How Spend Management Helps Make the Most of Your Marketing Budget

spend management for marketing budgets

It doesn’t matter how great your company’s product or service is — without marketing behind it, no one will know about it. And like any other integral department of a business, marketing is often responsible for setting and managing their own budget.

It can be tricky to know exactly how much you’re spending on each marketing channel, and it can be frustrating trying to get visibility into every expense. And if you don’t have that information, it’s challenging to stay on-budget.

So, we’ve compiled a list of what to include in your marketing budget and how to get the most out of it by stretching the cash you have.

What Is a Marketing Budget?

A marketing budget refers to the total amount of money that a business allocates for the promotion of its goods and services. It’s crucial to plan out a monthly, quarterly and/or yearly budget to ensure that the company’s cash flow remains in good standing, even when unexpected expenses arise.

What Does a Marketing Budget Include?

Marketing budgets change from company to company, depending on the structure of departments. Nevertheless, these are some of the most common elements that should be included in a marketing budget:

  • Website and maintenance costs
  • PR campaigns
  • Paid marketing campaigns
  • Email marketing tools
  • Video conferencing/webinar services
  • Design and video production
  • Search and social ads
  • SEO services
  • Corporate gifts
  • Company merchandise
  • Organizing events
  • Attending conferences

Depending on the size and structure of the company, many of these tasks will be done in house (i.e. design work, search engine optimization, website maintenance) — but smaller teams may need to budget to outsource these tasks to freelancers, contractors or other outside parties.

Tips for Creating a Marketing Budget

Define and follow your business strategy

Make sure you have a solid business strategy in place and let that be your guiding resource. The business strategy should outline the company’s goals, as well as plans to achieve those goals. Be sure to define what your priorities are — be it expanding into a particular market or launching a specific product — and follow the timelines and plans to achieve those milestones. The marketing budget should reflect those goals (i.e. increasing ad spend during the time of a new launch).

Measure effectiveness of spending with KPIs

Justify recurring expenses in your budget by ensuring that the technology, SaaS and products being purchased are effective and worth the spend. The best way to do this is to track KPIs (key performance indicators) over time to figure out if the return is worth the investment. Some KPIs to keep an eye on in the marketing department might be website traffic, demo sign-ups, marketing qualified leads, time on page, content downloads and revenue from website or blog ads.

Use spend management software to track spend

It’s difficult to set a budget if you don’t know exactly what you’ve spent in previous months, quarters or years. So, spend management software can be a godsend for tracking expenses and creating future budgets. By automating marketing spend management, you’ll have an accurate picture of how much is spent, exactly where it is spent, and what may need to be adjusted for the next budget.

Plus, it can help you find extra capital to put towards your marketing efforts. 

3 Ways Spend Management Can Stretch Your Marketing Budget

Know What You’re Spending

Spend management is the key to keeping track of every single expense incurred by the marketing department. By using an automated system with virtual cards, every transaction is recorded, matched to receipts, and synced with your company’s ERP so the finance team is able to oversee the company’s marketing spend.

If you aren’t tracking your spending down to the last penny, you don’t have an accurate reading on whether or not you’re on-budget. So, using a spend management system is incredibly helpful when it comes to staying on-track.

Prioritize Marketing Expenses

Spend management can also help you determine where your money is best spent within your marketing budget. For example, by taking control of your corporate spend, you may notice charges for technology and software that are rarely used.

Spend management software can provide detailed insights on recurring costs. For example, it may alert you to the number of subscriptions you have for particular software — and it may be a lot more than you actually need. If you see that one SaaS program is taking up a large portion of your budget, but no one on the team is actually utilizing it effectively, that indicates a bad ROI. It’s probably time to reprioritize where that money can be spent more effectively.

Find Extra Capital

Finally, spend management can help marketing teams find extra capital to expand their promotional efforts. Once you’ve been alerted to underused software subscriptions, those can be canceled and the funds reallocated elsewhere. 

Many spend management platforms also offer virtual cards, which are a great way to cut down on spending and find some extra cash. Look for a virtual card that allows you to have total control over employee spending — setting limits on the amount spent, controlling when purchases can be made with expiry dates, and even locking cards to specific vendors. It’s impossible to overspend company money when the cards won’t let you do it.

Additionally, virtual cards often come with the bonus of cashback. If you’re making marketing-related purchases anyways, you may as well add to your cash flow by getting cashback in the process.

To learn more about how Mesh’s spend management platform can help your marketing team get the most out of its budget, book a demo with us today.

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