Before you can begin any successful marketing operation, you have to take the time to properly forecast the costs for your hoped-for results. These costs are your marketing budget for a particular campaign and must be determined prior to your getting anything real underway. So, as with anything in life, it pays to understand the costs associated with everything you may require to be successful, or to even get started, long before you need it. That kind of budget planning will ensure you’re never left without the funds you need to deliver optimal results.
Define Your Market Spend
Your market spend is the forecasted costs required to market your business’ goods or services. This includes all your project’s staffing requirements, a physical location for work to take place, web development for all associated properties, and any and all advertising and promotion related to the project. Every minute you spend during this step will benefit you tremendously as your project gets underway. The more you forecast, the more you foresee, the more you can overcome as challenges are presented and the better off everyone involved will be. It’s the budget and the planning that go into it which fuels everything that happens once the project begins, so understanding every possibility, and planning for its eventuality, will serve you and your team well throughout your work.
Now, there are as many ways of finding the right budget for your effort as there are efforts to be undertaken. And, people to undertake them. However, the following two methods should assist you in getting the figures you need for your marketing operation. You’ll just have to do the legwork to find which works best for your specific circumstances. The two methods are:
- Percentage of Sales Budgeting: Many businesses allocate a specific percentage of their overall sales to their marketing initiatives. This method will provide you with a clear figure for your particular marketing operation that balances your needs with those of all other efforts in action.
- Goal-Based Budgeting: While not as common as the percentage of sales route, goal-based budgeting allows a business to define specific goals for an effort, develop a proven course of action, and allocate budget based strictly on achieving those goals. This is the best option for running multiple, concurrent marketing operations.
Define In-House Capabilities
Understanding what your team is capable of, and what amount of your marketing projects workload they’re capable of delivering, is vital to achieving even modest online success. It will allow you to properly identify and procure additional services you’ll need to get the best possible returns from your online efforts. That knowledge is key to producing a worthwhile budget and will serve you well going forward. After all, many of the skills you identify in your team will be required for many different marketing endeavors, so understanding who brings what to the table will help you better assign tasks to get the most from each of your team members.
The cataloging of your in-house capabilities is necessary to finding the right strategic outsourcing partner. Your team’s strengths will not be a focus, but their weaknesses – these can inform your decisions about which vendor brings the best mix of what you need to your project. This can do more than match the right team with a task. It can help you to maximize your online profits by ensuring everything you can do in-house is being done and not being outsourced at a potentially wasteful cost.
Define Outsource Costs
You’ve properly cataloged your own teams’ skill-sets, and tied them to your initiatives, so now you have what you need to determine the costs for outsourcing required for your project(s). This is especially important when you’re considering using one single full-service solution versus a unique vendor for every need. In either case, you can find the costs associated with the roles you’ll need filled and shop around for what you feel is the best fit of price and capability. Your final choice’s price tag(s) will be a large part of your overall budget. Finding the best fits and pricing can lower your costs considerably – no matter the initiative in mind.
You can find the outsourced skills you need in any industry and at almost any price point. This makes it extremely important that you do your homework before making any final decisions about vendor assistance. Once you’re working with a vendor it can cause quite a disruption to change in the middle of an initiative. So, do your research and choose based on ability, flexibility, and cost. That will provide you with the final piece of your marketing budget and allow you to begin allocating portions to specific areas of interest.