Every year we go through the process of setting the next year’s marketing budget. Even though we know it’s coming, we are seldom prepared. As a result, the budgeting process becomes a defensive scramble to justify spend, and often the way it’s approached is to open this year’s budget spreadsheet and click on “File/Save As” to create next year’s template. Besides the fact that the document you just copied is probably not an accurate reflection of spend to date, just re-spinning last year’s model isn’t going to help drive your marketing organization to greater levels of efficiency and effectiveness.
Here are a few suggestions for getting the budgeting process off to a better start:
Getting ahead of the annual budget panic will give you the opportunity to design a marketing plan rooted in your company’s objectives. Thinking through your organization’s objectives in terms of corporate, sales and business unit goals will give you the basis for effective decisionmaking. With a focus on driving outcomes, not just activity, you will be able to better align your marketing plan with the priorities of sales and other internal groups.