Make the most of your “use it or lose it” budget

As the end of the year rapidly approaches, many marketers are finding themselves with a little extra money in their marketing budget that needs to be spent by year’s end – or else it’s gone. It’s a common conundrum: You don’t want to lose your money, but you don’t want to waste it, either.

Spending marketing dollars wisely is always a good fiscal idea, but it’s even more important at the end of the year when the pressure to “use it or lose it” is at its peak. If you’re sitting on some “use it or lose it” funds, we suggest taking a deep breath, thinking about your future marketing goals, and moving forward with some thoughtful plans.

Here are a few suggestions for creative ways to spend those extra end-of-year dollars:

1. Make a “Layaway” for next year’s Marketing

Consider making an investment the year as a “layaway” for next year. For example, secure some time with a vendor or a freelancer in anticipation of future needs. Chances are you’re going to need some email support, some web copy, or a few blog posts. When you’re in crunch time next year and funds are stretched thin, you won’t have to scramble to find the money to meet some of your immediate needs.

2. Invest in Technology

Take a look at your current technology stack and marketing processes to identify any gaps or pain points. For example, do have trouble keeping track of projects across your marketing department? Consider investing your remaining budget in a marketing productivity or project management platform that will help your future marketing run smoother. You may also want to consider purchasing a marketing budgeting tool so that you can better allocate your budget throughout the year and you don’t end up in the “use it or lose it” crunch at the end of next year.

3. Design an EOY Asset

Highlight your successes in an end-of-the-year marketing piece, such as infographic or an eBook. Not only can you share a year’s worth of expertise with customers and prospects, but an annual retrospective can boost morale by reminding employees of everything they’ve accomplished this year.

4. Give your database a little TLC

A good database is vital for marketing success, but it so often gets overlooked throughout the year. Make sure your database is up to date and ready for all the amazing campaigns and initiatives you have planned for next year by springing for some new data or bringing in someone to help you clean and update the contacts you have.

5. Say Thank You

Your team has gone above and beyond this year. Host a little end-of-year party to say thank you. Throw in a little branded swag to ensure your company name stays front and center. Take this opportunity to celebrate your successes and gear up for a great new year.

These are just a few of the numerous ways to spend your remaining marketing budget with thought and intention. Have some other savvy ideas? Share them in the comments.

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