Marketers can often feel like they’re spinning plates, between worrying about branding, paid advertising, SEO, events, and more… and with a limited budget, it can really feel like you’re spreading yourself too thin.
Getting a substantial marketing budget approved may seem like an uphill battle. In these uncertain times, businesses are scrimping and saving, and marketing is often the first on the chopping block: according to a Hubspot study, 28% of marketers feel that securing enough budget is their biggest marketing challenge. Marketing is often considered a helpful but costly add-on to the business strategy, and it can be difficult to prove the full value marketing brings to a business. But it’s not all doom and gloom for the marketing world - if you do your research and planning, you’ll be able to persuasively fight for the budget you want.
Know your cost base at current performance
The first step in proposing a new marketing budget is to know your operational costs - the more specific you can be, the better. How much did traditional advertising, such as billboards and TV adverts, cost you last year? What about the development and maintenance of your company’s website? PPC? Direct mail campaigns? How much is the company spending on the marketing team, including salaries and training? Knowing the overall cost of your marketing efforts will not only help you draw up a justifiable marketing budget, but it will also strengthen your case by concretely accounting for every expense within your budget.
Define success with SMART goals
Once you’ve figured out the operational costs, it’s time to define your marketing goals and key performance indicators (KPIs). As with your costs, you should avoid ambiguity when presenting your marketing goals - instead of ‘increase conversions through website’, consider stating, ‘increase landing page conversion rate by 50%’.
Alongside your goals, your KPIs should clearly map your progress towards those well-defined goals. By giving your CFO clear-cut metrics against which to measure the success of your marketing efforts, you’ll be better able to justify the budget necessary to meet your goals. Aligning your marketing goals with wider business goals will make your case even stronger, by presenting marketing not as a separate, money-draining entity, but as an integral contributor towards the company’s overall success.
Delineate ROI and customer lifetime value
The best way to prove how valuable marketing is to a company’s growth is to focus on the return on investment (ROI) of your marketing efforts. Being able to demonstrate the value of marketing with concrete numbers to back you up is a sure-fire way to make your budget request more compelling. However, it can be daunting to accurately measure marketing ROI, because marketers often work through multiple online and offline channels, with countless metrics to keep track of. Analytics tools like Google Analytics are great for establishing a baseline of your current performance, and subsequently tracking everything you need to calculate ROI. In conjunction with ROI, it’s important to consider your business’s customer lifetime value (CLV); this essential metric can tell you whether you should be spending more on customer acquisition, or if the money could be better spent in other marketing activities. We use the analogous Google Data Studio to build custom-made, interactive dashboards to report on these results in a clear, intuitive (and more importantly, persuasive!) manner.
Following these steps, you should hopefully have a convincing case for getting the marketing budget you need. But sometimes detailed spreadsheets, fancy dashboards and desperate pleas just aren’t compelling enough. Don’t lose hope! You can continue to prove the value of marketing to the business by getting creative with your limited budget.
Remember that sometimes, less is more; in this case, it can be helpful to sort those spinning marketing plates into a manageable stack that’s less likely to come crashing down on you. Instead of spending the little funds you have on all the marketing activities you’re juggling, consider cutting out all the frills and just focusing on your business’s core offering. Your limited budget should then go towards the marketing activities you know will be engaging and lead to conversions, whether it’s paid ads, landing pages or blogs. This strategy is simpler, more focussed and more cost-effective, and it will allow you to deliver a great campaign that can be used in future to make a case for increasing your marketing budget!