Steve Ohanians, Accidental Entrepreneur, Co-Founder, and CEO, WebEnertia.
Your annual marketing budget should cover everything from essential marketing strategies (those nonnegotiables like your website or social media marketing) to your marketing tech stack to any innovative or new ideas that will spur your brand forward. So, how can you guarantee that your marketing investments will deliver the maximum ROI?
Marketing trends and strategies change rapidly, especially in the digital marketing space, so it’s crucial to adjust your budget accordingly each year. The key to building an effective, impactful marketing budget is understanding trends, the bigger picture of your business operations, the marketplace and broader societal shifts, and the tools that can help you meet your objectives.
Here are a few things to remember when building your marketing budget for 2023: Experts are warning of a potential recession. Your company will be best served by a marketing strategy that delivers on your investment with measurable results. Don’t cut your marketing budget out of fear. Focus on the marketing verticals that have garnered strong results time after time. Here’s how to allocate your marketing budget to get the maximum impact.
Start By Setting The Right Goals
Before you assign budgetary dollars and cents, make sure you clearly understand your marketing goals for the year. Determine measurable, reasonable goals and outline the path you need to take to achieve them—this path will ultimately determine how much money to invest in each component of your budget.
Remember the SMART acronym for setting goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Make sure you also understand where you are and where you want to go.
If you’re not sure where to start, here are some measurements to pursue:
• Increasing your website’s conversion rate (and maintaining it).
• Boosting the number of unique monthly visitors to your website.
• Building up your email subscriber list.
• Improving your SEO rankings.
These goals will ultimately be tied to specific marketing initiatives, and they will tell you where to invest your budget. If you want to increase your website’s conversion rate, for example, you may need to allocate funds to redesign or refresh your site. If you want to build up your email subscriber list, you may need to invest in better content development for new landing pages on your site so users can subscribe, as well as some paid advertisements.
Prioritize The Digital Customer Experience
In 2023, put the digital customer experience at the top of your marketing budget. Think of this through the lens of the customer journey: What is absolutely necessary for your customers to see, interact with or consume in order to make a purchasing decision? If you’ve been able to generate qualified leads through paid advertisements, prioritize that—it’s at the top of the funnel in your customers’ journey. If your customers primarily get information about your products or services on your website, prioritize updates and make your product pages more informative. Go where your customers are.
Choose Tech And Systems That Make Your Goals Attainable
Make sure your tech stack supports your goals and strategies rather than replacing them. No single marketing technology will make your marketing budget go further. Instead, if you want the maximum impact from your marketing budget, align your tech stack with the goals you’re pursuing. Don’t rush to adopt the latest and greatest customer relationship management platform or convert from one system to another. Consider whether, first and foremost, that system serves your company well. For example, many companies are considering using a digital experience platform, but in order to do so effectively, companies must have the time and resources to devote to implementation.
However, there are a few tech investments that can be impactful and make your money go further. I’ve written before about how AI is great for drafting content, testing websites and creating better customer experiences. If you’re looking to extend the impact of your marketing strategy and squeeze the most out of your budget, AI is a great option.
Invest In Owned Media: Your Website
To get the most out of your marketing budget, spend money on things that last. Invest in the marketing assets you will own. Your website is one of the most important components of your marketing strategy, and it is also something that you will own. All of the content on your website—digital assets, copy, white papers and even the email list that you curate through your website—is yours.
Because you own this content, it is worth investing in its improvement and effectiveness. While I maintain that your website should be updated every two years (here’s why), the content on your website will be useful much longer than that because it outlines your brand goals, story, differentiators and key information like customer reviews or indexes of your topical expertise (like your blog catalog or case studies). Even if you revamp your website every two years, you will probably still transfer much of that content to your new site.
Here is the bottom line: Your 2023 marketing budget should be built on the strategies and initiatives that have proven successful for your business. With another uncertain year on the horizon, don’t ditch your existing marketing strategies for something that seems to offer faster results. Stick to what works, stay anchored in your goals and align your budget with the marketing initiatives that make the most sense for your brand.