Creating a marketing budget plan is an essential step for any business. The purpose of this plan is to set out how you will allocate your marketing funds over a specific period of time. It can also be used to determine whether your marketing efforts are delivering the results you were hoping for and identify areas where you can make improvements. Whether you’re a small business or a large brand, having a clear idea of how much you’re spending on marketing and the return it is generating is essential to keep your finger on the pulse of your marketing activities.
Setting up a marketing budget plan doesn’t have to be complicated. With a little bit of organization and some mindfulness, it’s possible to keep track of the various costs associated with your various marketing activities and determine exactly how much you are spending on each channel.
The first step is to set up a spreadsheet to track your marketing costs. This should be a relatively simple process given that you’ll have all of the information available to you already. Essentially, you’re just duplicating what you’ve already got in your financial records. However, setting this up takes some time and it’s worth doing things correctly the first time around so that you can save time in the future.
The Why, What, and How
The first thing to consider is why you are doing this. Why not just go with what your gut tells you and see how it goes? There are several benefits to having a solid budget plan laid out ahead of time. First off, it can give you a clearer idea of where your resources are going. Set a benchmark for your marketing activities and determine whether you are reaching your goals or whether you need to make some adjustments. Also, by planning out your budget, you will be able to determine how much you have left over after you’ve spent your allocated funds. This is essential information for any business owner or manager who wants to stay within their budget.
The next step is to define your strategy. What do you hope to get out of this budgeting exercise? Determine what results you’re hoping to see from your marketing efforts and map out the steps that you will take to get there. Set benchmarks for yourself at the end of each quarter and revise your strategy accordingly. You should also set some goals for yourself, specifically regarding ROI and measurable results. For example, if you’re aiming to get 20% of your customers to buy custom-made products from your e-commerce store, you can set a goal to get that figure within the next three months. If you’re looking to improve your social media presence, you can set a benchmark to have 40% of your followers to be engaged with your content by the end of the next quarter.
Determining how much you’re spending on each channel and which channels you will focus on or drop is the second part of your strategy. Once you’ve got your strategy and goals laid out, you can easily look at the spreadsheets you’ve made and see how your marketing costs are breaking down. This information will also be valuable when you’re revising your strategy at the end of each quarter. For example, if you find that your social media efforts are not bringing in the results you were hoping for, you may decide to drop that channel and try a different strategy.
Budgeting Versus Planning
One of the most crucial things to consider when creating a marketing budget plan is whether you’re doing this as a budgeting exercise or as part of your long-term planning. Do you need to set a benchmark for your marketing expenditures for the next quarter or for the next year? The answer will determine how you should approach this exercise. If you’re doing this as a one-time event to set a benchmark for the coming quarter, you may want to simply go with what your gut tells you and see how it goes. However, if this is part of a longer-term plan to determine where your resources are going and how you’re going to spend your money, setting a benchmark now is key. This way, you can easily revise your plan at the end of each quarter and follow-up with your staff to see whether your strategy is working or if you need to make some adjustments.
What About ROI?
Getting back to the previous point, if you’re looking for a quick-fix solution and you’re feeling a little bit anxious about how the budgeting process is going to affect your gut feeling, it’s okay to go with what your gut tells you. However, if this is part of a longer-term plan and you’re looking for quick results, you may want to consider setting a benchmark and sticking to it. Calculating ROI takes a little bit of time but it’s still one of the most reliable ways to determine the effectiveness of your marketing efforts. If you’ve been following along so far, you should have a clear idea of how much your marketing efforts are costing you. It’s also worth keeping in mind that some marketing activities may deliver quicker results than others so you can set a time limit for when you will measure your results.
To determine ROI, you simply need to figure out how much you’ve spent on marketing and how much you’re getting back in terms of sales. There are various tools online that can help you with this process easily. You can also use Google Analytics to track the results of your various marketing activities. With this tool, you will be able to see whether your efforts are delivering the results you were hoping for. While this may seem like a lot of work, setting up a marketing budget plan and calculating ROI is still a lot quicker and easier than going with your gut and hoping for the best.
Getting Specific With Channel Budgets
One of the things that makes this process a little more complicated is the fact that you have to get specific with your channel budgets. This may seem like a difficult step but by being specific, you’re able to see exactly how your marketing dollars are being spent and whether or not the return is worth it. Once you’ve got your strategy and goals set, you can easily see how your budget is breaking down. The next step is to look at each channel and define exactly how much you’re spending on this channel and what the purpose of this expenditure is. Doing this for each channel will help you keep track of your money more easily. If you find that some channels deliver better results than others, you can easily adjust your strategy and focus more on the ones that work best for you.
As you can see, creating a marketing budget plan is fairly straight-forward. The tricky part comes once you’ve laid out your strategy and set your benchmarks. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer volume of information and not see the wood for the trees. Take some time to sit back and organize all of this information so that you can easily follow the steps needed to reach your goals. With a clear idea of where you’re spending your money and how much you’re getting back, it’s easier to gauge whether or not your strategy is working and you can quickly make adjustments as needed.