Get Your Marketing Spend Under Control
Marketing budgets are on the rise again, and it seems like, whether it’s a startup we are working with or an established enterprise, the common question across the board is “how should I allocate my marketing budget?” You were thinking that too, right?
There’s no one size fits all answer, but there are some simple guidelines to look out for and templates to track activities.
And of course, just because it’s the common question clients are asking, doesn’t mean people like the answer. Marketing expenses are climbing through the roof and make up a large part of overall revenue percentage.
To make things worse, marketing has received a bad rap in past years. It was seen as throwing money against the wall in the hope that something sticks. A previous lack of attribution tactics made many a CEO turn their back and look towards outbound sales where concrete numbers lie.
That isn’t the case anymore as digital marketing has the potential to track every action and create accountable ROI projections. This change is evidently displayed in Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey as marketing budgets have climbed three consecutive years, hitting on average, 12 percent of a business’ yearly revenue in 2016.
The percentages don’t do that number justice. Clearly stated, if a company is making $10 million in revenue that means $1.2 million is going directly to their marketing department! Businesses are taking marketing seriously, it’s recognized as the foundation for organizational growth, and you need a way to track those overhead costs.
The competition for online marketing is increasing
More and more businesses are channeling their marketing dollars to online marketing, television, and radio, the competition online is getting fierce. A recent CMO Survey Report showed that digital marketing spend is increasing over time, while spending on traditional advertising is falling.
Where are marketing expenses going?
A significant chunk is being devoted to marketing technology, and marketing teams are experiencing a tech overload because of the 5,000+ options on the market. Teams quickly end up with ten or more tools in their kit to help build SEO, maintain digital ad platforms, monitor social media, and perform automation tasks. But, nobody stops and asks, do we need this?
When you have double the amount of software platforms than employees in the marketing department, the answer is probably no, we don’t need it. Not surprisingly, the CMO technology spend is on track to surpass the CIO technology spend in 2017.
There are solutions in the landscape that combine multiple disciplines into one software and are much easier to manage. Consolidate tech options so that you don’t have unused tools sitting in the shed gathering dust and wasting money.
An easy example is HubSpot’s marketing automation that is the equivalent of LeadPages, HootSuite, MailChimp, SumoMe, Google Analytics, and at a minimum five other platforms.
Marketing technology overload is a real issue. Your marketing budget can be put to better use elsewhere.
Find alignment with your goals
Deciding where to spend and how much to spend is directly tied to your SMART marketing goals. Have you determined what you’re trying to accomplish? Your expenses will fluctuate based on your needs:
- Lead generation or lead conversion?
- New product launch or established brand building?
- Website makeover or full-blown redesign?
If you organize expenses based on priorities, you’ll be able to create accurate predictions on what it will take to be successful. It will become painfully apparent that your $1,000 monthly budget isn’t going to grow your revenue by 1000%. So, you have a chance to adjust and find a reasonable middle ground that won’t let down stakeholders.
Marketing budget templates to manage just about everything
We’ve compiled eight free budget spreadsheets to help businesses manage their marketing spend. It takes all the intricate moving parts and puts them into an easy to use kit. All eight worksheets give expense breakdowns by month, quarter, and year.
Each marketing channel has a budget template for their activities.
- Overall Marketing
- Product Marketing
- Content Creation
- Digital Advertising
- Public Relations
- Branding & Creative
- Website Redesign
- Event Planning
1. Overall Marketing Budget Template
A high-level view of your marketing spend, the overall marketing budget provides an executive summary that is easily presentable to your executive suite. It’s the aggregate view of specific marketing departments and the activities that drive them. This big picture template allows you to forecast upcoming budgets by taking a step back to see the master plan.
The cumulative template is the point where you can aggregate the results from the other seven models in the bundle and see all of your expenses rolled up into one location.
2. Product Marketing Budget Template
This spreadsheet directs you gradually through the individual steps required to complete a successful product launch budget. It covers multiple touch points including product and market fit tasks like paid research, competitive analysis, and focus groups. It further dives into product testing (user testing sessions and testing software), product release (management, launch event, advertising, and public relations), and content creation.
Product launch expenses can add up, so it’s important to track where your money is going to increase the likelihood your launch is a success.
