Are you still working on planning your marketing investments for 2019? Or are you working on your vision for 2020?
Budgeting is such an encompassing, time-consuming process that many organizations may not be interested in tearing it apart to evaluate and adopt new trends or strategies, especially as deadlines loom for more immediate projects.
But as every year brings new industry and customer fluctuations, leadership and enterprise goal changes—and even technologies and channels—marketers must ensure they go into every year’s planning process with their eyes open to these trends and changes to ensure their budgets are strategically aligned to maximize their ROI.
Here are 5 trends and mindsets marketers must understand for 2019 planning—as well as their vision for 2020:
1. Accept a flat budget. According to Gartner, marketing expense budgets were virtually flat over the past year, at 11.2% of revenue for 2018, off slightly from 11.3% in 2017. So, if this is similar to the situation at your organization, don’t fret.
You still must recalibrate your spend allocation lineup for 2019 even if you have the same amount of money in the game as in 2018. And it’s probably even more essential with a flat budget to be aware of industry trends and changes in enterprise goals so you can more accurately model allocations based on potential activity. For example, utilize this kind of information to justify moving funds from traditional to digital campaigns, or to a new channel to have a better chance at a solid ROI.
2. Forget about harsh budgeting. Aggressive strategies that emphasize cost reduction and short-term execution are out of sync with the modern marketer and certainly don’t fit the customer engagement strategy you should be developing, according to a recent study by Forrester Research.
For example, the once trend of zero-based budgeting where an organization develops a budget of income minus expenses equal zero by starting with only business operations and expenses, then having each stakeholder fight for extra funding creates a Hunger Games environment of competition with only high-level macro guidance.
Instead, “organizations must rethink planning as a way to solve customers’ problems not as a routine for assigning budgets to channel buckets,” according to the Forrester report.
3. Plan for the unknowns. Trends such as industry fluctuations, emerging technologies, and consumer channels, don’t always move in rhythm to your budgeting cycle. As a result, you must evaluate how such changes will affect your spend and goals before you set them in stone.
“Marketers need the ability to course-correct in response to changing market conditions and customers’ needs,” Forrester states.
Aprimo’s Budget Allocation tools enable such “what if” planning that allows you to run various scenarios for your budgets so you can come to the table prepared with solid answers of how cuts—or increases—will affect your marketing ROI. Marketers must constantly be on the defense, but also on the offense to confidently go forward with their budget.
4. Learn to share. One of the biggest recent industry trends is aligning teams according to customer experiences (CX). As marketing departments often are chartered with taking on more of the CX responsibilities, that also means they bear the brunt of funding that new CX budget.
So marketers not only must be able to understand how the CX operations and campaign dollars sit throughout their organization, but also be able to give up some of their allocations to that new CX team or department.
They need to keep informed of best practices for how organizations in similar industries are handling CX budgeting, so they can be informed enough to weigh in on who will own the entire CX budget, where it’s going to come from, and advocate for how much say they have in it at their own organizations.
5. Don’t forget about long-range planning. There is, however, some good news on the horizon for marketing budgets, as 57% of the Gartner respondents said they plan to increase their marketing investment in the next year.
Long-range planning can be difficult because marketers not only can’t accurately determine future market trends, but also might not be able to determine the success of a lot of what they put into place in 2019 until 2020 or 2021.
“Measurement can no longer consist of a point-in-time snapshot but must represent engagement effectiveness across a customer’s complete journey over a long-term horizon,” according to the Forrester report.
Ensuring your organization has approved enterprise objectives and key performance indicators, and is utilizing emerging tools, such as business intelligence and analytics from Aprimo Insights, can help better the measure long-term successes of your current spend so you can have an easier time allocating it for 2019, your vision for 2020, and beyond.