Defining advertising budgets is a task that can become particularly difficult at times. There is always a tendency to determine the marketing budget based on “what will be left” of the profits, yet this expense is absolutely vital for a growing business and most definitely has its rewards.
If you have ambitious growth objectives, it is better to provide a forecast that will allow you to take off your sales, while remaining within the limits of a reasonable size and turnover. We have enlisted a few bits of advice below to help you efficiently and cost effectively determine a marketing budget that will meet your aims.
The first thing to define in the marketing budget is of course: the available budget and how to distribute it. This doesn’t acquire a set of scholarly calculations, still, there are certain criteria to be considered in order to determine the available budget and the ways of distributing it.
First of all, it is necessary to have a strategic approach to certain issues related to your business’s needs and must dos, and decide how much you are going to spend where.
If your company has ambitious growth objectives, it will have to establish a larger budget than, for example, that of the previous year.
Obviously, you will have to spend more if the business is just starting up or if you launch a new product, but you can easily estimate a marketing budget at around 10 – 15% of turnover for a growing company, compared to 2 to 5 % for companies that are well established in their sector.
Thus, you must not only take into account your objectives but also your market and see where you stand in its territory. The budget will have to match the size of your business, your sector, and your customers.
If your ridership area is quite small, because it is mostly about professionals in a given area, you will have a budget lower than a company targeting individuals throughout the territory.
Another criterion to analyze is that of competition: what are your competitors doing? Do they rest on their laurels or do they tend to adopt very aggressive marketing strategies? What is your place in this market?
If the budget itself is an important part to be determined, the marketing budget must also be established according to the time you spend on its operation, but also in actions that you can achieve on a regular basis throughout the year.
This is why the business plan comes in parallel with a marketing budget because determining the budget itself is not enough.
The worst mistake to make would be to wait until the last moment to worry about the launch of a product that would have taken months to develop, to finally carry out emergency communication actions with providers or strategies.
On the contrary, you must take the marketing budget seriously and watch it as an investment in its own right, because it is the guarantor of your marketing.
In the context of a business with growth objectives, it is necessary to optimize all the steps of the budget and the marketing plan: it is better to prefer well-crafted actions to other recklessly considered ones.
Generally speaking, in a growth marketing budget, it is better to favour the medium and long term objectives and to devote at least 60% of your budget to them.
Let’s delve more concretely into the topic and see some of the website marketing areas where you need to allocate your budget :
Your SEO: including the optimization of your homepage and your Adwords campaign. This part is essential to establish valuable visibility on the search engines, and it allows managing your ROI in a very precise way.
Content writing: As part of a growing SME, one of the keys to acquiring contacts, especially on the web, is to offer relevant content for your prospects; whether it’s in the form of a blog, presence on social networks, or on YouTube with the production of videos in your area of expertise.
Content is truly a winning strategy for achieving your growth goals, but it is time-consuming and has a certain cost that must be considered in your marketing budget.
Your local reputation: especially if your activity revolves around a local business. In this case, marketing mix actions are very profitable. All these actions will not only be able to generate leads but will also work on your brand image and overall visibility.
Distribute the rest on actions such as: Facebook contests, or Adsense campaigns for example, or the organization of events or trade shows. You can use case studies to estimate the most attractive stocks in their expense-return ratio.
Do not hesitate to dedicate a certain budget for the follow-up and the study regarding the results of the actions carried out and the calculation of their ROI, or even for the readjustment of some, like the redesign of your homepage or your site for example.
Too few growing companies are thinking of this “relief” budget, which can be very useful in turning a poor ROI campaign into a very profitable one.
Flexibility and adaptation
Anticipation is very important for a growing business. Anticipate first to have the human means to manage the fallout of your actions and not generate customer dissatisfaction, which would impact your advertising in the worst possible ways!
Feel free to imagine different scenarios to sort out your priorities. Ask yourself what will be the best and the worst scenario for each of your investments, to prepare you not only for potential failures but also for future successes.
Take advantage of your SME size and flexibility to readjust actions if necessary, this will be your strength against competitors who are too slow to react to new opportunities!
And most importantly, do not forget that not giving enough time and money to your marketing budget is really going into a vicious circle: the lower the budget, the lower the sales, and the less you communicate with your audience. The marketing budget must be a key element of your growth strategy.
10 tips for your marketing budget
Try to limit your marketing efforts to the most effective ones. This not only saves time but also money. The following tips should be considered when planning your marketing budget:
Focusing: Set priorities! Determine in advance which topics or products should be put into focus next year. After all, they are the epicenter of your marketing efforts.
Marketing measures: Look for suitable marketing measures! Choose appropriate marketing tools for your chosen priorities and your company goals. Better use fewer marketing measures, but when you do make sure you are using them efficiently. With marketing, a profit maximization is to be achieved. Do not save on the quality of your instruments.
The scope of work: Create a schedule and be organized. Once you have determined the marketing measures, you should note down the expected workload and include it in the further planning.
Internal cost calculation: Calculate internal cost. Make a concrete internal statement of costs and note these during the further marketing planning.
Staff: If you use internal marketing measures, the selection of a staff must first be clarified. Are there enough employees and above all qualified personnel who can implement the marketing measures effectively and efficiently?
External Costing: Calculate External Costs. If you involve external personnel, you must calculate and record the expenses incurring.
Security surcharge: Safety first! For any cost calculations, you should always plan a safety margin to protect yourself against unforeseen situations and generate planning security. On average, you should plan for 5-10% of the amount spent.
Cost Consolidation: Keep track of the total cost. After completing all the steps, you can aggregate the total cost and get an overview of the planned marketing budget. In addition, if you exceed the budget limits, you can immediately intervene and delete measures.
Key Performance Indicators: Measure Your Success. Check if your marketing investments have been successful. You can bring together and evaluate those metrics that illustrate success and failure. Here you can determine the price-performance ratio of the individual marketing instruments and use the results for later measures.
Optimization: Optimize your costs. Continuously review your marketing costs to adjust them as needed. In addition, you can identify potential savings with regular monitoring where you identify and eliminate risks at an early stage.
Align your marketing budget with your predetermined business goals and marketing mix.
Limit yourself to the marketing tools that come out of your marketing strategy and are promising to achieve your objectives.
Not only does this save your budget, it also lets you convince your customers with quality rather than quantity.
You should think carefully about which items make sense for your company to include into your budget plan.
Make sure to keep track of key figures and expenses through proper bookkeeping and early calculation so you do not lose track of the cost and are transparent in every stage.