How to Build a Marketing Budget with our Marketing Budget Template
Do you need an easy-to-use marketing budget template and/or marketing plan for your business? Are you being asked to provide detailed numbers about your marketing spend to others in your organization? Are you trying to decide where you should spend your marketing dollars?
If any of these questions resonate for you, we can help
Effective marketing depends on having a great strategy and a thoughtful plan. Creating a comprehensive, logical plan is the first step to providing the most value, and getting the highest possible ROI for your marketing efforts.
If you haven’t created a marketing strategy yet, or you would like a reminder about how to create one for your organization, check out our post on how to Create A Marketing Budget Template & Marketing Plan That Work! This will help you answer important questions that will influence your marketing budget.
If you’re ready to start work on your budget and putting your plan in place, then go ahead and download our template. And read on for instructions on how to use it to easily manage your marketing calendar/ activities and budget!
Welcome to the template!
The first page in the template is titled Summary, and, of course, it provides a clear summary of how much each facet of your marketing strategy will cost you. Don’t change any of the numbers on this page; they are all formulas and they feed from the sub pages that we will explain in a moment. The following pages allow you to track where you are spending your marketing dollars, when you're spending the money, and how much your entire program will cost.
The second page, titled Events/Outreach, gives you space to enter individual events and outreach efforts for each month. You can start by filling out the events that you’re certain about, and then add lower priority events as you see fit.
Alternatively, you could enter every event your company may attend, and highlight the ones you aren’t sure about. Then, pick and choose which events are keepers based on the factors that matter to you.
For example, you might decide to skip an event because it costs too much, or because you already have three events that month and want to spread out your outreach efforts.
When evaluating event marketing, make sure to include the cost for employee travel and food, as well as all of the classic required event materials. You can easily track event travel expenses in the column titled “Estimated Additional Event Expense."
Use the Digital page to track the expenses of what we call the Three Legged Stool of Digital Marketing: Your Website, Content, and Paid Advertising.
Start by filling out known fixed expenses. How much do you spend on website hosting each month? What marketing automation services do you absolutely rely on? How much will keeping up with your blog schedule cost?
Once you’ve filled in those fields, identify how much you plan to spend on advertising and paid social media promotion.
And don’t forget about your website!
Your website is your digital storefront; it should be a powerful reflection of your business. Does it say what you want to say to the people that you want to talk to? Does it do everything you need it to? Does it look good on any screen size?
If the answer to any of those questions isn’t a yes, you may need to budget for a new website, or for updates to your existing website. Make sure your budget reflects the costs of your website.
The Print page has space for you to budget for any print materials by month and item. We prefer to focus on digital and inbound marketing, and have found that print marketing is very useful as a supplement to your other marketing efforts.
Here, you can identify and record the costs of purchasing essential print materials, such as business cards and presentation materials. Additional print materials are often most effective at the events your business may be attending, so you can use the Events page that you’ve already filled out to plan out your print marketing costs.
Of course, the effectiveness of good print marketing depends on your business and your target audience. Your company may find that your audiences prefer to learn and receive information online, so your website and inbound marketing efforts are better investments than extensive print marketing. However, some audiences are best reached by print marketing, so how much money you invest in print vs digital will vary based on who you want to reach.
As you try to pin down exactly how much money to spend on different print materials, you can use the “Details Print, Design etc.” page to specify where the costs of different kinds of print will come from.
If you're trying to decide to what degree you'd like to invest in print materials, check out this guide on Print vs Digital Marketing.
Strategy & Planning
Use this page to budget for any outside strategy costs your business requires. Outside consultants can offer the valuable perspective of someone experienced in marketing for your industry, or in different forms of marketing strategy.
Additionally, they can offer insight into weaknesses and strengths of your company that you may not be aware of, and which may influence the marketing strategy of your business.
This tab can also be used for other resources that your marketing plan might rely on. For instance, you may choose to record the costs of interns as well.
Use the Capital Expense page to record any long-term investments your marketing strategy includes. For example, if you plan to purchase new signage, event booths, or a new logo, you can budget for it here.
Dream Big & Build your plan
Having filled in each section of the template, you can return to the summary section to figure out how much your strategy will cost. We recommend filling out the template for your marketing plan in full, and then identifying any budgetary problems with your plan.
Often it is helpful to dream big and build the plan you want to have if budget is no issue. This will help you to understand what your optimal program looks like and will cost. It can support you in asking for more funding in the future.
We hope this template and approach to marketing planning and budgeting is helpful to you. Let us know how this works – we’d love to hear feedback!
Thanks for reading,
Editor's note: Originally published in 2016, this article has been edited and updated in February 2019.