You Ask, I Answer: What's the Right Marketing Budget?

Julie asks, “What’s the right marketing budget?”

I hear this question a lot during this time of year, when marketers are facing new strategies, new plans, and of course, new budgets. The answer to this question is more complex than it sounds, and requires a fair amount of research at your firm. Asking this straight up is like asking what the bill for dinner will be before you’ve even decided what you’re going to have. Obviously, if you have a firm constraint, that’s your budget. If the CFO says you have X dollars and says no use case or business case can change that, then that’s your budget. But let’s explore making a case. Watch the video for the data and analytics you’ll need.

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In today’s episode, Julie asks, What’s the right marketing budget?

We hear this question a lot during this time of year because marketers are facing new strategies, new plans, and of course, new budgets. And the answer to this question is a lot more complicated than it sounds. It requires a fair amount of research on your part requires some market research and requires understanding

the goals everything that goes into marketing asking this question straight up like this is like asking, what’s the bill for dinner going to be before you even decided what you’re going to have? We’re going to go or are asking the doctor, what’s my budget for surgery and doctors like whoa, we don’t even know what’s wrong it

so how do we approach budgeting? How do you approach marketing budgets if you have a firm constraint Now, obviously if the CFO says

Hey, you got $10,000. That’s all I can spare. You know, that’s that’s literally all we’ve got in in the can and says there’s no use case or business case at all, you know, we have what we have done that too. But that’s that’s pretty straightforward that’s probably the easiest and unfortunately the most difficult type of budget to work with because there is no flexibility on on the part of the company and that that happens.

The second question to ask if there is flexibility or if you’ve been asked, hey, what should the budget be? The question is, what are the goals? What are the goals that the company is trying to achieve? If the CEO has said hey, this year we got have 15% growth year over year or 15% revenue growth that’s when you can start to back into what your budget will be. Because if you think about your marketing operations follow you have revenue from existing customers revenue from new customers, which you have sales deals closed

You have sales deals. And then you have opportunities and proposals and you have leads, you have prospects you have audience. And if you layer this funnel together and you put all your analytics together,

you can reverse engineer work backwards to what each layer of your funnel

brings in revenue and then what it costs for that. So for example, if you do this whole process, let’s say sales worth $1,000 and you do everything and you find out that eventually a lead is worth $10 and a website visitors worth $1 because it takes 10 website visitors to get to one lead

in that example, if you know that a visitor is worth $1,

you know the end and the CEO said 15% revenue growth then you need you’re going to need

15% more of everything to get to

That that 15% growth. So what does it cost you to get qualified web traffic and whatever that is, say it’s, you know, $5 visit because you make it up on the customer lifetime value down the road, then, you know, you’re going to need 15% more of that every day, every week, every month every year, and you can give them a budget and save, it costs us $10,000

this year is going to cost us $11,500 to get you the amount of traffic that you need in order to hit that 15% revenue goal. Right. So that’s a case where there’s a revenue goal and you can reverse engineer your marketing to your costs to figure out what you’re going to meet for a budget. If the goals aren’t clear for the company that that’s a separate problem. But you can benchmark off of what similar companies

charge for users their marketing budget. So if you are not familiar with the CMO survey, it’s offensive.

Twice a year survey released by Duke University. And I think one of the big consulting firms, I can’t remember which one and they release interviews with 500 CMOS and talk about major things like budgeting. So let’s go over and take a look here

since 2012, which is one of the first question, the question was first asked, What is marketing spending as a percentage of company revenue we’ve seen that been as high as 11%. And then the most recent one of August 2018, about 7.3%. So if the company’s overall revenues are, you know, $100,000 or a million dollars, or $10 million or a billion dollars, the marketing budget, the spending is 7.3% of that and then we can go down and this is a fat but it’s a fantastic resource just to read in general, but you can see by category b2b spends 5.4% beat b2b product be to be service 7.1% B to C product 10%.

BB services 8.9%. And so if you’re looking at the overall top line budget, that this gives you a good sense of what is the spend

calibrated was the industry average for your sector. And you can download the detailed data for specific industries to find your vertical, you can see like some of them, like internet sales or education is a top spender in that category. So that’s a way to get at the top line number if your company’s goals are just flat out, not clear. Now, one of the challenges with this approach is that this gives you the overall top line budget, you know, companies companies going to spend

10% of their revenue on marketing. Well, great. If your company’s hundred million dollars you can spend $10 million on marketing. How would you calibrate that? How do you turn that into something that’s more channel specific? The way to do that is with attribution analysis. And you need to have really good attribution analysis in order

To say, this is what we should allocate our budget based on the impact of each given channel. So let me show you an example of an attribution analysis. This is one done using machine learning to type of machine learning called Markov chains. And what it does is you run it against something like your Google Analytics data to say, like, where do our conversions come from, and it will mix and match all the different channels and steps that people take based on your existing data. And Kelly played digital Jenga with them to understand like this channel results, it always causes conversion or this channel never causes conversion. And by doing this a few million times with your data you get a sense of this is the impact of that channel. So in this case, for this particular example, this customers

organic search, 19.7% of conversions were strongly impacted by organic search if I’m trying to figure out but

budget and guess what 19.7% of my budgets going to go to organic search work to SEO work to make

to make it work better, and enter to keep that channel strong

email 12.8%. So again, if I’m trying to figure out what to spend now, if I’ve got $100,000 and I want to spend, you know, $12,870 on email, email service provider fees, that is people time that is creative. So when you do your marketing budget, you do have to account for all the different costs and figure how to allocate that that budgets not just hard dollars, you want to allocate people time this as well. Then there’s Twitter, Facebook, and so on and so forth. So attribution analysis will then help you take that marketing budget, whatever the dollar amount you get is and slice it up according to the different channels and allocated appropriately. This is all

thing that you can do, you can use machine learning to a very sophisticated way. But you can even do it with built in tools in Google Analytics and not as good, but they’re okay. And they’re certainly better than just guessing. So

what’s the right marketing budget?

The last consideration is if there’s a strategic imperative that requires you to do things differently, to say, Hey, we’re going to grow our audience on Facebook, or we’re going to grow our referral traffic, or we know that the industry is moving to voice search. And so we’re going to double down on SEO,

do the activation analysis and then manipulate the numbers, push them say, okay, we’re going to we’re going to 719 percent of organic search, we’re going to go to 22%, and that extra 3% is going to go towards organic search towards Voice Search. We’re going to make that I think so that’s the last factor in this is there’s a strategic imperative that will have to override some of the calculations but you want to start with these calculations first.

So that you can then make sensible adjustments and maybe even pull from certain channels because at the end of the day, you still have that same pile of money you’re working with. So really good question, a very complex question that will take you some time to do this. It will take you time and effort to do the calculations. But if you do them well, you’ll use your market marketing budget. Well, you will invest smartly in in your marketing and you’ll get the best possible result with the resources you have. So great question, Julie. As always, please subscribe to the YouTube channel on the newsletter and join our free slack group which you’ll find in the show notes want help solving your company’s data analytics and digital marketing problems. This is trust insights.ai today and let us know how we can help you


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