Marketing is the driving force of the business world. Without it, there is nothing to separate companies from one another, or position one product or service over the others in the competitive market. It shapes whole mentalities, converts visitors into buyers, and creates lifelong relationships between brands and their customers. Needless to say, you need to invest heavily in marketing if you are to make it in today’s over saturated marketplace.
However, this is exactly the biggest problem with marketing – it’s an investment, and a grand one at that. Marketing requires the strategic planning and allocation of financial resources, and it requires you to tailor your budget according to solid industry data. There can be no room for mistake. With that in mind, here are the five steps that will help you create a marketing budget that delivers results.
Evaluate your past marketing successes
An effective marketing strategy might be a product of a creative set of minds, but that doesn’t mean that every marketing material shouldn’t be grounded in verifiable data. There can be no room for guesswork here, as you need to act on relevant KPIs and reports in order to discover what works, and what you need to scrap from your marketing plan. In other words, you need to recognize the underachievers and the top-performing tactics.
To achieve this goal, be sure to analyze the performance of your every marketing tactic from the previous year. Start with your Google Analytics dashboard to discover where the majority of your online traffic is coming from. Use this data to discover your most lucrative sources of quality leads, and then segment these into conversion groups, brand ambassadors, and non-responders. You can then weed out the tactics that didn’t work, and devise improvement strategies if needed.
Define this year’s marketing goals
Crafting detailed marketing reports from years past is not only an excellent way to figure out what’s working for you, but also to define this year’s goals more efficiently. After all, efficiently setting your new marketing goals will allow you to choose the best financing method to bring your strategy to life without damaging cash flow or making any cutbacks. Fail to do this, and you will invariably lose money during the execution stages.
The goals you set for your marketing strategy should be quantifiable and specific. In other words, they need to be based on evidentiary data, and you need to be able to analyze them easily upon implementation. This will allow you to derive even better reports for future campaigns. Aim to reach specific goals for each and every marketing tactic you employ.
Secure the necessary finances
When you have your reports and have created specific marketing goals for this year or quarter, you can finally obtain an overview of your financial requirements. Observe every goal individually to derive its specific cost before collating all costs into a comprehensive financial projection. Next, devise a strategy to obtain the necessary finances.
Marketing is expensive, there is no doubt about that, so you will need to manage your finances wisely. Concretely, smart business finance comes down to maintaining cash flow while boosting revenue from other sources. This allows you to fuel your daily processes without sacrificing the effectiveness of your marketing strategy. With that in mind, be sure to look into debtor finance or even cash line to get paid for outstanding invoices, and circumvent the problem of non-paying customers.
Allocate funds to individual channels
So now you have the data, the goals, and the finances, now you need to allocate resources to marketing implementation across numerous channels that are relevant to your brand, your industry, and your target demographic. Consider the costs of online and offline marketing, and then filter out the channels you know won’t get you the desired results.
As a general rule, you should focus on growing your digital presence through social media, email marketing, SEO, content creation, and paid advertisement. That said, you shouldn’t forget about certain offline channels either, such as promotional material, branded merchandise, and events to boost engagement in your local community.
Focus on marketing specificity
In the end, your success will come down to how well you organize internally, and how well you prioritize your marketing needs to be based on your current standing in the industry, financial capabilities, and other resources. Focus on the lucrative tactic(s) first and then broaden your scope when these tactics start yielding the desired results.
For example, you can choose to obtain customers and drive traffic fast with search engine marketing and sponsored ads on social media. Once the conversion rate starts going up, you can invest in your next tactic, which could be long-term SEO implementation and content marketing.
Building a realistic marketing budget is not just about obtaining the finances, rather it’s about justifying your financial needs with verifiable data and metrics, and a solid implementation strategy. It’s a nuanced process so make sure you’ve got these steps covered before unleashing your marketing plan in the competitive market.