Analyzing Internal Resources to Determine Your Annual Budget

It’s that time of year again… Budget Time! We know, we know… we’re marketers too. Annual budget planning is not our favorite thing either. But, we are buckling down and taking a long, hard look at the numbers to make sure that we are prepared as we approach the coming year. Since we’re getting a head start on the budget train, we thought we’d share a few of our tips and tricks to help you with your budget journey. This is the 1st in a 3 part series on annual budgeting strategies for a marketing department.

There are 3 main resources that marketing leaders need to evaluate as they begin the 2015 “Adventure in Budgeting.” In this article, we will explore the 1st area of focus, “Talent,” to evaluate your current team and identify expertise gaps and performance scope expectations.


The #1 resource in our book is Talent… more appropriately, People. The content developers and graphic designers, marketing mavens and digital specialists… these are the people who keep the Distribion marketing machine running. And the vast majority of what we can accomplish in 2015 depends on the people who will be making it happen!

So we have to ask ourselves a few questions about the people on our team…

1 & 2 | How is your team spending their time? How would you like your team to spend their time?

Let me break it down for you… there are only so many hours in a week, and there are only so many people on your team. Whether you have 2 people or 200 in any department, they have a finite amount of time and energy that they can devote to projects. It’s your job as their leader to understand how much time each project takes and predict how many projects can be completed with your current resources. So, these two questions go hand in hand, and you will know best which one is easiest for you to start with.

In order to evaluate this, we make pie charts! We made a list of how each member would ideally spend their time (by week/month/quarter… whichever makes the most sense for your team). Here is an example of how our graphic designer’s time is being spent currently vs. the ideal time allotment.

How Is Your Team Budgeting Their Time?

Once you determine this for each team member, you need to establish concrete, actionable initiatives to start moving your team members toward spending their time most productively. In the case above, you can see that our (fictitious) graphic designer is spending much more time on design than we would like, and spending almost no time on training and innovation/inspiration. What can we do about that? Here are a few questions you might ask in this scenario:

  • Evaluate design process to determine number of revisions involved – is a lack of explanation slowing down the process?
  • Establish training metrics – what new techniques is each person expected to learn each month/quarter?
  • Set aside time for group innovation and collaboration
  • Evaluate your expectation: is the amount of content we expect to create equal to the amount of content our team can create, based on the size of the department?

This last question leads us into our next point…

3 | What goals are attainable with your current team?

Now that you’ve established how much time you want your team to spend on each part of their job, start working out how long (approximately, of course!) it takes a team member to accomplish a task. 10 hours for an email design? 6 hours for a blog? 2 hours per week for lead maintenance… or 10? Lay it all out (Excel is your best friend here!), do the math and see if your numbers are matching up.  Can your graphic designer complete 8 email campaigns a month if they take 10 hours each? Not if you want him to spend only 25% of his time on email designs.

After putting this all on paper, you can really see what your department can accomplish realistically.

4 | Are additional team members needed?

As we move into the next sections in our budgeting quest, this will be a question to keep in mind. You can’t answer it quite yet, but we will come back to it after we evaluate a few more items. Join us next week for the second article in our series where we tackle the “what.” What’s the what you ask? Come back soon to find out!

Note: Every department and leader is different. For example, you may find it helpful to evaluate what types of content you want to create for the upcoming year, and then work on your team’s time allotment based on that assessment. These are just tips to help you get the process started.  And note that these numbers will change… maybe a lot! And all of these questions go hand-in-hand, so you’ll be doing a bit of mind-multi-tasking during the entire process. Most importantly… just breathe and remember that it will all be worth it when you have your plan in place for 2015.



About The Author

Courtney Todd brings over ten years marketing and communications experience to her role at Distribion. She specializes in B2B marketing and has worked in a range of industries including technology, luxury furniture manufacturing and healthcare. She holds an MFA from Columbia University in New York and a BA from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Connect with Courtney on LinkedIn and Twitter.