marketing budget strategies

7 Effective Strategies for Budgeting Your Marketing Expenses

Reading Time: 7 minutes

Marketing comes at a cost.

But if you’re not careful — you could easily drain your budget by investing in campaigns that flop or don’t deliver the results you’re looking for. 

That’s why it’s crucial to budget your marketing expenses accurately and prioritize channels that help you reach your organizational objectives. 

Let’s take a closer look at some effective budgeting strategies you can use to budget your marketing expenses. 

But first …

How to Make a Budget

Before applying the strategies we’ll be referencing in this guide, start by learning how to make a budget

Understand your income and expenses — just like you would for your personal finances. List all of your sources of revenue and categorize your expenses into fixed and variable costs. (More on categories in strategy one.)

Then, choose your budgeting method. 


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Your budgeting method will inform what percentages you should allocate for expenses, marketing, and savings to help you stay on track and hit your business goals

Be sure to also regularly review and adjust your budget to make sure it continues to align with your evolving marketing needs. More on this in a bit.

And now, onto those tips …

1. Set Clear and Realistic Goals

Inform your budget plan by considering your goals. 

What specific marketing objectives do you have for the upcoming quarter? 

For example, are you looking to run automated ads to sell digital courses? Do you want to invest generously in influencer marketing campaigns so you can drum up user-generated content (UGC)? 

After listing your goals, create expense categories. For instance, if you’re running ads, you’ll need to set a daily spending limit to stay within your corporate budget. You’ll also need to factor in ad design costs, copywriting fees, and data analytics software. 

In this case, your categories would include:

  • Data analytics subscription fee
  • Monthly copywriting fees
  • Daily ad spending limit 
  • Monthly design costs 

Factor in your savings and goals budgeting percentage to determine how much to allocate for each category. For example, if you choose the 50/30/20 budgeting method, you’ll have 20% allocated for business savings and marketing goals in each budgeting period. 

If you choose to invest 5% in a business savings account, you’ll have 15% left for marketing. Then, you just need to do the math to create your spending plan.

For instance, if you have $20,000 to spend on marketing expenses per month, you might choose to invest:

But you’ll need to break that up by budget category to stay on track.

For example, you might break up $10,000 for automated ad campaigns like this:

  • Daily ad spending limit: $233 ($7,000 total)
  • Data analytics subscription fee: $150 
  • Monthly copywriting fees: $1,500
  • Monthly design costs: $1,350

2. Analyze previous marketing expenses

Have a look at the marketing campaigns you invested in during the previous quarter. (Go back through a few quarters for a more complete overview.)

How much did you spend per campaign, and what was your return on investment (ROI)? What specific budget categories did you have for each campaign — and how did your spending affect your bottom line?

Your main goals for this strategy include:

  • Identify areas of overspending and underspending
  • Determine the most effective marketing tactics

Here’s a chart to help you stay organized:

Considerations Campaign 1: ___________ Campaign 2: ___________ Campaign 3: ___________ Campaign 4: ___________ Campaign 5: ___________
Overspent on
Underspent on
Final ROI
Achieved our marketing goals?
Budgeting category 1
Budgeting category 2
Budgeting category 3
Budgeting category 4
Revenue implications

After filling out your chart, circle where you have over- and underspent. Then, highlight the marketing campaigns that were the most effective. 

For instance, you may have figured out that paying for UGC influencer campaigns is worth its weight in gold. You may also have learned that SMS marketing is a major drain on your marketing budget and has a poor ROI. 

With these insights, you can allocate more funds to UGC influencer campaigns and nix (or re-strategize) your SMS campaigns. 

3. Get Input from All Stakeholders

Meet with relevant stakeholders to discuss business expenses, marketing goals, and budgeting tips. 

Get their input and ideas for cost-saving measures and discuss any major concerns.

To organize the meeting and stay on track, consider using a board meeting template and following Robert’s Rules of Order framework. A board meeting template can help you keep track of what you’ve spoken about at each meeting and any final budgeting takeaways.


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Refer to this anytime you need to plan a budget request submission or review stakeholder expectations around marketing expenses. 

Before proceeding with your next campaigns, make sure all stakeholders are aligned and on board with the final marketing budget plan. (Remember to bring the notes you gathered from strategies one and two to use as talking points during the meeting.)

4. Prioritize the Right Marketing Channels

Create a chart that overviews the marketing channels you’re currently using and the campaigns you’ve published on them over the last few quarters. 

For each channel, list the ROI and any budget categories where you overspent or underspent.

