It’s that time of year when every marketing manager has to look into their crystal ball and determine what the marketing communications spend will be for the next year. It can be a very daunting task to try to figure out how you will spend your precious marketing dollars – and also show your boss how this year’s spend produced quantifiable results!
How to Define Your Marketing Budget
You need to start with the Assessment. My first suggestion is to take a very deep breath and review what you did during this last year. Dig into what marketing tools and channels worked and find out what could have worked better. This yearly marketing assessment process will lead you to discover the even more important answers to “what did our company not do that we should have?” to produce better results
Here are a few marketing assessment questions to get you started:
- What was last year’s budget and where did we spend it?
- What were the core and key components to last year’s spend?
- How did we measure them?
- Did we course-correct when our measurements showed steps weren’t as productive as we wanted?
- How would we have done things differently?
- What works best?
- How will we know
- What tools did we use in the MarCom Elements Wheel?
- Where is our audience going for their information?
- Are we moving with them?
- Can we show direct lead to sales, and what were the sales amounts?
It’s only after you’ve assessed the performance of your marketing success throughout the past year that you can truly create a realistic marketing budget for the next year.
What You Need to Develop Next Year’s Marketing Budget
To develop the overall plan for next year, you’ll need to start thinking about the big things such as the channels you need to use. After that, you’ll need to look at company planned events, refine your channels and fill in the details. One of the key ingredients to any MarCom budget is showing what worked based on your measurements matrices’. These measurements enable you to prove what worked, what didn’t and how you will adjust your spend.
Here are some questions to think about as you develop your budget:
- What elements do we think we will need? Choose from broad stroke categories like:
- Website updates or development
- Public Relations
- Social Media
- What are our objectives and matrix for measurement for each component?
- What is the cost per element?
- Can we course-correct if needed?
- Are there any big product/service introductions for next year? What is the launch budget?
- What MarCom elements will we use for this launch and what is the cost per element?
- How will we measure success?
Marketing Is Constantly Changing
We all know that marketing is changing, and you need to determine how you’ll handle it going forward. That’s why doing the assessment is so important. You’ll also need to remember that social media will likely play a big role in your plans because that is one way people learn about products/services. Social Media doesn’t preclude using the other elements at all. It’s those other elements that help feed your social media.
The best part of developing next year’s budget is you get to find out what worked and what didn’t. Once you have that 20/20 look-back, you can plan for the future. It also enables you to show that – while marketing is considered an expense category for accounting – you can drive leads that sales people use to close business. With the right tracking tools you may even be able to show actual sales based on leads you brought in.
What is your biggest challenge in creating your marketing budget?
For over two decades Debra Harrsch has been providing marketing expertise to Fortune 500 and other companies and contributing to brand recognition and profit growth, even in a declining economy. Serving in executive, directorship, and consulting positions in healthcare, life science, biotech, energy, and chemical industries, Debra has structured research, marketing and PR plans, and online and print media advertising campaigns.
As CEO of Brandwidth Solutions, LLC, Debra provides marketing and brand management expertise to domestic and international companies, often driving paradigm shifts that contribute to significant and unanticipated growth.