Though it feels like we just rang in the New Year last week, the budding trees and warmer temps announce the arrival of another milestone in the fiscal year: the halfway point.
The midway point of any year is an excellent opportunity to take a step back and reevaluate how your actual performance stacks up against the goals you set at the beginning. But don’t spend all your time looking backward. Once you close out the 2nd quarter of the fiscal year, it’s officially time to start planning for next year, and that means it’s time to build another budget.
Budget planning is one of the most important practices for businesses and it’s absolutely necessary for long-term success. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult processes that a business has to complete from year-to-year.
Having a clearly defined budget—especially for specific areas of your business—enables you to better track finances and project overall profitability. Establishing a budget forces your business to think long term about your business strategy and goals and consider where you need to allocate your money to achieve those goals, or where you may need to cut back.
Many businesses that have a marketing budget don’t have a good explanation for how they landed on the budgeted amount. Some just use a percentage of projected revenue, while others simply pick a number out of thin air. Don’t get me wrong, even a bad marketing budget is better than no marketing budget, but we’ve seen what happens when a budget falls apart, and it’s not a pretty sight.
As a digital agency, we have tons of experience using marketing dollars to achieve business goals, and we’re here to help you develop an effective budget alongside a plan that gets the results you want.
1. Look at the Big Picture
First things first: Look at the big picture. You must understand your business’ strategic plan and goals, then identify how marketing will support these initiatives. From here, you can gain a better understanding of the type and amount of activities you’ll need to deliver expectations on to put together some initial costs.
2. Know Your Sales Pipelines
Becoming familiar with your sales pipeline provides clear direction on how to attract and retain more customers. Plus, this allows you to determine the type of campaigns you want to push to best reach your customers. Furthermore, it’ll allow you to identify the platforms, segmentation, targeting, and creative assets you need to activate your marketing plan.
3. Analyze Previous Marketing Efforts and Review Competitors
Learning what works well for your business and keeping an eye on your competitors helps you find ways to differentiate while sustaining progress. When you take time to analyze previous performance and watch competitors, you might find that you need to invest more (or less) in your marketing plan depending on your industry, location, seasonality, past success, current/future trends, and more.
4. Distribute Your Dollars
Now’s the time to get into the deep details of your marketing plan and outline your tactical plans. Whether you want to run digital ads, publish monthly social media content, build a website, or refresh your brand, prioritize your platforms and tactics and assign marketing dollars from your budget to each aspect of your plan.
5. Set Meaningful, Measurable Goals & Stick to Your Budget
That’s the whole reason you have one. Starting off with too small of a budget may not make the impact you need when it comes to achieving your goals. On the flip side, having too large of a budget could also result in wasted spend. Leave room in your budget to test and optimize along the way, so you’re allocating the right amount of money in the right places to reach the right people. Also remember that marketing should be seen as one of the biggest investments your business can make and will bring ROI over time.
If you’re ready to get a head start on your marketing budget for 2021, schedule a free consultation with us. Our team of experts can assist your business in building a budget that gets more bang for your buck.