Marketing Budget: Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck
“Many companies that don’t survive are typically the ones that don’t have a marketing budget; they’re like flowers dependent on occasional rain.”
— Coleen Sterns Leith
President, Marketing Matters
For many business owners, in the list of things they look forward to, developing a marketing budget is up there with licking 1,000 envelopes for a mailer. You might not want to dedicate a few hours to crunching numbers for a marketing budget, but it’s unavoidable if you want your business to succeed. Many think that numbers and creativity don’t mix and that budgets can restrict innovation and possibilities. We beg to differ.
We’ll let you in a little secret: Marketing agencies love knowing their clients’ budgets. Not to calculate how much they can get out of them, but to know limitations and to optimize their strategy to help get the most bang for their buck. So do yourself a favor: develop a marketing budget and share it with your agency. You can start with our template if you’d like.
As a business owner, you know what’s best for your business. But as marketing professionals, learning about new technologies, marketing strategies and channels to get your message out is our day-to-day mission. We can ballpark what that massive custom-printed mailer that you want will cost or how much you have to spend on your Facebook ad to be effective. We study Instagram ads targeting, content marketing campaigns, the cost of printing materials, obscure promotional items for trade shows, PR strategies that go beyond distributing press releases, influencer marketing and much more.
By knowing your marketing budget, we can recommend a healthy mix of marketing strategies that make sense for your particular business.
Types of Strategies for Marketing Budgets
Knowing the most common buckets of your marketing mix will support you in having productive conversations with your agency regarding your marketing budget. Here are some of the most common types of strategies to consider for your marketing budget:
These are ads that speak directly to your customer or end-user. Although everything you do should be focused on them, end-user marketing strategies commonly refer to ads that they see, such as banner or print ads.
Anything you do to increase demand at the wholesaler, retailer, or distributor level rather than at the consumer level. Ads in trade publications, sales channel marketing and POP materials are good examples of trade marketing.
Press releases, sponsorships, PR campaigns, webinars, attending trade shows and client events, are all examples of strategies to build the relationship between the public and your company.
The ultimate way of providing value to your customers, content marketing refers to the creation and sharing of online materials (videos, blogs, social media posts, etc.) that does not explicitly promote your brand but stimulates interest in your products or services. This blog post you are reading, sponsored content, landing pages, e-newsletters, as well as producing white papers or eBooks, are good examples of content marketing.
Social media algorithms are constantly updated to bury business posts. Long gone are the days in which posting to your business page was enough to communicate with your followers. Now, you need to invest in ads to reach your target audiences on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media platforms. For many companies – but especially for those in B2C – it is also a good idea to seek the expertise of a social media specialist. These experts will guide you in developing effective strategies to gain the most out of these platforms and manage the online conversation.
Creating and maintaining your website, blog, mobile presence and email programs all costs money. Please don’t think you can manage this all yourself. It takes a lot of time, effort and years of expertise to do it effectively.
One of the most traditional marketing components, advertising refers to the ads you place in different media such as online, print, outdoor, radio and television. What you spend here will vary greatly depending on your industry, company size and target audience.
The simple act of having a website is not enough (refer any questions to Don’t Cut a Tree in the Middle of a Forest). For a website to be worth your investment, you have to put it to work for you. That is achieved through professional development, online ads such as PPC and SEM, SEO and investing in fresh content.
Don’t disregard the impact market research can have on your business. Investing in surveys, industry reports and impact studies is one of the most effective and credible marketing strategies out there.
Sometimes you have to go straight for the kill. Well executed and targeted, sales campaigns are an effective and revenue-generating strategy.
You always need an ‘others’ bucket for things that don’t quite fall into any of the aforementioned categories. Think items such as business cards, signage, brochures, corporate branding, etc.
For more information on the importance of marketing budgets – and a free sample marketing budget worksheet! – check out Ultra Hi Def Marketing: 5-Step Guide to World Domination in the Tech Industry. And again, we started a budget template for you if you don’t have one, feel free to use it.