Planning a marketing budget for the coming year is a crucial part of the strategic plan for businesses of all sizes. A well-thought-out budget is a guiding compass that helps a company make intelligent decisions and ensure that its resources are allocated in a way that delivers a return on its investments.
With the end of the year approaching, you are likely already thinking about next year’s budget. Here are seven tips to help you create a more robust marketing budget that’s tailored to your needs and objectives and to set the stage for success in 2024.
Review 2023’s Performance
Studying the past is the best place to start when looking toward the future. Take your data from the previous year and look at what the information tells you about your campaigns.
Pay attention to your campaign reporting data, but also make sure to look at the broader picture. Ask yourself a few questions:
By reviewing what’s happened in the past year, you can make more informed decisions about your marketing budget for the next year. That will help you create effective, attainable goals.
Assess Industry Trends
After you’ve sifted through the data from your own campaigns, it’s time to look at the bigger picture. Look at all the trends that developed in your industry that affected your business in the previous year and what you expect to happen next year.
For example, in 2020 and 2021 bank interest rates dropped low, and suddenly the housing market became a buyer’s market. Banks were fighting with one another over the same buyer. Throughout 2022 and 2023, interest rates started to climb to new heights and banks’ lending practices tightened.
To target those new consumers, it became crucial to drill deep and understand exactly who that person was so we could better target them. By assessing the data from campaigns during monthly reporting, we were able to help identify those trends in the moment. That helped us to pivot with our partners in the lending industry to focus more on home equity lines of credit and to tap into established homeowners as a top market.
Choose Your Goals And Objectives
You likely have an overarching, main priority goal that you’re always striving to achieve. That’s likely to remain unchanged from year to year. You also likely have at least a couple of smaller goals that may need some changes.
As you’re planning your 2024 marketing budget, it’s a good time to consider whether or not your buckets or priorities need adjusting. Fortunately, digital marketing is simple to change and pivot quickly!
To help decide if you need to update your goals, look at your data from last year and consider the trends going on in your industry at the moment. Compare that with your goals and objectives from the previous year and ask yourself, deep down, if you think anything will be changing in the next year. Set your goals based off of what is really happening and what is likely to happen — not necessarily what you wish would happen.
Review Your Channels
It’s important to take a holistic view of your marketing when you’re planning your budget for the next year. Marketing is about ROI and reaching benchmarks, so that means having an honest conversation with yourself about what channels are working and which ones aren’t.
Traditional marketing, like radio, television, and newspaper, is much different than digital because they can be harder to track results. That doesn’t mean that there’s no place for it in your marketing budget. In fact, you may have found that your radio campaigns worked remarkably well in the last year. If that’s the case, keep marketing that way!
If, however, you’ve found that some of your strategies haven’t been as effective (either traditional or digital), now is a good time to consider reallocating your budget to other areas. Organize your channels and look at how they performed in the last year so you can get an accurate, bird's eye view of your marketing.
Finalize Your Buckets
Knowing how you’re going to market is one thing, but knowing what products and services you’re going to market is just as important!
Your core buckets may or may not change from the previous year, but now is a crucial time to examine them and decide if they’re going to be your best driver for ROI. Ask yourself if there are any new initiatives in 2024 that you want to focus on. The focus for next year may be less on profitability and more on the need to promote more branding of your business.
Plan For The Unexpected
If we could predict the future, marketing would be a whole lot simpler. But the fact is that we have no way of knowing for sure what the next year will bring. However, we do know that there’s a good chance that something we didn’t plan for is going to happen, which is why it’s a great idea to plan for the unexpected.
You’ve likely experienced this in the past, where you’ve either gone over budget to compensate or you’ve come in on budget by pivoting and your marketing priority suffered. Neither situation is ideal! As you’re planning your 2024 marketing budget, it’s a good idea to add a cushion in your plan so you can proactively adjust when something unexpected happens.
Allocate By Channel
By now you should have a pretty good idea of the goals, benchmarks, trends, and channels that you want to market in the next year.
The last thing you want to consider when planning your marketing budget for 2024 is how you want to allocate your budget to different channels. If your radio campaigns have proven to be successful at driving ROI, then it’s something you want to keep doing! If, however, you’ve found that something like TV commercials has been lacking, now might be the time to consider increasing (or adding in) OTT within your budget in place of traditional TV.
Organize your entire budget by channel and seriously consider how well each performed in bringing you ROI (or meeting your benchmarks). If something isn’t working, you don’t need to remove it completely — you may simply need to adjust its allocation to get the most bang for your buck.
If you could use a hand in planning your 2024 marketing budget, we can help! Reach out to us today to find out how we can help you better utilize digital marketing to maximize your ROI.
Emily Wideman is a Regional Sales Manager for Federated Digital Solutions. Emily has over 20 years in media marketing as both a leader and a marketing consultant. She has experience in advertising sales, broadcast TV and radio as well as sales management. Her passion for helping local businesses solve their marketing challenges is what drives her. The marketing experience Emily brings to the digital world allows her to not only be a consultant on digital but also a consultant with all her clients marketing needs.