6 Tips For Getting Your Marketing Budget In Line For Next Year

The end of the year will be here before we know it and if you haven't thought about it yet it's time to get your marketing budget set for next year.  As marketers, we know that our effectiveness is determined to some degree by the size of our budget.  Of course, we try to offset it several times over by the return we bring to the organization, but a small (or smaller) budget does put baby in a corner.  We've all struggled to get the budgets we need to do all we are asked, so here are 6 tips that can help you get what you need:

  1. Peg your budget to a percentage of revenue - most effective marketing budgets have a foothold in a percentage of revenue, yet most companies struggle with making this level of investment. By tying it to revenue you can create a standard that will grow as the company grows, and If you can leverage some industry norms that will help your argument.
  2. Close your measurement gaps - the best way for your budget to get blown out of the water is by failing to show what your organization is getting out of marketing.  There are always things that need to be done to keep the utilitarian parts of marketing up and running, but if you want to do more than just keep the lights on you will have to deliver ROI.
  3. Figure out what performed above the line and below the line - having #2 set will make this easier since it will be simple to prove what's working, but even if you can't get to the measurements you want work to determine some rank order of what worked and prepare the reasons why you need more funding to further fuel those initiatives.
  4. Find some wiggle to experiment and build some cushion for those unexpected items - most marketing departments run into some kind of surprise expense over the course of a year.  Hopefully, it's more funding for things that are working, but flexibility to deal with the unexpected - or hopefully invest in new channels or technologies - will make you better prepared to handle shifts in your business.
  5. Figure out who performed above the line and below the line - one of the things I never liked was the standard cost of living raise.  In situations where I had to do that for the whole team regardless of performance, it hurt my ability to retain staff and truly reward those high performers in the group.  Think about how you can keep the stars of your team rewarded at higher levels and look for changes at positions where you aren't getting what you need and reinvest those dollars elsewhere.
  6. Don't skimp on training investments for your staff - I struggled with investing a lot in training and put a lot of it in the "on the job" category, but marketing is moving so fast today that you need your team to keep an external perspective as much as possible.  Make sure that you set aside money for training.  It will keep your team up to speed and will also show a commitment to them and their craft, which will have returns well beyond the balance sheet.

In marketing money matters and how much you have will impact what you can do.  Fight the good fight early for your marketing budget and you will be on a path to success for the coming year.