In terms of marketing and many other aspects, 2021 will be different, largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic has shaped how the next year and beyond will look in certain ways, so it's important to understand how it will affect your marketing budget as you plan ahead.
While you may have plenty of funds to spend in 2021, the following are some tips to help you better manage your budget. Taking these aspects into consideration can help you accurately calculate how much you can actually invest in your marketing going forward.
Set Clear Goals
Let’s break it down: Every good marketing campaign begins with good, realistic goals, or SMART goals that are:
If you can take the time to set goals for the next year, you'll go into the new year with a much better idea of how to approach your campaigns. In turn, you'll be able to determine which metrics you want to look at to measure the success of your campaigns and how much you'll want to spend on them based on predicted return on investment (ROI).
Consider how 2020 affected your business, which may play into your performance in 2021. Any successes or disappointments should factor into your planning as you establish your budget and develop your strategies. For example, you might have some funds left over from other aspects of your business that you can channel into marketing.
Get Ready for an Economic Rebound
Following a recession, the amount of time it takes for a business to recover can vary depending on the length of that recession. Put simply, the longer the recession, the longer the recovery process. Following the pandemic, businesses will need to make sure they're prepared to push ahead of competitors as the recession recedes.
You can start successfully prepare for an economic upturn by taking another look at your markets. Consider exploring new opportunities if you think they'll be more lucrative than your current markets. You can also improve the recovery process by getting to know your customers even better. Think about how their own financial situations might affect their buying behavior, which you can then use to adjust your messaging and other aspects of your campaigns.
When calculating your marketing spend for 2021, you also need to make sure your priorities are in order. Otherwise, you may miss out on focusing on the right problem, at the right time-- this miss can hinder your campaigns in the long term if you're not careful.
Begin by determining what's worth investing more time and money in, based on ROI and other factors. For example, you may find that a certain activation like search engine optimization (SEO) would help you differentiate yourself from other brands, while another activity is less integral to your growth.
Based on your findings, you can begin ranking each activity to create a list of priorities according to importance. From there, you can develop back-up budgets to help you figure out where you might want to direct funds as your finances fluctuate. Through proper prioritization and planning ahead for back-up budgeting, you can make sure your plans have a failsafe in place.
Focus on the Long Game
A lot of companies invest only what they need to in the short term. However, keeping the future out of mind can be counterproductive to your efforts to increase brand awareness and conversions.
You might spend just enough to get the initial results you're looking for, followed by a temporary budget cut. Over time, you may begin to see your campaigns falter and not achieve the level of success you want, especially as your business still works to recover from a recession. Instead, try to focus on developing and funding long-lasting campaigns that are easily adjustable, which will ensure your business doesn't suffer.
Consider investing more in SEO in place of paid search, as you won't need to spend as much money on maintaining rankings. On the other hand, SEO requires a lot of time and effort to achieve success, but it can be particularly rewarding as you begin to see results. At the same time, try to maintain your paid campaigns to create a balance between organic and paid efforts.
Make Your Planning Processes More Efficient and Dynamic
It can be tempting to develop what seems like a foolproof plan for your marketing strategies in 2021, followed by setting it in stone and leaving it behind as you move forward creating your campaigns. The problem is that much like other aspects of marketing, a static plan will only hold you back as you need to adjust your budget and marketing efforts.
Try to maintain the efficiency of planning by developing an annual marketing budget with some ideal targets. With long-term goals in place, you can keep your eye on the prize and measure overall success as you proceed with your campaigns.
After establishing that annual budget, you can set certain milestones for every week, month, or quarter to review your progress. Based on your goals, you can figure out which metrics to look at, and make any changes as needed.
At the same time, while developing large campaigns, implement smaller plans for more short-term wins that help you achieve those larger goals. In some ways, the success or failure of smaller campaigns can give you some insight into how your larger campaigns are likely to perform before launching them.
Keeping all of these aspects in mind can help you better calculate your overall budget in 2021 and the years ahead. With dynamic planning, clear goals, good prioritization, and a focus on the long term, you can stay ahead of competitors while maintaining financial stability.