How to spend your marketing budget wisely

After planning and pitching for your latest marketing budget, all that’s left is to put pen to paper and decide upon how it’s spent.

With financial directors paying closer attention to budgets than ever before, it’s important to ensure your business department is pulling its weight, especially after resources have been allocated.

By this stage, you should have a strong grasp on the kinds of tactics and strategies you’ll be able to execute. Now, it’s just a matter of ensuring every penny is working its hardest to net you the most performance possible. Keep reading to find out how your marketing budget is best spent.

Trim the fat

In marketing, even the most well executed and researched campaigns and endeavours can miss their targets. Unfortunately, such things are difficult to give up; after spending hours researching, planning, and storyboarding your next high profile campaign, the very last thing you want to do is to admit defeat.

Sometimes, though, admitting defeat is the only way to truly progress with any marketing strategy. Whether it’s a paid ad that has underperformed, or a digital PR campaign that hasn’t received as much attention as you’d like, there comes a point where the decision must be made to abandon it.

There can be a real temptation to plough on through the adversity with inferior marketing tactics. Throwing more money into something that is inherently flawed, while it may give a slight initial performance uplift, isn’t the most optimal way of spending your new marketing budget. Instead, benchmark that performance against other marketing outputs, while weighing up the potential benefits that additional time or spend could bring. More often than not, you’ll find your time (and money) is better spent elsewhere.

Conduct performance and utilisation reviews

Just because you’ve made a strong case to your stakeholders or CFO for your budget, doesn’t mean that you should stop reviewing its utilisation every so often.

Doing this will not only provide greater visibility as to where more of your budget can be spent, but it will act as a natural check-in point for your teams to get together and collaboratively decide where more allocation is needed.

Usually, these reviews focus solely on performance. But, in order to prepare yourself for future budgetary discussions, it’s extremely valuable to know how much of a role your budget has played in acquiring that performance.

For example, with less budget, how sure can you be that your blog would have performed as well as it did in acquiring organic traffic this past quarter? Arguments and questions like these are tricky to answer, but not anymore.

Invest in your content

Content is ultimately what gives your marketing the substance that audiences connect with. Therefore, it should place quite highly on your priorities.

However, that isn’t to say that content is the only priority you should have. Paid ads for example are needed to attract a wider set of users to your site. But, what happens when your ads are working correctly, but your content isn’t?

Just as a chain is only as strong as its weakest link, your marketing efforts are only as effective as your content. Paying thousands on PPC advertising and receiving loads of leads is a great position to be in, but only if you can convert those leads effectively.

The same goes for SEO and digital PR – why bother investing loads of time in attracting users to your site through link building, if your site content doesn’t serve its purpose in securing a conversion?

To truly ensure your budget is spent wisely, spend some time familiarising yourself with your site content, before optimising it to put your best foot forward.

Prioritise cross-channel collaboration

Collaborative marketing doesn’t just streamline your entire marketing process; it ensures each section is working in tandem, and thus cuts down on any potential waste across all channels.

Partnering up

These days, with substantial changes in search engines such as Google’s Helpful Content Update, SEO and content marketing are a dynamic duo.

No longer are SEO strategies completely led by keyword optimisation. The very best approach blends high quality, personable content with keen technical optimisation to pave the way for higher search rankings and traffic. By ensuring your content marketing and SEO efforts are well aligned, you increase the potential of your digital marketing tenfold by allowing both to focus on a conjoined goal.

Cohesive narratives

Content and digital PR are what helps tell the story of your brand. By ensuring both efforts are in sync, you can make this narrative much more consistent.

For example, while pitching a story, having a clear line from your content to your journalist’s inbox goes a long way in securing a link. In a perfect world, your PR team would whet the whistle by teasing out key findings from a piece of research you’ve undertaken, while your content team develops the rest of the research in a way that keeps reader’s attention and convincingly secures that all too precious backlink.

Next-level data

When combining the insights from SEO and PPC into your digital PR and content marketing, your marketing department transforms into a levelled up, data-driven powerhouse that works in sync.

Content can be targeted to fit into an SEO narrative that plugs the right pages and funnels users to where they need to go, and your digital PR outreach becomes much more convincing thanks to cold hard facts to back up your newsworthy claims.

Be ready to pivot

Reactivity is so important when it comes to marketing. While planning can be great for establishing consistency, there is a risk of falling into rigidity.

This issue is exacerbated when dealing with a budget. It could be your campaign’s performance isn’t as high as you’d like (as we mentioned above), a sudden shift in market dynamics that has left you out of the loop, or a sudden external factor that is completely out of your control; whatever the situation is, you need to be prepared to react.

Failing to respond to sudden changes such as this can mean your budget remains stuck in its ways, which inevitably leads to wasted spend that could otherwise be redirected.

Recycling your investment

In our previous piece, we spoke about the balance of performance and brand marketing in a modern age. The outcomes and suitability of either priority will of course vary on a case-by-case basis, but it’s worth highlighting how synergistic that performance and brand marketing can be.

For example, as you improve performance, you attract more customers. More customers means greater word-of-mouth marketing, which has a positive impact on your brand. The better the brand becomes, the more confident people will feel about it, which means they are likely to spend more money on your offerings. This higher spending can result in higher click-through-rates, which improves your PPC performance, and so on.

Various theoretical concepts have explained this in the past with charts. But, it’s worth noting that this process can be very drawn out and doesn’t happen as quickly as such charts would suggest.

Try thinking of your budget as energy. The more energy you invest, provided it’s invested in the right places and at the right time, there higher the chance is of one aspect having a positive impact on the other, as explained above.

Take a Balanced approach to marketing

With this content series, we’ve provided everything you need to plan, pitch, and spend your marketing budget. Sometimes, though, it’s better to leave the planning and execution of your budget to the experts, like Balance.

We’re a team of experienced financial services marketing specialists, and we’ve been helping financial services brands grow the digital marketing presence of financial services brands for years. For help with your next campaign or marketing strategy, contact us for a consultation.