3 Steps to a Successful Marketing Budget Planning Session

August 23, 2016

If you’re not already well into next year’s marketing plan budget setting sessions, it’s probably just a matter of time before you’ll be eyeball deep in numbers.

Does the thought of creating a budget fills you with dread? Buck up.  Your marketing plan budget is the best way to ensure that you have the funds to turn your inbound marketing vision into reality. Planning is the key to success, even if it’s planning your planning session!

Ok, you’re convinced— a marketing budget is a must. We’re here to make the process as painless as possible.  Here are the factors that will ensure that your marketing budget planning session is a raging success.  

1) SMART Goals Are…Smart!

By now the entire business world knows what SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound. Every marketing director has goals for their marketing plans, but unless your goals are specific, measurable, and attainable, you won’t know what you’re really aiming for.

We ask all of our clients to create quarterly SMART goals because not only do they help you focus your efforts, they help you measure what does and doesn’t work as you move along.

If you use HubSpot, check out the Goals app that helps you incorporate SMART goals into your planning.

Smart Goals

2) Resources: Time, Talent, and Technology

Marketing takes three things: time, talent, and technology. Marketing effectively and strategically – the kind of marketing that truly provides incredible results – takes even more time, talent, and technology

  • Time— Creating and implementing a great marketing strategy will take time. Writing quality content, crafting strong landing pages, and analyzing your site’s SEO success is time-consuming, but a vital part of a compelling marketing program. Testing your page performance and tweaking it until you get the results you seek is another important— but lengthy— process that will improve your conversion rates. 
  • Talent— In this case, “talent” refers to the people on your team who have an affinity for marketing. Does your current talent roster have the capacity to do the work that’s required to launch your marketing strategy? If they’re overloaded, the quality of work will suffer.

    For example, your marketing plan might include something like writing long-form content such as a white paper or case study, as well as writing six to 12 blog posts a month. Do you have the employee capacity (and do your staff members have the writing chops) to consistently deliver well-written, in-depth, optimized content?

  • Technology— To maximize your time and your talent, it’s best to invest in the right technology. Tools such as HubSpot marketing automation software will help you accomplish everything you want and offers the data, analytics, and measurements you need to ensure that your strategy is on track. Good technology will automate your processes, including organizing email workflows and scheduling blog posts, and it will also help you conduct pivotal keyword research to determine which phrases will attract the most traffic to your site.

3) Budget

You have your goals and you know where you need to shore up resources. Now it’s time to start playing with numbers. Let the budgeting begin!

You may find you can’t afford all you want to do (you’re definitely not alone in this), but the SMART goals based on your sales funnel will help you define your plan and identify what to cut back on and what to keep.

Most importantly, you’ll have better metrics and key performance indicators to help you evaluate your plan and your budget throughout the year, so that you can create an even better one next year.