Many businesses are currently facing frozen or reduced budgets right now. And even if you’re one of the lucky ones who has got sign-off for more spend this financial year, you’ll know it probably won’t stretch as far as it would have done 12 months ago.
Regardless of how much you have to play with, there are a few ways to make that money go further. From shuffling priorities to getting your performance measurement process nailed, we’ve explored the key overarching decisions to make…
First you need to ask yourself what exactly this year’s budget is for. Do you want to drive brand awareness and credibility? Generate pipeline? Really push sales? Put them in priority order and apportion spend accordingly – if you had the luxury of a bigger budget in the past and have plenty of leads as a result, you might want to cut down on awareness in favour of lead nurturing.
When you know why you’re carrying out marketing activities in the first place, it’s a lot easier to move on to the next stage: deciding what you should be spending your money on.
What’s the make-up of your budget? Will you home in on just one or two channels, or spread more thinly across multiple? These include:
- Owned media – such as your website, social channels, and search engine results
- Earned media – like digital PR, external organic search, reviews, social mentions, partnerships, and ambassadors
- Paid media – like pay per click, display ads, retargeting, paid influencers, affiliate marketing, and social media ads
Opt to focus on paid media, and you’ll need to bear in mind platform fees as well as campaign management if you outsource it. Owned media can involve a much lower cost (a monthly blog, say), a higher one (a new website), or a long-term investment (an SEO strategy). Even earned media will require some legwork. And all will need supporting content, which should play a key role in your budget.
It’s then a case of determining who’ll carry out the marketing activities. With wages rising and the struggle for talent still very real, it’s only natural to consider whether you should delay your hiring plans – or even halt them all together.
If you’re unsure, we recommend scoping out your requirements with an agency. This will help you figure out whether it’d be better to get these tasks done in-house or outsource. We wrote a dedicated blog on the pros and cons of both.
In the current climate, everyone’s focused on ROI. But you’ll know that proving this for your content isn’t so straightforward. That’s why it’s key to ensure your individual marketing strategies and assets fit together, linking with other pieces, and combining into a coherent overall game plan with KPIs to aim for and measure against.
Achieving X number of sales is one thing, but you’ll need to work backwards to things like website traffic and audience reach to really understand how something is performing. Think also about how you can ensure the right content gets in front of the right people – distribution will be just as key in determining your ‘how’.
And finally, when will you spend your budget? Will it be evenly over the year, or will you need to allow for spikes – perhaps top-loading at the start to prepare assets or saving for a bigger ad spend over key months?
If it’s the latter, it helps to establish a business-as-usual budget – accounting for consistent marketing from month to month, like social media management and regular blogs – as well as a pot for campaigns, like a whitepaper.
There’s a lot to think about to get your budget working smarter. If you need a helping hand – whether that’s making decisions on how to spend or with the actual marketing activities themselves – turn to Making You Content.
Our content creators, social media specialists and designers can help you maximise your budget for the year ahead. Get started by speaking to our team.