3 Tips for Rocking Your New Marketing Budget

April 15, 2016 Allocadia

3 Tips for Rocking Your New Marketing BudgetCoachella. Bonnaroo. Lolla. Warped Tour. Pitchfork. Electric Zoo. A fast-approaching summer music festival season means festival-goers everywhere are building their must-see schedule.

Choosing which music festival fits your music taste and your lifestyle – desert camping at Coachella or crowd surfing at Warped, anyone? – means proper preparation. To see as many bands as possible and not lose your friends in the crowd, don’t slack on your planning.

Same goes for getting started managing a marketing budget. Marketers in organizations of every size benefit from upfront planning and preparation when setting up their marketing budget. Follow these three foundational best practices and you’ll be rockin’ your budget in no time.

Organize Wisely

With dozens and dozens of bands to choose from at any given festival, there’s no way you can rush between multiple stages spread across a huge outdoor venue. And the reality is you’ll need chill time too after long hours of standing (because summer).

Some festival-goers organize their experience by staking out a single stage where their favorite band will play and staying put no matter the rest of the line-up. Other fans move around to multiple stages to follow all acts in a certain genre.

Building your marketing budget is similar. If a template isn’t handed down from finance, you’ll want to decide how to approach organizing the budget before you jump in. Here are the four most popular ways:

  • Region: Marketing programs and budgets are organized by specific geographies.
  • Product Line or Company Division: Spend is divided according to product, business unit or even individual brands.
  • Function: Budgets are structured based on functional areas of spend – like events, demand generation or public relations.
  • General Ledger, Cost Center or other Finance-Specific Structure: While this approach is easier to reconcile with financial systems, it’s not always ideal because broad accounting codes may be off-harmony with how marketers think about their activities.

Be a Strategic Spender

The hottest concert tickets don’t come cheap. It’s typically several hundred bucks just to get in. And with more cash needed for transportation, food and merch, it’s easy to max out your ATM card without realizing how much you’ve really spent.

Whether your organization is small or large, as a marketer you’re entrusted to wisely spending a good chunk of change. Just like deciding whether to splurge on a signed Lolla poster or a VIP ticket with A/C bathroom access, spend your marketing budget in alignment with your company’s strategic priorities.

It isn’t always easy to do, but here are two tips:

  • Identify a method of tagging spend according to one or more strategic priorities.
  • Find a way to filter by a variety of items – including objectives, start and end dates, or even campaigns – so you can easily produce reports.

With these in place, when your boss asks “So, what did we spend on upselling existing customers this year?” you’ll be singing the right tune.

Don’t Forget the Essentials

Any festival-goer knows planning to eat and drink is an absolute must. Water, granola bars, snacks and even meal-replacement shakes are essential for preventing dehydration.

For your marketing budget, planning for different currencies is essential. Even if your company doesn’t do business internationally, there’s a strong likelihood you’ll have vendors who invoice in a currency other than your home country’s.

Here’s how to avoid currency challenges:

  • Roll up everything to a single master currency (like U.S. dollars) so marketing leadership has a unified view.
  • Allow marketers to plan and budget in their local currency.
  • Ask the finance department to specify which exchange rates to use.

Get in rhythm with building your marketing budget by reading the Marketing Budget Basics quick guide.

Looking for a detailed playbook on the rest of the instructions your marketing budget should have come with, but didn’t? Download the full Your Marketing Budget: An Owners’ Manual.

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