5 Steps to a Complete Marketing Budget Image Header

Download the 2016 Marketing Budget Template here.

How was your year in marketing? Did you accomplish everything you wanted? Did you bring in leads for your sales team? Did you create inspiring content? Are there areas where you can improve?

As this year comes to a close, the time for reflection begins just as the process of planning ahead for the New Year quickly approaches. With that in mind, the time has come to decide on how you will spend next year, and in particular, your marketing budget. Organizing your entire marketing strategy for the next twelve months can be a daunting task, but if you plan ahead, you can reach even your most ambitious goals.

But where do you start? We’ve created a five-step process to guide you through your adventure in budgeting, and get you home in time to catch the fireworks show.

1) Analyze Your Goals

As you begin planning your 2016 marketing budget, it’s important to think about your long-term strategies—not only for your campaign, but for your brand as a whole, and how you will allocate funds in areas that best support your goals.

2) Don’t Limit Yourself

You have to remember that a complete campaign involves a number of marketing mediums. It is crucial to consider every possible arena; we would never encourage you to blow your whole marketing budget on a single channel. Instead, your digital campaigns should go hand-in-hand with your efforts in other, more traditional channels. We will examine some of the top online advertising channels later for you to consider for your own brand.

3) Get Grounded – Know Your Base

Now that you have your goals in mind and are open to creating a multi-channel marketing strategy, it is time (if you haven’t already) to get to know your base figures. Before you start planning, you should accurately recognize the performance of your campaigns. How will you ever know if your marketing dollars are making a difference if you don’t know where you started?

We use UTM parameters that communicate with Salesforce and combine the data we get from Google Analytics to better understand how our campaigns are performing and how many leads are being brought in directly through marketing initiatives. Bryan with Kissmetrics breaks down how you can easily implement UTM parameters and understand where your traffic is coming from online.

4) Recognize Strengths of Each Marketing Channel

Before you spend a dollar online, it is important to understand the strengths of each marketing channel so that you can align your goals with the right medium. As part of a complete marketing mix, you should evaluate every channel. To help you consider the non-traditional digital options you may not be as familiar with, here are the strengths for social media, display, email, search and mobile marketing channels.

Social Media Marketing

Easily engage with your customers – both in good times and in bad. Social media can be an ideal way to build your SEO by engaging with customers you are targeting with conversations related to your brand. Likewise, social media can benefit your brand as a customer service portal to put out fires as they arise.

Here is our list of eight important social media KPIs to measure when you start budgeting.


Display Advertising

Interested in reaching consumers on websites where they frequently spend time? Display marketing can target specific customers by showing branded content from text or video advertising on certain websites. Yet, display marketing can be easily overlooked; it’s now second nature for customers to see display marketing all over their favorite websites and even mobile applications, which makes it harder as a marketer to create a message that will capture the attention of the viewer. Consider display remarketing to target potential customers who have visited your website but left without converting for a more personalized consumer experience.

Email Marketing

Consider this fact: in a study done by eMarketer, email represented 17% of digital marketing spending in 2015, but tallied 24% of the revenue share, according to US retail professionals. By incorporating email into the marketing mix, brands are able to reach a more targeted audience through personalized, data-driven campaigns.

Click on the link below to access “Trends in Digital Retail” from eMarketer with a side-by-side comparison of corporate marketing spending vs. revenue share brought in based on digital channels.

Digital Marketing Spending Vs Revenue Share

Search Marketing

Bidding on particular keywords related to your brand or attributes of your customers on search engines can be an efficient way to increase your brand reach. But beware; paid search campaigns can get expensive, especially when bidding on keywords that are popular within a specific industry.  Refine your keywords so you don’t waste ad dollars on a broad topic that won’t boost the sales dial.

Advertising on Mobile

Brand spending for mobile marketing is projected to surpass $100 billion in 2016 and account for over 50% of the digital market. – eMarketer

One of the strengths of mobile marketing is its ability to gain the attention of a younger audience and as a relatively new channel brands are able to stand out. Macy’s effectively used mobile marketing to attract 25-54 year old female shoppers with innovative marketing concepts in design and geotagging.

Watch the two minute video below to see how Macy’s incorporated mobile strategy into their multi-channel marketing mix.

5) Put Pen to Paper

By now you have an idea of where you would like to spend your budget, and are ready to put pen to paper. To get you started, we’ve created a mock budget for you to use as a template for your own 2016 planning. The spreadsheet not only includes the distribution of advertising dollars, but also costs associated with online content creation, events, technology and talent. Formulas have been calculated, but you’ll need to add in your own content, pricing, hours needed to create, distribution outlets, etc. to truly make it work for you. These are completely fictional numbers for you to replace with your organization’s actual information.

2016 Marketing Budget Template

After the Ball Drops 

Never stop analyzing your campaign, so you are consistently monitoring your growth and setbacks. What contributes to the long term success of your brand online (and a bigger digital budget) will come down to whether your marketing efforts lead to accomplishing your goals. Establish a clear set of goals from the start, but remember that a savvy marketer adapts and adjusts to changing industry climates. And finally, don’t be afraid to reallocate portions of your budget as you learn what is working and what can be improved on to realize the expectations you set for 2016.



About the Author

Alex Navarro is a California-native who currently lives in Dallas, Texas with his fantastic wife. In the past, he’s been responsible for creating, developing and executing national brand awareness campaigns and has enjoyed developing personalized marketing and promotional plans. Alex studied advertising and marketing at Pepperdine University and has enjoyed working in the field ever since. He also loves meeting new people – connect with him on LinkedIn orTwitter.