Setting a marketing budget

Louise Barrett of Media Matters.
Louise Barrett of Media Matters.
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If January is the time you start to consider budgets for the next financial year, will you be including an allocation for PR and marketing?

It’s a critical part of any business looking to grow over the next 12 months and, according to the experts, you should be setting aside anywhere between five and 10 per cent of your annual turnover (gross) to do it properly.

If you are planning on setting a marketing budget for 2017/18 you might find some of these pointers useful:

Review last year’s performance – if you spent in this area last year, look at where you got your best ROI.

Hopefully you have metrics in place to help you measure (Google Analytics for your website, for instance).

Measure the cost in staff time too; some activities could be a major drain on hours and so not very cost effective.

Next, assess your objectives for the year.

If you know what you want to achieve, set some targets, and look at how PR and marketing can support you to meet this.

It might be a consistent drip of activity or an ad hoc initiative – being constantly in front of your audience is essential or that one-off exhibition might be expensive but all your customers will be there so it will be worth it.

Check your digital presence.

As you will be aware, the world of digital changes regularly which means you run the risk of becoming out of date very quickly.

Google listings and reviews, SEO practices and social media advertising are areas you should be making a priority this year.

Have a plan – activity needs to be planned way in advance to get maximum benefit from it.

Working up campaigns around some of your key objectives allows you to build compelling and meaningful activity.

Setting a budget is just the start – you need to check it is being effective across the year.

Make sure it is closely managed and results are properly scrutinised and measured.

Repeat or develop the best performing activities and learn from and revisit those that don’t work quite as well.

Your audience is ever changing, as is the world they operate in, so your marketing has to do the same.