Tips for Setting Your 2014 Marketing Budget

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Late summer typically means one thing – back to school for kids. But for those of us in the business world, late summer is increasingly coinciding with budgeting season. My experience has shown me that many companies are starting this process earlier and earlier in the year. In fact, I reviewed a 2014 marketing plan and budget for a client three weeks ago! The client is trying to get ahead of the game, realizing that Q4 is a typically busy period with a final push toward closing business to meet revenue goals along with time off due to the holidays.

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Tips for Setting Your 2014 Marketing Budget

  1. 1. Tips for Setting Your 2014 Marketing Budget Late summer typically means one thing – back to school for kids. But for those of us in the business world, late summer is increasingly coinciding with budgeting season. My experience has shown me that many companies are starting this process earlier and earlier in the year. In fact, I reviewed a 2014 marketing plan and budget for a client three weeks ago! The client is trying to get ahead of the game, realizing that Q4 is a typically busy period with a final push toward closing business to meet revenue goals along with time off due to the holidays. So as you start to think about your 2014 marketing budget, here are a few tips to keep in mind: 1. Set a realistic marketing budget. There is somewhat of a science behind determining what your marketing budget should be, knowing that these calculations vary by size of company (start-up vs. established business) and, in some cases, industry. Typically, however, you can determine your marketing budget by taking your total revenue and multiplying it by 5% if you want to maintain your current state or by 10% if you want to grow and gain market share. Now some of you may be thinking that even 5% sounds like a lot but, again, keep in mind this is an average. You have to do what is right for your business. The point is to decide on a number so you have something to work from. 2. Look at last year’s marketing budget and activities and determine what worked and what didn’t. Many times companies keep the same marketing plan and budget year to year because it’s easier than digging in and figuring out what generated a positive ROI and what shouldn’t be repeated. Having those difficult discussions about what activities to cut is not fun, but the flip side is being able to redirect dollars to activities that help drive sales leads and support business development. 3. Focus your marketing efforts. Marketing should support the goals of the business, which typically means revenue generation. Really think about your target audience and the most appropriate ways to reach them. Instead of trying 5 different tactics such as advertising in a trade publication or sponsoring a booth at an event, narrow it down to the top 1-2 activities that are the most cost-effective ways to reach the buyers you are targeting. This could mean putting most of your marketing dollars into content generation (things such as blogging, videos, articles, infographics, etc.) and content distribution (such as social media). 4. Keep an eye on the changing marketing landscape. Years ago advertising and trade shows were effective ways to get your name out there and connect with potential buyers. Now we’re talking about things like content marketing, social media and digital marketing. While these don’t seem as expensive as an ad buy or a platinum event sponsorship, they still do require an investment of
  2. 2. marketing dollars to ensure the effort pays off. Remember, social media is not free! 5. Measure, adjust, measure. More than anything, determine what you are going to measure (remember the old adage of “measure what matters”!), check in every quarter to see how the initiatives are working out, and then adjust if necessary. If you’ve got questions as you start your 2014 budgeting and planning process, or just want some help evaluating what you spent money on this year, feel free to contact us. We’d be happy to talk with you and give you our insights.

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