For some of you, the fiscal year started in January. For others, it’s February. And still others start in October each year. A new fiscal year means a new marketing budget and a whole new set of plans for what you want to do to grow your company and increase your pipeline.
To set your marketing budget this year (or any year), there are a few steps to take and a few questions to answer before you can make an educated estimate at what your budget needs to be.
1. Document your strategy
At first blush, this only means to write your strategy down — to spell out your messaging, specify which channels you’re going to use, and pinpoint the resources you’ll bring to bear. The document becomes the road map you’ll follow for the year. It’s also a great decision-making tool for when new channels and opportunities arise: if it’s in the document, you can do it, if it’s not, you won’t.
Of course, you’ll want to make sure you build in some wiggle room for fluctuations and changes to your industry. For example, you may devote a third of your marketing budget to video only to learn that a certain social network has lied about their video figures, rendering your pivot-to-video efforts useless.
This is why it’s always better to create guidelines rather than a day-by-day battle plan. You need to be agile as marketing technology and best practices fluctuate. Building this into your strategy will help you keep sales and marketing more closely aligned. Once your strategy document is in place, you can more easily get your colleagues and the company executives on board with your plan. And that will help you decide who you want to sell to. . .
2. Define your Ideal Customer Profile
Who are your best customers? Not your typical customers, the customers you want the most of. The one you could build your entire business on. What does that customer look like?
Your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP) gives you an idea of who you want to continue to reach out to, the companies that fit the size, industry, company profile, location, and so on. They’re the ones most likely to buy your product or service based on past customers.
But the ICP needs to be more than just that demographic data, you need to know their firmographics — ownership, performance, size, trends — and their technographics — technology stack, marketing tools, equipment — as well.
Once you have defined your ICP, it’s easier to find more of those same kinds of customers and pursue more of them, rather than wasting your time trying to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Related: Identify high fit accounts showing heightened levels of interest with the FIRE methodology.
3. Build growth into your budget
Just like you need to be agile when defining your marketing strategy, you need to be equally agile about your growth and success. Rather than assuming everything will be normal and flat, accommodate additional growth for your company and build in the flexibility to cope with it.
For example, let’s say your company added three new law firms to your customer base. Except law firms weren’t in your ICP this year, but now you realize they’re a perfect fit for the company. You need to adjust accordingly so you can generate some new demand.
Rather than just shutting off the resources to another vertical, create a new ICP for this new vertical and devote some additional resources to finding more customers just like it. If you stick to a rigidly-defined schedule and ICP, you’ll be passing up untold growth because you weren’t flexible.
4. Remove guesswork with high-quality, complete data
How did you build your ICP in step #2? Presumably with complete data about your existing customers. You knew their contact information, their demographic and firmographic data. You knew what kind of technology they used, and you knew when and how much they needed your product.
Too often, marketers build their marketing budget with incomplete data. They haven’t built their ICPs, or if they had, they were based on a static data model. Or they had data from several different vendors, but could never be entirely sure if it was accurate and up-to-date.
This is where working with a single business intelligence vendor can make all the difference. You need accurate, complete sales intelligence about all your target accounts, not just a website and a phone number with one contact name of a person who hasn’t been there in two years.
You need a modern data provider who can give you access to refreshed data — tens of thousands of contacts with up-to-date-information and millions of data signals in order to build a complete and accurate marketing budget. After all, your database is only as good as the data you feed it.
If you would like to learn more about how a modern data platform can help shape your marketing budget, request a free demonstration.