Roadmap to marketing budget planning

Five steps to practical marketing budget planning

Peter Desmyttere
January 3, 2024
⏱ 4 min. read

Professional marketers absolutely need marketing budget planning if they want a good understanding of the progress of their marketing budget at any time of the year. Yet many marketers struggle with setting up a marketing budget and implementing marketing budget planning. However, this is easier than you think. In this article, I provide a step-by-step plan to quickly set up a logical and clear structure for planning your marketing budget.

In this article you will learn:

Step 1. Create a framework or architecture for your marketing budget

The starting point for your marketing budget planning is to define the marketing projects for which you want to keep a budget schedule. Basically, this planning follows the structure on which your marketing planning is built, i.e. with the same projects as you find in your marketing or project planning. The most commonly used tools for marketing or project planning are Excel, a project management tool (e.g. Asana, Trello, Monday, ...) or a specific marketing planning tool like Husky. Those who use Husky can move quickly to step 2 because the marketing projects are the basis for setting up the marketing planning tool.

Example of a project structure in 4 groups and 9 projects to shape the marketing budget.

Step 2. Determine your overarching marketing budget

What is the marketing budget for the current or upcoming financial year? In principle, this should be known a few weeks before you draw up your marketing budget, in the form of an amount you are allowed to spend on marketing projects. That amount is usually committed by a company's (financial) management. The most common forms to determine that marketing budget are a recurrence of the previous financial year, an approval of a desired marketing budget or a percentage of a turnover figure.

Example of a total marketing budget in Husky, both as a total amount and in the form of a red dotted line as a limit for project budgets, expected costs and invoices.

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Step 3. Allocate part of your marketing budget to the different marketing projects

We now have an overview of the different marketing projects we will be running AND we know the total marketing budget these projects cannot exceed. The next step is now to allocate that marketing budget to the different marketing projects. Again, you can work with a repeat of a previous financial year, with a desired budget for the project or with a percentage of the turnover or of the total marketing budget.

Toewijzen aan marketingbudget

After allocating the total marketing budget to the various marketing projects, a free to spend marketing budget of €75,000 remains in this example. It is recommended never to allocate the entire marketing budget, but to have a free budget so you can still capitalise on opportunities.

Step 4. Determine the allocated budget per project

This step may sound a bit confusing, but in practice it is quite logical. In the image above, take the €210,000 budget for events as an example. At the beginning of the financial year, you may already be able to predict which costs have already been allocated, e.g. participation fees. Or take the €400,000 budget for digital marketing, half of which goes to an annual contract with your digital marketing agency and the other half to media costs included in the contract. Content marketing costs might still be 'unallocated' to a particular party.

Toewijzen marketingbudget

In this example, at the start of the financial year, the entire project budget of €150,000 is considered allocated or 'used up' to the marketing agency's services and expected media costs. This leaves €0 to budget during the financial year. The expected costs in this case are to the full project budget.

If we now look at the full marketing budget, we see that at the start of the financial year, the expected costs (green bar in the top left) make up at half of our budget, €485,000 has already been allocated to one or more parties, €440,000 remains within the total project budget of €925,000 to allocate to service providers, media or other suppliers.

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Step 5. Add invoices to your marketing budget

Once the financial year starts, you will need to approve invoices for services, media or other costs so that they can be booked and paid by accounting. Don't just let the invoices go through, but add them to your marketing budget. This is a very valuable addition because it gives you a perfect overview of your spent and free budget at any time of the year.

At the end of April of the current financial year, we have approved invoices for €271,711 so we still have €653,289 free within our total project budget. Also, we see that the marketing budget for brochures has already been exceeded.

 

So, are you ready to set up your own marketing budget planning? Start a free trial of Husky Marketing Planner today. You can quickly get started with allocating budgets to projects and/or campaigns, and you will have a perfect overview of free and allocated budgets at any time during the financial year.

Want additional tips for analysing and managing your marketing budget? Then read our article on managing a marketing budget.

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