Digital marketing budgets continue to shift in an effort to keep pace with changes in consumer shopping behavior. For the most part, brands are embracing the evolving digital marketing landscape, where consumers expect highly targeted content and offers that are readily available online. The difficult part is developing an accurate marketing budget that will reach target audiences at the right time on their preferred channels.
So, where do you start? Try looking back at the past year’s budget data to see what worked and what didn’t. Reviewing campaign results can help you identify successful media tactics while still leaving room to experiment with powerful programmatic channels such as connected TV (CTV), video, and podcasts. Having actual data can make budget decisions easier. As you look ahead, think about what is happening within your agency that could impact your ability to stick to the budget. For example, changes in your team or marketing partners. When staff leave or partnerships change, it can limit or overextend your budgeting, as well as the resources available to execute media campaigns on time. Sometimes, investing in self-sustaining and in-house programmatic tools can create knowledge and expertise internally rather than forcing you to rely on outside experts or outsourcing capabilities.
Full-funnel budget alignment
The next step is to align your budget with your marketing goals. Every company, business, or brand has different goals for their marketing efforts, but it can be difficult to accurately allocate marketing resources to reach each of them. Spend too little, and the money may be wasted on prospects outside your target markets. Spend too much, and you may end up with results that could have been achieved with a smaller investment. There is no exact formula that works for every brand.
Taking a full-funnel marketing approach will help. At the top of the funnel, building brand awareness is often underestimated when planning budgets, and in a lot of cases, it is the first line item to be cut. But when you view budgeting through the lens of a full-funnel strategy, you will spend to create value at every funnel stage. Your budget will also better reflect a long-term scope that looks at the bigger picture and keeps major goals on track. (See Pillar 1: A Clearly Defined Media Mix Strategy for a discussion of full-funnel marketing strategies and Pillar 2: Holistic Performance Metrics and Relevant KPIs for a fuller explanation of digital marketing metrics.)
Setting clearly defined goals will allow you to plan how much you will need to spend based on what success will look like. You can then approach your marketing campaigns with a high degree of confidence.
Use a programmatic platform to gain control
Sticking to the budget can be challenging. But it is important to stay on track with your marketing budget to make every dollar count and progress towards your goals. Using programmatic technology to place your ads is one way to get more for your client’s money. A self-serve platform will automatically set spending limits, optimize advertising bids, and help reduce overspending.
Building a strong in-house technology capability can help your agency align programmatic strategy, budgeting, and campaign execution. You can get a jump on next year’s budget planning by thinking ahead to what you will potentially need in your marketing stack. The number of different channels, tactics, and strategies continues to grow, and you will most likely have to utilize several marketing tools to be effective. Developing in-house expertise around programmatic advertising budgets and campaign execution will help to strengthen your buy-side partnerships and client relationships.