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How Marketing Leaders Manage Their Marketing Budgets

As the head of marketing, you have no less than 12 running projects and one shrinking budget to last through the end of the year. And then there are the half a dozen projects you’re floating and 10 more you’d like to implement.

How can you scale your efforts?

Set Your Goals

You have a solid plan that maps out all your activities? You’re golden.

Your budget should match that plan and the associated goals so you can check your progress and be able to demonstrate measurable results.

Make sure your plan includes a budget for:

  1. Customer acquisition efforts: advertising, email, SEO, creative (video, graphic design, copywriting)

  2. Customer retention efforts: newsletters, social media, email, customer service

  3. Scaling efforts: marketing automation, additional advertising

You may ask: But how do I figure out my customer acquisition costs?

Data will be your savior, my friend. Gather all your marketing costs and divide it by the number of customers you have acquired.

If you are in the beginning stages and your brand isn’t solidified, then set aside the budget you need for sound market research and content creation. The last will probably be one of your biggest budget considerations, so give yourself some financial leeway to pay for what you need.

Once you demonstrate success, put money and time into scaling your efforts. The important point is that you must take the lead in communicating what you need.


When reporting up, present what you’re doing with the budget you have and show what could be possible with a budget increase.

It can take time to gain customers and may be necessary to touch them several times, through video, direct mail, email, and retargeting. Advocate for the right tools and support that you need. Making a smart initial investment will save you money in the end.

Gather Results and Report on Progress

Report on actual results vs. your projections. If your ad campaign produced a lot of traffic to your website, document the amount you spent per CPM to produce that traffic. If two percent then signed up to receive email offers, you can create future goals with such a baseline in mind.

Don’t wait until Q4 to think about how to increase revenue and cut costs.

The end of the last quarter of the year can be a stressful time. You’re racing to meet last-minute goals, spend any remaining budget, and prepare for the next year. Procrastinating on your new budget will only add to the stress. Make notes each month (or two) about your progress, where you can save money, and opportunities for scaling. That way when your boss tells you to cut 10% from your budget (or add some of her pet projects to your plate--see “Do You Communicate...or Capitulate?”), you’ll be prepared.

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