how to create a marketing budget for your business in 2018

Ever feel like you’re shouting into a windstorm, when trying to create a marketing budget that’s practical, yet pragmatic?

Yah, we’ve been there, too.

That’s because for most businesses, the first piece to be impacted by cuts is the marketing budget.

The good news is most small and medium-sized are increasing their marketing budget spend, year-over-year which means more money for you and your team.

Marketing is an investment (and an expense)

Marketing should be considered an investment (and an expense) much to the chagrin of your finance department.

In order to prove this, you need to keep track of and measure your marketing investments in order to paint the picture of where investments should be made, or cut. It’s critical to be able to illustrate and speak intelligently on the performance of your marketing from a monetary and ROI perspective, as well as from technology perspective.

For example, you’ll want to put a system in place to track the entire life cycle of your buyers and ensure what you deliver makes them happy.

But before you do that, you need to ask some pretty honest questions about your investment into marketing:

  • Can you measure your marketing dollars, your ad spend, and cost per lead?
  • Can you, or are you, measuring the revenue contribution from the focus on marketing and content creation?
  • Can you measure your average monthly revenue per customer?
  • Can you measure revenue that’s coming from baseline new customers, on a monthly average?
  • Can you or are you measuring the revenue impact of net new customers, on a monthly average?
  • How about recurring new revenue and cumulative new revenue? Are you measuring these?
  • Should you hire an outsourced, or more people and team members? What’s the cost savings to outsourced marketing?

The bottom line is this: you need to put the focus how marketing’s contribution impacts revenue in order to make the case for adding more to your already paltry budget. Marketing is an investment and an expense, and keeping track of it all is important because the success of your marketing execution relies on it.

Get your free marketing budget template here. 


What items to cut in your marketing budget

According to a 2016 report that interviewed over 2,000 marketers, visibility into the entire tracking of the sales cycle is a pretty big issue.

Only eighteen percent of marketers say they’re able to track leads through the sales funnel beginning from the opportunity stage to an actual sale. That’s a problem.

You need to be able to make decisions (budgetary and otherwise) from accurate data and as a part of the budgeting process, marketers need to invest in resources that can solve this rather annoying pain point. You’ll need to turn your focus to address the technology you’re using, once you’ve addressed the data you already have. (or don’t have)

And be ruthless in your self-reflection, and for God’s sake, don’t be cheap. If you need to spend money in order to measure ROI and prove that marketing really is the engine the drives your revenue efforts, then speak up.

As you’re figuring out what items to cut, and add, ask questions like these:

  • Is $1 spent on marketing automation software driving at least $3 of value?
  • Is software critical in making budgetary marketing decisions?
  • If you had to get rid of this software resource tomorrow, would you take a leap off a long bridge?

While you certainly don’t have to replace your entire technology infrastructure, like your CRM, you should be looking for ways to operate more efficiently, using a streamlined technology stack that everyone in the marketing department is able to learn and use.

Get your free marketing budget template here


Stay people-first when developing your marketing budget

While technology resources are an important piece of every marketing budget discussion, never lead with this argument when fighting for your marketing budget.

After all, more software isn’t going to solve your problems, and trying to work within fifteen or twenty technology components is only going to derail intentional progress with your prospects and customers. Investments in marketing automation software and technology have catapulted, but the ROI can’t help but diminish over time if that marketing automation isn’t implemented with a process that’s “people first.”

Let us explain.

Three things need to be aligned for any company to grow and for any marketer to be successful. You need to have a healthy balance of people, process, and technology. A people first mentality helps you accomplish this and it’s designed around getting the most out of your software, from the people that are using it on a daily basis.

The rise of account-based marketing has compounded the dependence on automated software – technology that, on its own, provides little value. Software can help you scale your marketing initiatives, but only if the investments are properly made in people, so that you can throttle the most productivity from the the marketing technology you currently use.

Not to mention, modern-day marketers aren’t prepared and don’t have the skills needed to perform their job at a peak level. It’s not their fault, either. Marketing has changing so dramatically in the past few years that college educators are playing catch-up as to what to teach young marketers and advertisers. As marketing and sales overlap, marketers are embracing tasks they’re not accustomed to dealing with. Things such as engaging customers on a one-to-one basis, booking appointments for sales team members, qualifying leads, and creating budgets are now the norm.

If you’ve never considered your people when pitching your budget, you’d be surprised at how far approaching your marketing budget this can help take you.

Anybody can rattle off a list of technologies and automation software(s) and claim it’s the best. But, you’re missing a rare opportunity to effectively equip you and your team with the best technology to handle the struggles of modern-day digital marketing if your sole focus is simply assembling a laundry list of tools and campaigns, without taking into consideration the incredible value of finding success in an ROI-heavy world of digital marketing.

Instead, your focus should be on assembling and budgeting the ingredients necessary to foster value through a successful engagement process, creativity, customization, and the best tools to gather an abundance of data that’s part of your marketing budget and strategy. Talented people, you and your tribe, are at the heart of each of those ingredients.

Fight for the budget you deserve and fight for improving the quantifiables and metrics will speak volumes when telling the story of where you need to double down with your marketing monetization.

Get your free (basic yet good) marketing budget template here

Speaking of tools, download our free template to build, track, and measure your marketing here. Get your free marketing budget template here and good luck creating and executing your marketing plan and budget, in 2018.