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Selecting a Budget-Savvy Marketing Agency

marketing budgetsSelecting a marketing agency based upon budget does not mean that you should choose the cheapest. On the contrary, sometimes one of the more premium marketing agencies may be your best choice budget-wise because what you want is value, not just inexpensive work.

A marketing agency that provides value is one that is able to help you reach your goals while being guided by your budgetary concerns. They are able to leverage their knowledge of the marketing world, both online and offline, in order to help you achieve the best results for your dollars.

Where will you be in five years?

Your-budget-conscious marketing agency will begin by asking a number of questions in order to get a very good understanding of where you want your business to be in 1-to-5 years. Having a clear picture of your company vision will help them recommend particular marketing strategies to help you get there.

For example, the first set of questions will be about the overall marketing strategy and outcome of your marketing campaigns. They would then use this information to create at least three scenarios that can be used to project both budget needs and expected results. Scenarios could include:

  • Lean Marketing Plan. Budget: 1 – 2% of your top-line revenue. This plan commits to engaging and retaining current customers with simple tools and strategies. This is ideal for companies that want to maintain their market position and do not have ambitious growth goals.
  • Target Plan. Budget: 3 – 4% of your top-line revenue. The goal is to attract new prospects and retain current customers with advanced tools and strategies. This is best for companies that have moderate growth goals or plan to solidify their customer base.
  • Stretch Plan. Budget: 5% or more of your top-line revenue. The plan is to focus resources on driving leads, conversion and sales. To do this will require using complex marketing strategies and tools to penetrate new markets or greatly expand current ones. This option is best for companies that have ambitious plans to grow and/or increase their market share 20% or more annually.

Next, your-budget-conscious marketing agency will probably ask about previous programs in order to determine where current dollars are allocated and how effective they were.

  • What last year’s strategies were.
  • How effective they were in achieving their intended purpose.
  • Where you would like to make improvements.
  • Where your industry is headed.
  • How prospects within your target audience move through the buyer’s journey.

Online changes impact the budget

A lot is changing in the marketing world, especially the online marketing world. Video is becoming the preferred method of viewing advertising messages, access by mobile devices is growing practically exponentially and search-by-voice is rapidly growing over search-by-keyboard. A good marketing agency knows about the approaching changes and will discuss them with you. They will ask questions such as:

  • What is the cost and how will it impact the budget?
  • How many people will be needed to implement and support it?
  • What is the time necessary to implement it?
  • How will the expected results be used to improve other marketing efforts?

Allocate Your Marketing Dollars

Now that you have goals and a marketing budget, you can begin developing a tactical plan to transform them into reality. The complexity of the strategies and tactics used will depend upon the marketing budget you have identified. You will want to consider:

  • Marketing research.
  • Continuation of current strategies.
  • Addressing new markets
  • Utilizing new online technologies
  • Metrics and analysis
  • Marketing automation

Building the Budget-Friendly Plan

Finally, they will put your programs into a plan that best suits your needs. A good marketing agency will put the strategies and tactics into a framework that considers five areas of focus:

  • Awareness/Brand-building
    • Goal: Increase audience propensity to purchase.
    • Example tactics: SEO, app indexing
  • Demand Generation
    • Goal: Provide qualified leads
    • Example tactics: Expanded mobile advertising, optimized digital video.
  • Sales Empowerment
    • Goal: Empower the sales team
    • Example tactics: Expanded content marketing/downloadable collateral.
  • Retention and Loyalty
    • Goal: Incremental revenue from current customers
    • Example tactics: Email marketing
  • Metrics and analytics
    • Goal: Targeted results/ROI improvement

So when you go looking for a good marketing agency, watch for their thoughtful consideration of your budget. Again, what is important is the value you receive, not just an inexpensive price. Take the time to find an agency that is willing to ask questions and then work with you to produce the best results for the dollars you allocate. To learn more about effective marketing budgeting, download KEO Marketing’s Marketer’s Guide “5 Critical Steps for Planning Your 2017 Marketing Budget”.

PG
    About Sheila Kloefkorn
With more than 20 years of hands on marketing strategy and operations experience, Sheila Kloefkorn is dedicated to developing marketing strategies and plans that help clients succeed. Some of the world's largest brands have depended on Sheila for marketing programs that delivered tangible and substantial results. Specialties: B2B marketing, lead generation, lead nurturing, sales strategy, marketing strategy, competitive marketing strategy, social media, search engine optimization (SEO), search engine marketing (SEM), mobile marketing,, email marketing, website design, marketing plans.

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