For the majority of businesses, Q1 of 2017 will be the time to focus on budget allocations for the next financial year.
PR and digital marketing budgets should form a natural part of this thinking, and if they haven’t up until now, perhaps now’s the time to find room for it in your next budget plan.
Importance of a marketing budget
It’s often the first area to be sliced when times get tough; and it’s usually the one that gets the most grief from stakeholders, even when the going is good (why should their end of year bonus be cut to pay for all that frilly marketing nonsense?).
However, take it away and unless you have a miracle product or service that simply sells itself, then stand by and watch your competition happily mop up your business and your future.
How to set a budget for marketing in 2017/18
If this is a new departure for you, or you want to refresh the approach you take, some of these ideas might be useful to you:
1. If you had a budget last year review what areas of spend performed the best and gave you the best return (if you didn’t have any forms of measurement in place to track this then perhaps that needs to be your number one priority for the coming year – otherwise, what’s it all for if you can’t measure it? One simple way to measure return on investment is by using website metrics, as Laura’s blog explains). In here, remember to measure time too, not just spend – hours can easily be a drain on staff time and so start to become expensive to the business.
2. Next, set out your business objectives for the next 12 months. Is there a clear strategy on what you want to achieve with some clear targets in place? If so, look at how your PR and marketing should best support this. Is it a consistent drip of activity to keep in front of your audience or are there one or two ad hoc initiatives which should give you the necessary results (perhaps that exhibition where you know you will be able to engage with the majority of your key customers – it may be expensive but as a one-off it will be worth it).