How to Make the Most of Your Digital Marketing Budget

10/28/2021

Marketing budgets fell sharply in 2021, especially for smaller companies. Part of the curbed spending was due to larger reallocations of company funds from marketing to technology and digitization, coupled with the economic impact caused by the pandemic.

According to Gartner’s annual CMO Spend Survey of nearly 400 marketing leaders, marketing budgets have been sliced in half, from 11% of company revenue in 2020 to just 6.4% in 2021. Marketing budgets fell to their lowest level since the annual study began in 2012. Adding to the challenge, marketing leaders reported increased pressure from CEOs and CFOs to prove the impact of marketing efforts on driving business, according to data from Deloitte.

Even if your organization has the financial flexibility for a large marketing budget, it doesn’t necessarily have to. We’ve highlighted a few ways your team can produce effective and far-reaching marketing through savvy, cost-saving tactics while still driving growth and increased ROI for your organization in 2022 and beyond.

Set Realistic Expectations

Working with a tighter budget can be difficult, especially if you become accustomed to that of years prior, but there is value in the resourcefulness and efficiency you’ll learn.

Projects for 2022 may need to be realigned or reprioritized to fit within realistic budgetary expectations, so your team’s efforts can be focused on the most critical initiatives first. Get on the same page as your team about what should be prioritized and what can be put on the back burner for a larger budget year. Realigning your team’s urgencies will narrow the focus onto projects most probable to help your department achieve business and revenue goals.

Examine Your Most Successful Marketing Tactics and Tools

Ensure your budget is being spent judiciously by using analytics and other insightful marketing data to regularly evaluate your marketing tactics. Compile the results of your marketing campaigns into a monthly report to show which of your team’s tactics are actually bringing in revenue and driving brand awareness for the company – if executives see your marketing team is excelling on those fronts, they may be more inclined to expand your budget in the future.

 Social media, digital ads and SEO are among the marketing channels in which CMOs invested most, according to the Gartner study. Digital advertising is estimated to make up 70% of global advertising by 2024, showing that digital marketing methods are accelerating.

You should also evaluate the marketing tools your team uses, doesn’t use, and could use if the company provided them. You may need to phase out unused or outdated tools and replace them with more versatile tools to keep up with the rapid pace of digital marketing. With limited resources, it is essential to ensure they’re used wisely.

Nurture Relationships with Existing Customers

Generating leads and establishing connections in a new network of potential customers requires time and resources. Some marketing departments opted to rescale in 2021, shifting to a low-risk market approach by capitalizing on existing clients, rather than pursue new business.

70% of respondents to the 2021 Edelman Trust Barometer study said brand trust is more important today than it was in the past.

Customers’ reactions to the events of the past year placed an emphasis on certain areas of focus that businesses must address; in particular, ensuring that reliable and trustworthy information is relayed to their clients, employees and investors, as well as internally. Trust and the customer experience are top determinants for whether customers will do business with an organization, so enhancing your brand’s credibility will likely enhance any future marketing efforts.

Keep in mind, low-risk can result in low returns, so if you’re looking to increase your organization’s ROI, limiting your target audience to existing customers may not be the right approach.

Build the Right Marketing Team

The digital marketing landscape is constantly changing, making it hard to navigate without the best possible people working on your team. Keep in mind, salaries for members of your marketing are factored into the overall marketing budget. The talent market is growing hotter every day and compensation levels are increasing at a faster pace to keep up with demand for employees, making it difficult to adjust salaries within the budget that were created a year or more in advance.

Nonetheless, you can still fill your team within your allocated spend with the best talent. The most effective way to combat a limited budget for salaries is by approaching talent acquisition from a contract or contract-to-hire model, as contract salaries typically come from a different part of the overall company budget. Bringing in top talent on a contract basis gives time for a business case to be made for increased employee salaries and gives you time to plan for increased salary on headcount for the upcoming fiscal year

Here at Addison Group, our digital marketing team is specialized in all aspects of the industry and specially prepared to find the talent you need to make your marketing visions a reality. Whether you need contract, contract-to-hire or direct hire employees, we can make it happen. Reach out to us today.