At the end of the year, it's not uncommon for marketing managers to have leftover budget that they may not have an exact plan for. This is typically a good problem to have, but without a plan there are a few ways this can play out:
- If you didn't use it, you’ll lose it.
- You may not get approved for the same amount the next year, and 2017 budgets will be cut.
- Proposed efforts for the new year may not be approved, because there was leftover money from this year, so there’s no incentive to put more into 2017.
In the interest of making the most informed budget decisions going forward into the new year, we asked our leadership team what their recommendations are for a marketing manager who is looking to spend their remaining (unplanned) budget wisely. Here's what they had to say:
"A client should invest in creating or updating their Customer Journey Map in order to really get a strong sense of all their customer touchpoints and how they are able to represent or reinforce their brand. This project gives marketing the ability to set the stage for instrumental enhancements that can have a dramatic effect on the 2017 bottom line.”You’re likely noticing a trend in the recommendations from our experts showing that Red Door highly promotes a data-driven approach to marketing decisions. What it ultimately boils down to is looking towards your buyers’ behaviors and researching the customer's journey and the brand itself in order to make the most informed tactical decisions in 2017."
“A client’s typical inclination is to put an unplanned budget towards additional media dollars in Q4. This certainly allows you to spend larger sums of money relatively quickly, and to see immediate results, but this isn’t always the right decision. Many times, clients would be better served by setting themselves up for success in the following year. This could either mean diving deeper into understanding the customer journey of your audience segments or assessing the key areas for improvement in your cross-channel marketing efforts with a program audit and/or competitive analysis.
If you can get a head start on the new year, with a clear picture of your audience, competitors, and marketing performance, you’ll hit the ground running in 2017.”
“Depending on the knowledge and insights you have on your audience, competitors and differentiators – there could be endless options. It depends on: your strategy, goals, year-to-date performance, goals for next year (and if you have the infrastructure to support those goals) and so on.
Once you determine these, outline options against those factors. Then you are able to prioritize by targeting the tactic with the highest return, lowest barrier to entry, and fastest speed to market. If you’re unsure of how to analyze your options – be sure to reach out to your Business Manager at Red Door.”
“Despite being a person who manages media investments for clients, I don't always recommend marketing managers throw all of their remaining budget into media. I would actually recommend they utilize their agency's strategy resources (or their own internal resources) to determine the answers to the following questions:
- Where is the client in terms of their yearly goals?
- What kind of volume of authority do their competitors seem to have?
- What do estimate spend levels for digital media look like for competitors?
- Does it look like there is an untapped audience to buy online?
- What are bounce rates looking like?
- What does free organic traffic look like for them and their competitors?
All of this can be determined through a cross-channel audit for a brand. That will give the manager the best idea as to how to shift their investments overall in digital for the last quarter, and ultimately better prepare them for the new year.”
You’re likely noticing a trend in the recommendations from our experts showing that Red Door highly promotes a data-driven approach to marketing decisions. What it ultimately boils down to is looking towards your buyers’ behaviors and researching the customer's journey and the brand itself in order to make the most informed tactical decisions in 2017.
If you're interested in learning more about the projects our experts advised about, or have other marketing ideas to discuss, contact your Red Door Business Manager! Don't have one? Contact us here.
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