Our previous article on budgeting tips for marketing addressed four key areas:
- Goal alignment
- Leveraging past success
- Evaluation metrics
This time we will focus on just the first, and arguably most important, item: Goal alignment.
If your budget recommendations don’t align with larger company goals, the past successes, evaluation of metrics, and data can fall on deaf ears.
Marketing Budgets and Goal Alignment: Speak Leadership’s Language
You’re probably deep into your budget preparations now, and maybe you’re about to present your budget recommendations to leadership.
Before you deliver your recommendations, though, read through these business-oriented action items and make sure you’re framing your budget correctly.
Think Like Your Leaders
Start with the Mission & Vision.
We’re short-sighted if we forget the overarching goals of the business beyond the marketing department. Take a couple of hours with your team to reflect on the company mission and vision statements.
Turn it into a brainstorming session. Ask yourselves where your marketing has been falling short of the mission of the business, and what it would take to fulfill it.
Not only will this help you determine expenditures for the next year, but it will also reorient you as to why you’re doing what you’ve been doing. Let this reflection time turn into review time:
- Has your messaging been on point according to the overarching mission of your organization?
- Are your marketing goals aligned with mission and vision, in addition to being aligned with annual goals?
- Are your audiences targeted to ensure you’re serving your organization’s intended and ideal audience?
Envision for a moment the clout and goodwill that you—and the marketing department as a whole—could enjoy from the C-suite leaders when they see such a focus on the business’s foundational whys and wherefores.
Reverse Engineer Goals for Your Recommendations
There’s a tendency for marketers to get lost in their own world of marketing statistics, ABM campaigns, and metrics that we forget about the overarching goals of the business.
When you’re building a budget, you’ll be considering, of course, your specific marketing goals and how much money you’ll need to reach them—a target number of MQLs and SQLs, specific click-through rates (CTRs) on landing pages, or a particular number of followers on social media—and reverse engineering to determine how much money you’ll need to reach them.
Having reconnected with the big Whys of your company’s existence, it’s time for you and your team to move on to tangible, trackable goals with definite time periods.
Work your way through the goals of the current quarter and the past year. You’ll especially want to consider your company’s 5-year or 10-year goals (depending on which is used) because those will matter as you set your budget for the coming year.
Again, the aim is to consider not only the marketing department’s goals, but the wider company’s goals.
Tie specific marketing numbers to these company-wide goals. Explain why these metrics were chosen and how they logically lead to the success of company-wide goals. Make your numbers, their numbers.
Quarterly, Annual, and Longer Term Goals
If you run marketing for a SaaS developer, and you know that in Q2 ‘23 there is a new product launch, your marketing priorities for Q1 will be to generate awareness of and excitement for the new product. And in Q2, you’ll have different activations to accompany the new product launch.
Organizing your budget recommendations by quarter will empower you with the flexibility you need to be able to explain why you need more of your marketing budget behind one quarter where another may be lighter.
And tie every metric to a budget number. Show your leaders that their goals have prices attached to them.
If you’re tasked with bringing in 120 leads per quarter, and your calculated CPL is $120, tie your recommendation for $20k/quarter to the data that demonstrates your ability to meet and exceed the goal with flexibility to test and grow.
Armed with a renewed sense of vision for your organization and with all the goals and objectives for the year in view, you can craft a goal-aligned budget recommendation that is almost certain to get you the funds you’re requesting, with the respect to back it up.
Bonus: You and your team will have the added benefits of clarity and sense of purpose as you head into the new year, which is priceless.
At New North, we’ve been helping B2B businesses to achieve goals and craft budgets for over a decade. Let’s talk through your business goals and plug them into marketing.