ClicData has been helping marketing managers and leaders make decisions critical to their business success for many years. And budget time is an especially critical time when optimal decisions need to be made as efficiently as possible.
But planning and budgeting marketing strategies come with a unique challenge. To prepare, strategize, and plan for the upcoming cycle, you need to be able to measure the performance of what’s happened in the current year. But each channel often comes with its own built-in reporting feature, preventing you from accessing the bigger picture of your overall marketing performance. Plus, the impact of marketing efforts on business growth can only be effectively measured if you can cross-compare them with sales numbers. But those are typically tracked and stored in a variety of systems—including CRM, invoicing, ERP, and more—and the individual systems don’t talk to each other as a rule.
The single most effective way to get your budget approved is to bring a data-driven attitude and the metrics to support your budget accurately and effectively. In effect, the first track, then report, then negotiate with ClicData dashboards.
#1 Set clear, measurable, and specific objectives
If you are going to fight for your marketing budget, we first recommend having a clear idea of what you want to achieve. This will allow you to pinpoint the marketing budget you need to achieve your goals. What are your objectives and goals? For example:
- Increase sales
- Obtain a huge list of prospects
- Gain subscribers
- Gain notoriety
Try to establish specific needs. For example, “increasing sales” is a bit of a fuzzy goal and won’t give you a specific target to hit. However, a goal such as “increasing sales by 30% by the end of the year” is specific and measurable. It is a concrete benchmark with a specific timeframe. That will go a long way to help you identify the marketing budget you need.
#2 Set KPIs for each stage of the sales funnel
A sales funnel is a path that your prospects go through before they get to the “buy” box. It’s an important part of the marketing budget because it will help you understand where to spend your money.
A sales funnel is generally made up of four stages, namely:
- The awareness phase. This is when your target audience becomes aware that they have a problem or need, and they want to look for solutions. It is your job to create the need in the target customer.
- The consideration phase. During this phase, you extend a list of options (solutions) you want your target audience to consider.
- The decision phase. Convinced that the need exists, your target audience begins to seek out companies that provide the solutions or products that best meet their needs.
- The action phase. The last step in the sales funnel, in the action phase, your target audience is attracted to your business, products, or services and becomes a customer.
The goal is to keep as many people in the funnel as possible. Having a sales funnel helps you see what is working and what isn’t, helping you identify the most effective marketing strategies to use for your business.
For example, suppose there are a lot of people in the awareness stage of your sales funnel, but only a few of them make it to the consideration phase. Although a natural drop is expected, in this case, the drop is significant. With that information, you might decide to spend more marketing budget on that early stage—convincing more people why they should continue to consider your product or service to answer their needs.
#3 Identify which channels to build, which to dissolve
Digital marketing is a science-based on data; an effective digital marketing strategy—one that gains customers and helps build sales—is reliant on your ability to measure sales performance regularly. So, when it’s time to do budget planning, the data can reveal which channels you would be wise to develop, which ones you should adjust, or which ones you should pull the plug on. Tracking the following key performance indicators (KPIs) by channel with your dashboard helps you do that.
The Number of visits: The number of visits (of sessions according to the Analytics tools) is the most followed indicator, sometimes the only one, to measure digital marketing performance. However, we believe that the number of unique visitors is a much more relevant indicator to measure the effectiveness of your marketing strategy.
The Number of unique visitors: This indicator allows you to validate the number of people your digital marketing strategy attracts to your website and determines the size of your community.
The number of visits per page: This indicator lets you identify the pages that are attracting the greatest number of visitors to your website. With that info, you can identify the keywords and themes that are most effective and most attractive to your target market and leverage those insights to optimize the rest of your digital marketing activities.
If you pair this indicator with the Average time spent per page, you get even more insight. If a page is heavily visited, but the average time spent is for just a few seconds, it tells you the page isn’t keeping people in your sales funnel. It is not performing well after all.
The number of pages viewed per session: This indicator helps you measure the interest that your visitors have in your content. The more pages they visit, the more interesting your website is to them.
Bounce rate: The bounce rate tells you the percentage of visitors who leave your website after visiting only one page. The bounce rate is important and must be optimized in your digital marketing strategy because it is a criterion that Google uses to determine the ranking of your website in search results.
Be sure to monitor the number of visits to your website for each of the levers you activate:
- Natural referencing
- Social networks
- AdWords advertising and social networks
Then you can identify the levers that work best and make sure that the investment you’ve made in them is getting results.
#4 Set Some Aside for Trial and Error
When it comes to marketing strategies, it’s highly unusual to get it right the first time. There will inevitably be a lot of trial and error before you find the optimal keyword to bid on or the most efficient email subject line to bet on. As budget cycles come and go, your understanding of your—and your competitors’—customer base will sharpen, and your strategies will be adjusted. Be sure to keep some of your marketing budget dedicated to the experimentation of new tactics.
For email marketing, for example, A/B testing will help you experiment in a responsible manner—by measuring what you are doing. A/B testing allows you to identify common factors and trends that can help increase open and click-through rates. You might want to find ways to make your emails more responsive, display relevant information in images, or use an intuitive design, for example.
If you have high click-through rates, your subscribers are clicking on your website and engaging with call-to-action (CTA) buttons to fill out a form or take other actions. You can identify the number of emails opened that led to sales or leads.
#5 Keep Tabs on What Works Best in Your Market
Kantar Group released its latest media response report revealing customer confidence in social media. It also described the apprehension of many marketers as they try to strike a balance between brand safety and innovation while juggling media budgets.
TikTok has earned a prominent place as the most innovative app for advertising, and their public trust in the company has doubled. Nonetheless, it still lags behind serious competitors like YouTube, Google, and Facebook, which are seen as more trustworthy but less innovative. Some formats that have been less popular with consumers in the past are enjoying more adoption, including:
- Online and mobile game advertising. These remain the least popular with consumers but still recorded a 5% increase
- Advertisements on music streaming services
- Ads circulated around articles on social networks have increased 1%
- Advertisements on podcasts.
In general, podcast marketing gained leverage in 2021, overtaking influencer marketing—and for good reason. Consumers believe that the quality and relevance of the advertising content on podcasts has improved. However, similar to TikTok, repetitiveness was cited as a drag on the audience.
Even though several emerging ad formats are on the rise, marketers continue to show a preference for older channels. In particular, influencer marketing has risen to the third most-trusted marketing approach, compared to tenth place last year.
The high level of trust that marketers have in influencer marketing likely reflects a genuine desire for a new kind of conversation with consumers. It might also be indicative that there’s a new generation of agencies, that influencers are putting more effort into showing more maturity, and that there are now more optimized systems and processes for creating and measuring influencer campaigns.
#6 Get Clear Information On Your Target Group’s Expectations
Your communication must be relevant to the interests of your target audience. You need to know them well in order to understand—and respond to—their behavior and expectations. Create personalized emails by addressing them using their name. Create targeted content for your segmented list and address their sensitive points with a solution.
#7 Save Time and Money
Building landing pages and forms and sending emails to large audiences requires a lot of money, energy, and time. Use A/B testing to find the right recipe for a successful campaign by implementing incremental changes that lead to statistically significant results.
If you are data-driven and have optimized dashboards at your fingertips all year long, then when budget time comes around, you spend less time trying to figure out what’s worked in the past and spend more time focusing on efficiently investing resources where they will make the most difference.