In recent years, there has been a definite shift in marketing strategy away from traditional methods. However, with businesses facing rising operating costs and more discerning customers, a solid marketing plan is crucial for survival.
Yet, many companies don’t have a marketing plan or operational budget to zero in on opportunities and effectively reach their consumers. Without one, they struggle to optimize their marketing dollars and often spend more in the long run.
What is in a Marketing Budget?
A marketing budget consists of a planned, realistic dollar amount designated within a precise marketing strategy built on in-depth research and analysis. It includes:
● Website creation and updates
● SEO strategy
● Blogs and press releases
● Print marketing (flyers, brochures, mail promos, business cards)
● Radio advertising
● Social media
● Tradeshows and events
● Free samples and giveaways
● Corporate sponsorship
● Community engagement and donation
A well-organized company will have a detailed marketing plan broken down by the week, month, and year. But, the marketing plan is only as good as accurately budgeting the costs associated with each type of marketing.
Why is a Marketing Budget Important?
Each marketing type comes with a price range—some more affordable than others— and they are often used in conjunction with each other depending on the promotion.
Yet, without a budgeted marketing plan, businesses flounder with rushed deadlines, missed opportunities, and more considerable expenses, all of which add up at the end of the year. Worse is when business owners have misconceived expectations and don’t value marketing services as they should.
With proper research into cost, availability, and optimal advertising periods, owners can set aside adequate funds and strategize to optimize every dollar they spend.
The Value of Marketing
It is relatively easy to research the cost of marketing. You can ask for quotes and specific pricing on marketing materials and services with a few phone calls. You can even get competitive quotes from several providers. And— it is well worth your time.
Most business owners want to know that the money they spend on marketing will generate returns on their investment. While nothing is guaranteed, getting the best services you can afford, with a careful plan in place, has far better chances of success than the “willy-nilly” panicked last-minute version.
In addition, having expert advice, service, and materials speaks to the quality of your brand to your end consumer. You have little time to attract and retain a potential customer’s attention, so every touchpoint needs to have the most significant impact. Otherwise, you’ve spent your money on a flop.
The Reality of Marketing Budgets
Spending must be realistic and effective whether you have an annual marketing budget of one thousand or ten thousand dollars. If you guess that, for example, professional social media marketing should cost $100 monthly, you may quickly discover you need to brush up on creating posts yourself. Yet, business owners can’t do all the tasks themselves and must get actual numbers to budget within.
So, if you want all the bells and whistles, you better budget for them. For example, you can’t expect a high-end website and spend only peanuts.
Similarly, professional social media marketing includes videography, copywriting, photography, and search engine optimization(SEO) targeting for the best reach— not to mention behind-the-scenes research.
Set realistic budgets based on your research, not on the offer you hope they will accept. The more respect you give to marketing professionals, the more creative and easygoing the process will be.
Once you have an established marketing plan and budget, you can use this information to analyze sales information to see which method was the most successful.
Marketing Your Business in Central Alberta
Whether starting a new business or scaling an existing company, you will need a marketing plan, which is only one part of a complete business plan.
If you need guidance on what steps to take, look no further than the Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN). Equipped with provincial and federal partners, mentors, and resources, they help entrepreneurs strategize and develop their businesses in Central Alberta.
Whether you need consultation, funding information, or a structured program like the Catalyst Incubator program, CARIN has the friendly and professional support you need.
For more information or to register, please contact CARIN online.