5 Questions to Ask When Planning a Marketing Budget

laptop with three one dollar bills on the keyboard
Written By: Carisa Peters

Why do I need a marketing budget? Can’t I just decide as I go?

You could, but planning ahead allows you the opportunity to compare marketing packages from numerous agencies and find the one that best represents your brand and values to most people for the smallest investment. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to gather new leads and convert them to loyal customers.

What needs am I trying to fill? What is the goal of this marketing campaign?

The standard goals of a marketing campaign are to generate new leads, increase brand awareness or educate a new demographic about the services you provide. All three of these examples share a common interest in expanding your customers or supporters to increase sales or donations but should be executed differently. Having a strong, measurable goal is essential in planning and tracking the success of your campaign. Your goals will help you determine where your money should go.

Who are my competitors, and what are they doing?

When it comes to marketing, there’s one common goal shared by the creative forces behind every ad campaign.

“How do I make my ad stand out more than their ad?”

In order to accomplish that goal, you must have an awareness of what your competition is putting in front of your potential new customers. Knowing where your competitor’s ads will be displayed and with what frequency will allow you to estimate how much they are allocating to their marketing budget. With this information, you can “Market Smarter,” explore using alternate channels to reach untapped markets and make the most of your marketing dollars.

What do I need to include in my budget?

  • Print & broadcast advertising (newspaper/radio/television)
  • Design & print costs for all printed materials (newsletters, brochures, press releases, direct mail)
  • Website development (homepage, calendar, and content updates)
  • Public relations (social media management, blog content, email communications)
  • Trade shows (table covers, banners, handouts, promo items)
  • Other special events (business anniversary, fundraising events, community outreach).

How do I divide my funds across the projects?

It is usually easier to begin with a base amount for the entire marketing budget. Then, work backward dividing that figure into the subcategories outlined above. For an annual budget, you will want to assign an amount for each individual event. Then, divide it into the above categories. I encourage you to give priority to the projects that give you the most exposure and have proven to be the most successful in the past. You can also consult with experts at a marketing agency to make sure you’ve made the smartest plan. They will help you determine the correct costs associated with your needs in order to establish the most accurate budget.

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