No matter when they’re planning, marketers always need to be budget-conscious. When a company invests money into marketing, it needs to ensure it’s getting a return on that investment. The more efficient the spend, the greater potential for big returns.
To this end, marketing professionals should think carefully about where they invest the company's budget. At the heart of these considerations is the idea of the company's purpose and direction. Who is the core audience? What's the best way to reach out to them? How much time do we have to work with before we see results? These are the things that should guide a company's marketing department to plan for more efficient spending.
These skilled professionals from Ad Age Collective have all had to make the tough decisions with their marketing budgets before, and below they share some of the most important things they consider before spending a single dollar of their money.
1. Customer mindset and needs
Ensure the value of the marketing strategy includes the mindset of your customers/clients, what their needs are now and how to provide value. The key is to build relationships by contributing something in your client’s best interests -- not destroying them by communicating something that isn’t relevant. This way, the client sees the value in the marketing strategy, and you showcase agility and adaptability. - Oz Etzioni, Clinch
2. Alignment with brand values
Marketing spend needs to first and foremost align with your brand values. Don't chase the shiny red object if it is not in line with what you and your customers expect from your brand. And second, make sure you are looking at where your customers are today. Behaviors often shift and the appetite for brand messages can change quickly. Always listen first and spend second. - Maggie O'Neill, Peppercomm
3. Reaching the right audience
The question I'd ask myself is, "Am I reaching the right audience?" I believe that the most important thing is to speak to the people who will care about what you have to offer. So, when choosing a platform to market to, choose it carefully and avoid spaces that are popular but don't involve your customers directly. - Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
4. Return on investment
Every activity needs to be tied to ROI. Marketers know the self-evident truth -- many initiatives are about building long-term profitable relationships but don't have a direct tie to revenue. Nevertheless, the C-suite needs to see that you understand their language and that language is numbers. Quantify your spend, define success and show that you have a ROI in mind, and the dollars will flow. - Patrick Ward, Rootstrap
5. Client's timeline for performance
Particularly in a time like the present, when priorities are shifting by the day, you must understand the client's timeline for performance. Some marketing dollars are more effectively deployed for decisions made right now. Other marketing dollars are investments in the long term. Determine how long the executives have given the marketing team to get "this result," then build your plan and budget. - Moira Vetter, Modo Modo Agency
6. Marketing measurements
Not every marketing activity is easily measurable, but it is sure hard to justify scaling any marketing program that lacks credible measurement, not to mention just doing it in the first place. It is also hard to get credit for a marketing program without good measurement. Ultimately, if you want to succeed in marketing and in driving your business, you need a yardstick. - Dan Beltramo, Onclusive (formerly AirPR)
7. Impact on ideal customer profile prospects
Focus is key to ensuring precious marketing dollars have an impact. I’m obsessed with making sure every dollar we spend hits prospects in our in-market ideal customer profile (IICP) where they’re actively looking to buy. Good segmentation and orchestration capabilities can ensure that, whether it’s email, direct mail, programmatic advertising or paid social, your budget only goes to IICP accounts. - Latane Conant, 6sense
8. Building engagement and connection
Every piece of content created needs to engage and connect, and every dollar spent needs to be evaluated against that goal. That includes both the content as well as the channel execution. You may not be able to tie every dollar back to a specific ROI, but you can measure if your spend provides the direction, connection and engagement that you are trying to achieve with your campaign. - Rich Honiball, Navy Exchange Service Command