Here’s a chart to help you stay organized:

Considerations Channel 1: ___________ Channel 2: ___________ Channel 3: ___________ Channel 4: ___________ Channel 5: ___________
Overspent on
Underspent on
Final ROI
Achieved our marketing goals?
Reached target audience quickly?
Campaign 1
Campaign 2
Campaign 3
Campaign 4
Revenue implications

Circle the channels that have helped you reach your target audience the fastest while also helping you maintain a high ROI. 

These are the most effective marketing channels for your business — so be sure to allocate a larger part of your budget to them. 

Cut or re-strategize the marketing channels that aren’t helping you reach your goals and have a poor ROI. For instance, you may not have enough revenue coming in from YouTube marketing to justify the amount of money you’re investing in video content. 

Holger Sindbaek, the owner of WOCG, shares, “When managing our marketing budget, we faced the challenge of identifying which channels truly drive meaningful engagement and growth. 

We initiated a comprehensive review, experimenting across various platforms to gauge their effectiveness. This process revealed that despite its complexity, SEO yielded the most substantial return on investment. 

By focusing our efforts and budget primarily on SEO, we not only enhanced our reach but also significantly improved our cost-efficiency. 

This strategic channel prioritization has allowed us to allocate resources more effectively, ensuring that every marketing dollar contributes directly to our sustained growth.”

5. Consider Alternative and Cost-efficient Tactics

Double up on organic marketing tactics and find ways to cut costs so you can stretch your budget. 

For instance, some cheaper alternatives to expensive marketing tactics include organic social media and email marketing campaigns. 

You should also review your marketing tech stack to see if there are any tools you’re not using enough to justify the expense. For the tools you use often, see if you can find cheaper replacement options that still deliver the results you need. 

You might look into all-in-one marketing platforms to eliminate the need for endless marketing apps. Check out Kajabi and Planable, for example.

If you’re collaborating with influencers and other brand advocates, look for partnerships that can still deliver a high ROI — but that doesn’t break the bank. 

For example, instead of working with mega-influencers, look into working with micro-influencers or nano-influencers. Although their followings are smaller, their audiences are highly niche, loyal, and ready to buy. These influencers are also a fraction of the cost.

You might also consider starting an affiliate marketing program so you can have partners spread the word about your business without having to pay them upfront. 

In fact, you’ll only pay affiliates if they bring in sales or help you reach other marketing goals, such as generating leads or website traffic

6. Plan for Unexpected Expenses

Create a flexible budget (within reason), so you have enough room to account for unexpected expenses. 

Or, set up a separate contingency budget for unexpected marketing opportunities — or for potential crises or emergencies that may require additional budget allocation.


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For example, you might add an extra $200 worth of wiggle room for each small marketing expense and $500 worth of wiggle room for every large marketing expense. (Review your budgeting method and campaign expenses to figure out the final numbers.) 

Or, you might simply stash $5,000 to $10,000 away in a separate marketing account in case something comes up. 

This is also a great account to use if you’d like to hop on a last-minute marketing trend without going over budget.

7. Monitor and Track Expenses

Keep track of all marketing expenses using budgeting spreadsheets and a budgeting tool. 

These are important for filtering through budget categories and marketing channels and pulling reports for financial planning purposes.

Be sure to also regularly review and compare actual expenses to budgeted amounts. Make adjustments as needed to stay within budget.

Wrap up 

And there you have it!

Use the seven tips we overviewed in this guide to stay on budget, invest in high-ROI marketing campaigns, and leave room for contingencies.

For good measure, here’s a quick recap of the seven budgeting tips we recommend:

  1. Set clear and realistic goals
  2. Analyze previous marketing expenses
  3. Get input from all stakeholders
  4. Prioritize the right marketing channels
  5. Consider alternative and cost-efficient tactics
  6. Plan for unexpected expenses
  7. Monitor and track expenses

That’s it for now — don’t forget to bookmark this article and share it with your budgeting team at your next stakeholder meeting. 

Author bio


Guillaume is a digital marketer focused on handling the outreach strategy at uSERP and content management at Wordable. Outside of work, he enjoys his expat life in sunny Mexico, reading books, wandering around, and catching the latest shows on TV.

Flying V Group Digital Marketing Agency Logo

Written by Flying V Group

Founded in Orange County, CA, Flying V Group is one of the top full-service internet digital marketing agencies that specializes in website design, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising management, and social media marketing. We are specifically located in Irvine, California. Get in touch with us here!

May 15, 2024



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