Determining how much you can (and should) spend on your marketing budget can be overwhelming.
Platforms and preferences frequently shift and pivot, and it’s difficult to predict which ways the marketing winds will blow. However, it doesn’t have to be a shot in the dark. Here are six tips for a pain-free budgeting process that will help you reach your goals—without breaking the bank:
1. Be strategic.
Should you start a blog? Is it time to invest in PPC ads? Does your website need a facelift?
Before deciding on tactics, finalize a strategic marketing plan. To create an effective plan, make sure you understand sales team goals and the organization’s overall vision for growth. Then, identify marketing initiatives that align with and support these broader goals.
Finally, craft your plan, and then create a budget around it. If you do any of these steps out of order, you’re shooting at an invisible target.
2. Keep it simple.
The sheer magnitude of platforms, tools and technologies available can be intimidating. Keep things simple by choosing an all-in-one platform that your team finds easy to use.
There are plenty to choose from. Having one central hub—instead of 10 different tools for varying functions—will streamline your efforts and make budgeting much simpler.
3. Corral your data.
Google Analytics (and whichever marketing software you use) can help you collect a ton of useful data about how people are engaging with your digital marketing.
However, it’s important to understand the metrics that contribute to meaningful business objectives. Start by sorting three types of data:
- Awareness data: Tracking traffic and sources
- Conversion data: Actions that contribute toward prospects becoming customers
- Consideration data: Identifying marketing-qualified leads and sales-qualified leads information
4. Trim the fat.
It’s important to create a comprehensive marketing plan, but don’t get caught in the trap of adding too many programs, projects or platforms. Use data to identify what you really need, and delete everything else that you cannot directly tie to your strategic marketing plan.
Here’s more guidance on creating a lean budget your accounting department will embrace.
5. Know the must-haves.
Before entering any budget meetings, identify your non-negotiable line items. Prepare data-backed evidence to justify the existence of your non-negotiables, and be prepared to defend your decisions with more than just emotion.
6. Don’t go it alone.
Budgeting is a daunting task, but there are plenty of tools to streamline the process. Find a template that works for you, consider all your potential marketing activities and identify initiatives that will drive meaningful business results.
A version of this post first appeared on The Whole Brain Group blog.