As a fellow marketing director, I hope to bring a unique perspective to this series given my experience and role as a marketing director promoting CPA, business and financial solutions. Let’s begin by asking, where do you spend your firm’s money and your team’s time?
Developing a marketing budget to appease everyone at your firm is like preparing a household budget. Ultimately, you must determine if a given expenditure is a need or a want. However, preparing a budget at a firm is like having your kids, spouse, parents, cousins and neighbors all providing input on what you should be doing.
So, what are the steps to develop a firm’s marketing budget?
- Determine your measurable goals, both for the coming year and the next two. How do you anticipate your budget evolving over time? I encourage you to pick one or two goals and build your entire plan around achieving these through SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely) goals. Having too many goals will spread you out too thinly.
- Provide a strong recommendation on where your team’s time and out-of-pocket expenses can make the greatest impact. Be sure to not only think of out of pocket dollars, but be sure to calculate the time it takes to complete each initiative. Ask yourself does the total dollars, both out-of-pocket and time, correlate to market opportunity and potential payback.
- Take your plan to your managing director and your firm’s most influential partners to gain their insights and perspectives. If possible, meet with everyone at the same time; doing so will help prioritize the firm’s goals and minimize personal agendas. It is also important to gain a consensus on what success should look like.
- Once you finalize your plan, track your efforts and successes, on a monthly basis and reforecast quarterly. Any changes, and updates, should be communicated to your executives. Take advantage of opportunities and be realistic what you can realistically accomplish in the balance of the year. A good plan should be focused but flexible.
Throughout the year be sure to communicate your team’s efforts. This would include highlighting paid ads, thought leadership articles, leads generated, sponsorships, hosted events, social posts and public relations successes, such as awards.
Developing a marketing budget is a challenge given the competing priorities your firm has, and your limited resources, but it is a critical part of our leadership roles.
Cary Chaitoff is Skoda Minotti’s Director of Marketing. Please reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or suggestions for future columns.