve and what you could do better. Also, talk to your teams to get their input on how the year went.
Main Goals and Subgoals
Define your goals early on, as this will guide your budget in the right direction. After all, you don’t want to put money into marketing efforts that aren’t going to help you reach your goals.
It’s recommended to have 3-5 major goals with subgoals listed under them. By focusing on these smaller goals, you can make steady progress. For example, if your main objective is to develop stronger relationships with customers, your subgoals may be to create 5 content pieces a month, launch a social campaign and generate a drip email campaign.
Before you spend time and money on creating new content, take inventory of what you already have. Identify potential holes and create fresh, relevant content to fill them in. Your content should attract new buyers and also nurture current relationships.
Don’t forget to nurture customers through every stage of the buyer journey. Are there gaps in the funnel that need to be addressed? If so, how can you keep customers in the funnel? Offline marketing such as promotional items can also share your message and keep your brand front and center.
You should have a deep understanding of your target audience. If you haven’t already, create a buyer persona of your ideal customer. Aside from their demographics, also consider their pain points. How can your product or service make their life easier? If you’re not sure, gather honest feedback from your customers. The more you know about them, the better you can communicate with them.
Leverage the milestones your company plans to celebrate such as holidays, special events, new product launchings, trade shows and more. Identify the assets you’ll need to support your goals such as emails, press releases, promotional products and supporting content. While you can expect things to change, these big milestones will guide your marketing spend in the right direction.
Marketing budgets should be flexible as you never know what the future holds. But, with a strong marketing budget in place, you can take charge of your goals and the assets you have to support them.