How to share your marketing budget with others

The more transparent the marketing budget, the more shareable it is

Peter Desmyttere
September 24, 2019
⏱ 6 min. read

Professional budgeting is essential in a modern marketing policy. It provides insight into budgeted costs, expected costs and real expenditure. Both at the macro level (plan, project, campaign. etc.) and within micro-budgeting (channels, specific timing, etc.). Marketers who have to manage without professional budgeting are blind in terms of budget, costs and ROI.

It becomes even more challenging when, in addition to insight into budgets, reporting is also needed. Marketers must report budgets to colleagues, management and marketing agencies. The latter must not only report budgets and costs internally, their customers also need insight into the budgets and costs. In this article, I list the most obvious solutions for sharing your marketing budget with others. 

Accounting does not follow marketing logic

Accounting offers marketers one certainty: all costs are booked according to a specific accounting scheme. Every marketing cost can therefore be identified in the accounting. The disadvantage of the accounting scheme is that it differs from the way marketing manages its projects and campaigns. Moreover, it is limited to a few umbrella accounts. What if you want to report to colleagues what a certain product launch has cost? What if you want to convince management to invest more in Facebook Ads? As a marketing agency, what if you want to analyze media spending per customer? Then an accounting report may not help you one step further unless you are a fan of a detailed analysis to arrive at an overview and insight.

Marketing budget

Spreadsheets love numbers 

Spreadsheets such as Excel and Google Sheets are more obvious for those who want to work with budgets and budget reporting. There is not one marketing budget tool that offers you so much freedom in setting up your budget reporting because you are not bound by the template structure that digital budgeting tools impose on you. In spreadsheets you can go "all the way" and prepare a budget document that 100% meets your specific marketing needs.

Marketing budget Excel

But spreadsheets also have a lot of disadvantages for budget applications. The first is the risk of micro-management. The user then arranges the spreadsheet with budgets and costs in such a way that a good interpretation can only be made with an explanation and translation from the author. In a reporting environment (when you want to share insights into budgets and costs with others) that is a considerable disadvantage. The second disadvantage is the risk of fragmentation. Advertising marketers keep track of their budgets and costs in a spreadsheet, event marketers do it in a different spreadsheet (with a different structure of course) and product marketers also keep track of overlapping costs in their own spreadsheet without there being a link with the other budget documents. As a marketing director, try and pick one out. A third disadvantage is the isolating character of spreadsheets because budget spreadsheets are independent of communication or campaign planning. It is restricting to only see numbers when you want to analyze a marketing project or marketing campaign. 

Marketing budget software: the cream of the crop for budget management

Digital marketing budget tools such as Scoro and Allocadia are entirely built around setting up, managing and analyzing marketing budgets with others. They are therefore the cream of the crop in terms of marketing budget management. They go much further in terms of budget analysis than agency software or marketing project management software. However, the question is: how far do you want or have to go? As a marketing director, do you manage a very large international budget that is distributed over different continents, countries, product categories, business units or marketing teams? Then you will find a good ally in marketing budget management software, But for the average marketing team or marketing agency, marketing budget software will quickly seem like overkill for the needs that prevail in small and medium-sized teams. 

Marketing budget software

Agency Planning Software

Marketing agencies can choose from a wide range of agency software. It bundles budget-related features such as account management, quotes, timesheets and invoicing. In their packages you can perfectly manage expenditures on suppliers, media or subcontractors and write them in readable reports. Yet our experience shows that quite a few marketing agencies are struggling with budget management. In the integration of the above features, they go so far that employees in agencies see the far-reaching, detailed reporting as a burden rather than as an advantage. Many agency tools are tailored for graphics or advertising agencies that carry a heavy internal studio cost. Agencies of the new generation, with digital agencies at the forefront, do not need that complicated studio budgeting. For them, time registration per employee, per campaign and per customer is sufficient. The invoices for online media spending are therefore often the client's responsibility, so that this budget management falls outside their standard reports. 

Marketing budget plan
Marketing agencies (such as Websauce in the example above - see the last budget line) can not only prepare and manage their entire budgeting in Husky, the budget can also be immediately shared with the client(s).

Marketing Project Management tools: optimal budget management for small and medium-sized teams

Digital tools such as Husky combine the best of many worlds for budget management. You can allocate budgets per plan, project, channel or cost item, but you can also schedule expected costs immediately so that you know where you still have room in the budget at any time of the financial year. Invoices are then allocated to budget lines or cost items so that the actual state of affairs is visible at all times. You combine the ease of use of Excel with the power of a digital tool with predefined modules and graphs. However, this article is really about sharing budgets with others. Well: in Husky that is a piece of cake. Do you want to share the budget and costs for one specific project or specific campaign with colleagues? Then all the details can be accessed with one mouse click (see the example above - sharing the costs for online ads). Do you want to share budgets and costs with your management? Then you give them read rights in Husky or you immediately draw up a PDF report that shows all the budget and cost lines in detail. Do you want to work seamlessly and transparently with your marketing agency when it concerns marketing budgets and costs? Then you give them access to the projects or campaigns involved so that they can manage the budgets fully autonomously within your setup.

Marketing budget tool
Example of a PDF budget report in Husky within the "Online ads" project. Each cost depends on the right channel or on the relevant cost item within a clear and legible marketing logic. A PDF report is a fast and convenient way to share marketing budgets and costs with colleagues, management, agencies and other stakeholders.

Pros and cons of the different ways of sharing a marketing budget plan with third parties

Software  Pros Cons
Exact, Yuki, Silverfin
  • No extra investment required
  • Figures are always available after booking
  • No marketing logic
  • Mainly reactive cost management, proactive budget management difficult
Excel, Google Sheets
  • Simplicity
  • Low threshold
  • Free
  • Complete freedom (100% customizable)
  • Encourages microplanning
  • Version control with corrections can cause problems
  • Fast information overload
  • Smart filtering is difficult
  • Integration with other schedules is virtually impossible
Budget software
Scoro, Allocadia, Budgyt, Infinigrow
  • Ideal for complex marketing budget management
  • Goes further than all other tools
  • Expensive and useless for small or medium-sized teams
  • Not integrated with other planning
Agency planning software
Husky, Yadera, QuoJob
  • Good integration with studio planning and time allocation within the office
  • Budgets have a clear context
  • Is often encapsulated in an administrative straitjacket
  • Sometimes budgets can only be shared via PDF reports
Marketing Project Management tools
Husky, Wrike, Percolate
  • 100% integration of budget and marketing planning (budget can be allocated to a planning item)
  • Very shareable with colleagues, management, agencies and stakeholders
  • Not purely for budget management and budget reporting (link with marketing planning is indicated)




This blog article is part of a series on shared marketing planning for efficient collaboration. Below you'll find all the articles that will help you find your way around.

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