Budgets are a tricky thing. You need to be able to justify the spend to get it in the first place, but often the justification only comes when you can show proof in the pudding. It's a chicken and egg challenge for sure. But hopefully, if you're reading this post you're already managing some kind of marketing budget and now you're looking for ways to grow it and make it work more effectively for you. Let us help!
Five Steps To Grow Your Marketing Budget
1. Align Your Ask with Your Company's Goals and Objectives
Your marketing plan can't be built in a vacuum. As you are defining the goals and objectives of your marketing program, you need to identify how it is aligning with the current strategic focus of the company as a whole. Is the C-suite focused on growing in a particular region, expanding your current product offering, investing in major operational changes that improve your competitive advantage, or launching entirely new products? Align your plan around those overarching efforts and an increase in marketing spend becomes much more understandable and ultimately agreeable.
2. Clearly Outline the Outcomes
Not all marketing activities are created equally and it's important to have a healthy mix of different outcomes to achieve overall success for your brand. Some activities are intended to just build brand reach, brand awareness or brand impressions. These terms all refer to the same general outcome - having your brand float in front of the eyes and ears of your target audience. Other activities include brand engagement, which is the different ways you're offering your audience an opportunity to take action in some way such as a like, a follow, a view, an open, a click-through, a share, etc. In these instances, you have not only registered in their minds with your presence, but you took it a step further by earning an action. Another type of marketing outcome is an "add to cart" or even better - an actual purchase.
So what does all that have to do with a budget? Being able to articulate the expected outcomes helps to establish a level of comfort in the budget and prevents misunderstanding about what "more money" will yield. Without the increased spend, the expected outcomes that you (or the c-suite) is looking for cannot be realized. Clarity is always an ally in money discussions.
3. Identify Measurable Goals
We touched above on general outcomes, so let's get more specific. When asking for your budget, provide additional clarity on expected outcomes by setting measurable goals. This attaches accountability to the request and offers some assurance that efforts will be tracked, adjusted, and reported on. Not every goal will be hit, but an end game is in mind and adds important details to the roadmap.
4. Define the Priorities
Depending on the season of growth your company is in, as well as the promotional efforts needed throughout a given budget year, your marketing plan should outline when and where you need to lean in more with increased spend. Do you have a specific season or time of year when it is more vital to move product? This may call for a prioritization of spend. Have you built up a healthy recipe library but you're in desperate need of video content? This affects your spending priorities. Again, define this to add clarity to the budget request and show your understanding of company priorities that need varying degrees of marketing support. We find that this is an area produce marketers often struggle with most. DMA can provide consultative services to help you define priorities in a strategic way to help you gain c-suite approval. Let us know if you need this type of support!
5. Map Out the Spend in a Calendar
Last but not least is your marketing calendar. This goes hand-in-hand with defining your priorities in that you are formalizing your marketing spend to coincide with promotional activity and mapping it out into bite-size pieces throughout the year. Some tactics will run the calendar year from end to end, and some tactics will pulse in and out with added spend giving more support when and where needed. Now your roadmap is complete.
Together these five recommendations offer a solid strategy for requesting a marketing budget increase as well as showing how those additional dollars are intended to help your company reach its overarching goals for the year. Looking for strategic or tactical support in executing your marketing plan or even planning your budget? Let us know! We'd love to explore ways DMA Solutions can meet that need.