3. Content Budget Template
This budget is needed for building and supporting content marketing projects. As most marketers know, content marketing can include an enormous range of activities which vary between audience interests. Some businesses see greater success in creating short videos made by internal teams while others like to outsource their entire content writing factory to freelancers and agencies.
The content marketing budget template is designed to account for every scenario. Whether it be a product-based organization or a service-based organization, a B2B business or B2C business, and everything in between.
Some of the listed expenses will need to be customized to fit your particular situation, so you can right-click the row where you want to add another line and click the ‘insert row’ option, or simply delete the line items that don’t apply. If you are planning on adding new expenses, be sure to copy the ‘SUM’ equations for each respective column to keep your totals accurate.
An example of required customization is we use HubSpot’s automation platform which would consolidate our need of separate lines for marketing automation, analytics, blogging, and landing pages into one expense! These can be quickly deleted or altered.
4. Digital Advertising Budget Template
The digital advertising template is another budget spreadsheet that can need adaptation. There are hundreds, if not thousands of digital advertising opportunities. On average people use Google Adwords, social media ads, affiliate ads, and remarketing campaigns.
Additionally, there are a large number of businesses that allow you to pay on a CPM basis for digital coverage on their website. These are usually local listserves, media stations, influencers, and industry publications. If you are using targeted, one-off digital advertisers they will have to be added to the spreadsheet.
Measuring the ROI of your digital advertising programs is a necessity to scale your paid media channels. This template is the perfect way to monitor monthly ad spend and critical metrics. It will assist in determining ROI based on leads generated versus money spent.
5. Public Relations Budget Template
Track everything from your latest press release to monitoring your media relations budget (dinners get expensive you know!) There’s a lot more to public relations than meets the eye and it can easily get out of hand. With the right story engine, media coverage is amazingly scalable, but it will blow out your budget if you aren’t careful.
Don’t leave money on the table. Guarantee you’re considering all of your company’s public relations spending.
6. Branding & Creative Budget Template
Branding and creative work are often considered to be ‘fluffy’ practices because their value is mostly intangible. That doesn’t mean you can skimp on high-quality design work, imagery, videos, and anything in between.
There are powerful tools required to get these creative assets just right and with power comes a price tag. Did you know that one of the largest expenses overlooked within creative departments is storing digital assets? It’s accounting for line items like this that will give you the most benefit from these budgets.
You’ve got to stay up to date on the cutting edge software, hardware, and digital equipment to make an impact. These bills all build up. Not to mention that premium assets like icons and custom photos also eat away at resources even with a smaller price tag.
7. Website Redesign Budget Template
Budgeting for a website redesign is one of the hardest challenges for marketers. It happens so infrequently, and there are infinite options for design, functionality, and size that by the time it’s needed again, most teams have forgotten how to prepare properly.
While we’ve added the website redesign budget to this kit, it’s absolutely a beast of another nature. With many moving parts and underestimated goals a website redesign deserved a separate individual guide, as well.
The site redesign spreadsheet is the perfect place to start your plans and manage costs. It’s hard to tell when a redesign is needed. However, this isn’t an ‘if it ain’t broke don’t fix it’ situation. The average company site gets a facelift every two and a half years.
User preferences and Google algorithms are constantly changing, so you have to stay ahead of the curve. Take a look at this recent report to see how your organization stacks up against the competition.
8. Event Budget Template
Setting up an event is relatively straightforward, but it’s the little details that trip people up.
It’s like when you leave for a vacation and your an hour into your drive to that cottage on the coast when you realize you forgot the phone charger, the toothpaste, and your underwear. Yeah, you can stop at the store and buy more, although it would be a lot more convenient and a lot less expensive to just remember it all in the first place.
That’s like planning an event. You’ve got a decent amount of apparent yet miscellaneous supplies that can be easily left behind. The event budget template takes into account things like seating arrangements, audio controls, parking, name tags, writing utensils, refreshments, and much more.
Get Your Marketing Budget Templates
Each marketing channel has its budgeting nuances that dictate whether you’re getting the best ROI. Don’t let marketing expenses run wild while you wait until the end of the quarter – or worse, the end of the year – to realize your campaigns aren’t successful.
Grab your free copies of each spreadsheet and look like a champion in your next executive meeting. Download them now so I don’t have to say, “I told you so.”
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