3 Often-Overlooked Budgeting Basics by Marketers

It’s a new year. A new year means new customers, new marketing goals, and new opportunities to grow your business. It’s an exciting way to start the year, but it won’t last long if your marketing budget isn’t right from the start.

Many companies plan their marketing budget based on the previous year and how much they’re willing to spend on marketing. While that may work for some, we offer you 3 budgeting basics for marketers that are often overlooked:

1. Build a Budget

10-15 years ago, some businesses didn’t have to spend much time, effort, or money in marketing – especially in the referral-based business sector. Times have changed and today, it is imperative for any business to be found online. A great place to start is with regularly distributed content on your own website or a social media strategy to kick start your organic search volume, which can be done with little investment. Once you have a budget established, you can add in more complex campaigns to better target your market and increase the touchpoints to your prospects as it takes 7 to 13+ touches to deliver a qualified sales lead.

2. Analyze the Variance

To most marketers, it is common practice to set up a monthly budget for your marketing campaigns. However, the most overlooked and arguably the most important element of budgeting is the analysis of the variance. In budgeting, a variance is the difference between a budgeted, planned, or standard cost and the actual amount incurred. At that point, it is important to readjust your budget for the following month(s) to reflect the insight you take away from the analysis of the variance.

3. Plan for the Unknown

The marketing landscape is ever-changing. It has become a greater challenge for small businesses to plan their budgets accordingly and to allow for changes in such an environment. Being nimble enough to pivot while being prudent enough to not go over budget can be an even greater challenge.

Keep in mind: what you do know is that the market is changing. It will look very different in a few months, so plan for the unknown. When setting up your marketing budget, include a line item that you could call ‘pivoting.’ This will allow for you to pivot when the time comes as you’ve already planned for it. This way you don’t need to be concerned about missing opportunities to invest in the latest campaigns, but you are also not sitting around and waiting for something to happen.

Building an appropriate budget and checking in monthly to analyze your variance while planning for the unknown will certainly help lead you to reaching your goals for 2018.