In our first blog post, we set up the foundation that building a successful company almost always involves successfully marketing your product, your service, or yourself. We talked about the importance of budgeting wisely in establishing a marketing plan because it can be easy to misuse and waste a lot of money without prior preparation. We discussed the three important first steps of knowing your sales funnel, knowing your operational costs, and setting your marketing budget based on business goals. Here are the three final steps to developing a marketing budget as part of your marketing plan:
4. Position Marketing as an Investment, Not a Cost
More often than not, marketing budgets descend from the top of the organization where marketing teams are considered cost centers and the marketing budget is perceived to be an expense.
By this thinking, organizations will look at last year’s marketing expenditures and make a decision about where they want to spend more or less. Instead, your marketing budget should be treated as an investment, something that will bring a quantifiable and ascertainable return on investment over time.
5. Consider Your Growth Stage
Setting your marketing budget will also be influenced by whether your organization is in growth mode or planning mode.
Growth Mode. If you’re in growth mode, you’ll need to generate top-line revenue at a faster rate, so you might consider deeper investments in more of the quick-win marketing techniques.Take an iterative approach in further developing your website, so your website can become a central marketing hub rather than an online brochure. Iterative development and maintenance could consume a significant part of your budget, but the rewards are well worth it.
Planning Mode. If you’re in more of a planning mode, where steady growth is more welcomed than spikes in revenue, you’ll want to consider a longer-term marketing play through earned media. This includes generating and publishing great inbound content and eventually earning new business over time.
6. Understand Current and Future Trends
An understanding of current and future marketing trends can also help you to navigate the budgeting process.
When setting a marketing budget, it’s important for marketers to adopt and apply different technologies to their marketing stack to keep up with the pace of industry changes. If you are using email in your marketing strategy, take advantage of features such as contact insights, email tracking, and email scheduling. (Check out 6 Email Marketing Tips That Will Actually Make a Difference for helpful tips.)
Many times companies react to the latest “marketing” idea without validation and research that they will successfully reach their target market. A marketing budget should include traditional market approaches as well as the emerging social media market. Focus on your audience, what form of communication they are likely to respond to, and what your message to them should be.
This article was written by Michael Evans at Forbes.com