Can you imagine having an unlimited marketing budget? It would be impossible to fail, and you could finally do everything you and your team have ever dreamed about.
Sadly, that's not likely to happen. Most marketing leaders fight tooth and nail to scrape together every extra dollar available for their marketing budgets.
Sound all too familiar?
No matter how big or small your budget is, what matters is how you spend it. So how can you earn the highest ROI and maximum impact with every dollar you invest in marketing?
More money, more problems
There are a few common problems that every marketing leader faces when it comes to managing their budget. Even if your budget isn't massive, you've probably encountered one or more of these challenges. Here are some of the common problems with your marketing budget.
You're wasting most of it
John Wanamaker famously said, "Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half."
I think that's an understatement. Most of your marketing dollars are being wasted, whether you realize it or not. In marketing, some degree of waste is inevitable. After all, no one knows what will work, and the majority of marketing is trying new things to see what will.
The problem is that we often don't spend enough effort trying to identify, measure, and reduce the amount of money we throw away every single day. The larger your budget, the more various activities you're investing in. This introduces complexity, making it harder to measure the effectiveness of your spend and more challenging to identify where waste is happening.
Before requesting more budget, ask yourself, "How can we stop wasting what we already have?" The first step is to realize that waste is happening and then go looking for it.
Your budget is never right
Putting together a marketing budget is like trying to guess how many jelly beans are in a jar -- your guess is as good as any, and you're most definitely completely wrong.
Don't stress about it. Acknowledge that how you allocate the money will change. Be prepared to make real-time decisions about where to cut and where to double down. The key to maximizing your budget is spending it a bit at a time and making real-time judgments about where it will have the biggest impact. A marketing budget becomes obsolete the minute it gets approved.
This is a challenge for most marketing leaders because they lack visibility into the effectiveness of their marketing investments. Marketing attribution makes it even more complicated to gain clarity into what's working.
Understanding the return from any tactic, channel, or investment is key to getting the most bang for your buck -- and you must be able to do so with speed and accuracy.
Your assumptions are wrong
It's shocking how often marketing organizations stick to the same approach over long periods. Marketing is constantly changing every single day. What worked yesterday won't work tomorrow. You should constantly be reevaluating your approach, your tactics, and where you invest your budget. Just because you've always done things one way doesn't mean you should continue down that path.
There's a difference between squeezing every last drop out of the orange and finding a bigger, juicier orange. Work smarter, not harder, and stop assuming that the traditional or historical approach is the most effective one.
You can't budget for success, right?
Fortunately, success in marketing isn't correlated with the size of your budget. There's no question that having more money to spend on marketing gives you more options.
But maybe what matters most is how you spend your budget to have the biggest impact in the shortest amount of time?
I don't know what you think, but perhaps you don't even need more money to get better results.
Maybe you just need to take a renewed look at how and where you're investing your market budget instead?