Are you part of a marketing budget war? 

At a time when even the UK Government has a view on cutting marketing spend, it’s not all bad news.

At a time when even the UK Government has a view on cutting marketing spend, it’s not all bad news. This is the time to lean into quality data. As analysing the details of your marketing costs can provide a long-term advantage. 

Data is a critical component in ensuring that marketing budgets are maximised and managed in line with everybody’s expectations.  Brands want visibility into their spend, to understand where their budget has gone and how the results match their investments. Without data, you simply can’t make informed decisions. 

Work together to deliver advanced ROI

Most companies allocate budgets according to historical levels and priorities, not according to effectiveness or company strategy. In fact, around a third of global brands aren’t comparing their marketing spend to any benchmarks at all.   

Something fundamentally has to change, and now is certainly the time to use a data driven approach to allocating your marketing budgets.

The starting point is analysing the return on investment (ROI), and looking at every metric that plays into this. Many businesses will look at the overall spend of a campaign, the engagement during a campaign, and sales produced. But they aren’t looking at the detail of the spend to see how every element contributes to the ROI.

That is where the secret to an advanced ROI lies.

Analyse your marketing spend

Data is key to ensuring you don’t spend more on marketing than you should. It can also reveal if a campaign costs you 20% more than others in the same market. Accurate and up-to-date data to assess your marketing spend should include asset costs, staffing rates and deliverables. You need full visibility into your marketing costs to make informed decisions around the agency you work with, the appropriate channels, the expected results and, of course, the appropriate budgets.   

Ask yourself: are you getting true visibility across your marketing costs? Do you know where every pound is allocated – and more importantly actually spent?

Benchmarking, tracking and reporting are key to unlocking visibility. And so are open, honest conversations with your in-house teams or your agency.

Don’t be afraid to ask detailed questions to shine a light on all areas of your expenditure. The power of information can lead to efficiencies, savings, and ultimately more value.

Data and analytics also play a pivotal role in helping build more positive relationships with your teams or agencies. 

With full transparency, you can make better-informed decisions. The best way to relieve the pressure on your marketing budget is to benchmark your spend. Doing so will provide clarity around where your agency fees, contracts and staffing plans sit compared to your competitors, and also other industries and brands. You can instantly identify areas of potential overspend, which enables you to pinpoint exactly where to start your conversations.

A final tip is to ask Marketing, Procurement and Finance what data they class as important metrics, before you start any review of marketing spend.  Data classed as ‘most valuable’ is often different between departments because of their different objectives. What is unifying is the need for data full stop. So before you review your agencies, have an internal discussion with your colleagues and start collecting, tracking and monitoring the metrics that bring value to the business.

If you are under pressure to cut your marketing spend in the current climate, it is vital you have the data to prove your budgets are being used wisely, and every pound is working hard for you. Insist on the data you need to make an informed decision about your long-term strategy and the agency partners you work with. 

Iain Seers
Iain Seers

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