It’s budget time for many organisations: so how are you going to set yours? 

And how are you going to make sure you maximise it too?

We’re often asked: “How much should I spend on marketing?” and “What should my budget be?”

If you’re talking an individual project, or a defined programme for 3, 6 or even 12 months, then we can give you an accurate costing.  But these questions are typically more ‘general’… so, just how do you set your annual marketing budget?  And perhaps more importantly, how are you going to spend it?

And before you say… “Well, what I spend it on will dictate my budget”… that is one way to set a budget, but there are others:

Historic… simply implementing an increase on last year’s budget. This can work, if you were happy with your previous budget, but beware of falling into a rut with your activities… having the same budget makes it ‘easy’ to just do the same with it.

Competitive… assessing what your competitors spend and trying to match or outdo them.  However, your financial situations are different, your sales and marketing structures are probably different, and it’s more important to concentrate on whether your spend is working for you.

Activity… you can prepare and cost a plan of activity, and use that as the basis for negotiating your budget. It’s a tried and tested way of getting a budget, but remember: build in a contingency, as costs can rise; and build in flexibility too; you need to be able to react to business and market changes and you never know what opportunities may arise!

Revenue… another common method for setting your budget is defining it as a %age of sales turnover. According to Gartner Research, companies are now spending roughly 12% of annual revenue. Research proves organisations which allocate at least 10% of revenue to marketing are the most successful. Some corporates spend 20% or more and many smaller companies are abandoning the 10% ‘rule’ in favour of bigger budgets too.

Once you’ve set your budget… how can you make sure you maximise it?

With so many marketing tools and techniques available to you now, it’s important to spend your hard-won budget on the right activities:

  • What do you really need to achieve with your marketing?
  • Which products and services do you need to promote, and when / in what priority?
  • What techniques and messages will resonate best with your audiences and engage them?
  • How do you put a mix together which will give you the maximum, cumulative effect?
  • Which of the new methods are right for your business, and why?
  • Have you got the right internal resource… and which external experts will you be using?

And yes, we would ask that last question, wouldn’t we?  But it’s a valid one when considering your marketing costs.

Because, according to Forrester, more than 50% of all companies outsource some or all of their marketing activities; and Deloitte’s Global Outsourcing Survey tells us why:

  • 59% of companies outsource their marketing to maximise their budget…
  • … because outsourcing an entire marketing team typically costs less than having one full-time marketing professional on your staff (mmm… who’d have thought it?!)

Have all the ideas but don’t quite know the best way to get them out there? 

Our experts will work their magic to make sure your message is getting out there!


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