3 Steps to a Successful Marketing Budget Planning Session

August 23, 2016

Procrastinating next year’s marketing budget? It might be just a matter of time before you’re waist-deep in numbers, spreadsheets, and marketing plans. 

If the thought of creating a marketing budget fills you with dread— buck up. Planning your marketing budget is the best way to ensure that you have the funds to turn your inbound marketing vision into reality. 

At Hivehouse Digital, we’ve helped clients succeed in netting a return on investment for their marketing budget, get their data in order for a marketing budget, and even get approval for their marketing budget. You could say we’re big believers in utilizing the marketing budget as a foundation for your annual marketing goals. 

Convinced a marketing budget is a must? Good, because we’re here to make the process as painless as possible. Here are 3 steps that’ll ensure your marketing budget planning session is a raging success.  

1) Make Your Goals SMART

By now the entire business world knows what SMART goals are: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timebound. And for good reason— they work. A marketing director should have goals for their marketing plans, but unless their goals are specific, measurable, and attainable, it’s unlikely they’ll be successful. 

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.



2) Gather Key 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 – means aligning those resources with your company’s goals. 

  • Time— Marketing activities like writing quality content, crafting strong landing pages, and analyzing key marketing data are time-consuming, but vital parts of creating a marketing budget that aligns with your company’s goals. While some marketing activities will actually cost money, it’s likely that time will be your most valuable resource. Be sure to not fill your budget out with activities that you won’t have the time to execute. 
  • Talent— In this case, “talent” refers to the people on your team who have an affinity for marketing. Does your current roster have the capacity and expertise to do the work that’s required to launch your marketing strategy?  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 your current employees have the ability to deliver well-written, in-depth, optimized content consistently? (If not, we can help.)
  • 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 offer 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. Identifying which technology you’ll need to accomplish your marketing goals can help you work smarter and not harder. 

3) Start Budgeting

Once you have your goals and the necessary resources outlined, it’s time to start filling out your budget. 

You can begin by listing the marketing activities that accomplish your marketing goals and their associated costs. You may find you can’t afford all you want to do (you’re definitely not alone in this), but SMART goals 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 budget throughout the year so that you can create an even better one next year.

Building a marketing budget may be daunting at first, but when executed properly it can make all of your marketing activities for the upcoming year more focused, measured, and successful. Sounds like a good new year’s resolution to us. 

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This article was updated on 11/29/2022.