How to make the most of your marketing budget in 2021


We know that marketing planning season has usually been and gone by now. However, this has been a challenging year for us all. So don’t feel bad if you’re still catching your breath and haven’t finished planning for 2021 yet.

CMI’s recent research shows that 69% of respondents expect their budget to stay the same or decrease through the end of 2020 with more cuts expected into 2021.

Challenging times can often mean challenging budgets. All is not lost, when you focus on the right things a lot can still be achieved.

As the new year fast approaches, we’re hoping that our tips for making the most out of your marketing will help you to put your best foot forward for 2021!

There are many things to consider when making sure you get your budget right. Now more than ever it’s important to get it right! So we’ve put together a top ten list to help you make every penny count:

1. Past marketing campaigns

Focusing on what worked and what didn’t is a great place to start. Of course, 2020 has been anything but a standard year so it may be best to consider 2019 & 2018 campaigns too, so you get the best picture of your successes.

2. Individual items

Items that come out of your budget will be expenses that cover direct marketing costs, social media and marketing staff/agencies. What you need to consider is all the projects that may come out of your budget that you wouldn’t necessarily think would be attributed to marketing. An internal communications project for example.

You may think it should come out of the HR budget but they’re thinking it should be from marketing, always double check so you’re not caught out!

3. Annual expenses

Check for annual expenses increases that may need to be accounted for. Have your subscription prices increased, or new team members mean new licenses for software need to be bought? Another thing to check is price increases from agencies or freelancers that you use, the amount you allocate for them may not match their new prices.

4. One-time expenses

Is it time for a rebrand? A full website overhaul? One-off projects like these only occur once within the year and need separate budget allocation to make sure they are completed to the best standard. 

5. Industry trends

Does your company run trend or event specific campaigns that will require additional marketing? This could be the need to implement a campaign around an industry conference or a large-scale event like the Olympics.

6. Product or service launches

Are there any other plans that would require additional marketing efforts in planning or strategy capacity? If your company is planning on rolling out a new product or service, it will require a boost in marketing to get it launched successfully and maybe even its own branding.

7. Seasonal fluctuations

Are there times of year that income fluctuates? For instance, does the business see a drop in revenue when school starts in September? Consider a boost in marketing for July and August to off-set the drop – just remember to allocate budget for these months accordingly.

8. Competitors

Your competitors have a huge impact on your success so you should be keeping an eye on them too. How much are they spending on marketing? Are they planning on launching a new service or campaign? Remember, their audience is likely your audience too! Without the right intelligence and response on your part, their marketing can lead to loss of market share and leave you by the wayside.

9. The tipping point

There is always a level of investment that is ideal for getting the highest ROI, on the flip side, under spending doesn’t make a whole lot of sense either. Overspending will decrease ROI, but underspending means you won’t reach enough people to make a positive difference for your company – find that balance!

10. Flexibility

If there is one thing that COVID-19 has taught us all, it’s to be flexible. This year we have seen that cultures, lifestyles, businesses and customers can be fluid. There needs to be room to adapt throughout the year so that you can adapt to any challenges or unforeseen changes.

Budgeting for the year can be scary at the best of times and trust us, we know it’s even more daunting right now. 

Setting and sticking to your budget is very important, so is choosing the right partners to work with throughout the year to achieve your goals.

At Intelligent Talk, we pride ourselves on helping our partners to thrive. We serve as an extension to their internal teams and care just as much. We are respectful, honest, collaborative and always have our clients best interests at heart.

So now you’ve got an idea of how to tackle your budget plan, check out our blog here on how to cinch those deals!

Published: 7th December 2020.