Slicing Up the Marketing Pie – Who Gets the Biggest Piece?

Deciding how to allocate a marketing budget is no small feat. Considering the sheer number of avenues begging for your attention (read: marketing dollars), it can seem downright overwhelming to begin cutting up the pieces of your pie.

Budget Pie

While we can’t offer a one size fits all answer to where exactly the funds should go, there are a few things we urge you to keep in mind as you get down to the nitty gritty of budget allocation:


First and foremost, when deciding how to allocate an annual marketing budget, it’s of the utmost importance to identify and define your objectives. Without this crucial first step, you risk wasting your marketing dollars on the wrong audience or the wrong medium altogether.
Ask yourself questions like:

  • What are you looking to achieve through your marketing efforts in the upcoming fiscal year?
  • Have your business goals or needs changed?
  • What actions will you expect your audience to take?

If you know what you’ll be asking of your audience, you’ll know how to better spend your budget based on what mediums best drive consumers to different types of actions. For example, if you’re a local restaurant owner, your goal may be to persuade the consumer to stop in and pick up dinner on their way home. In this instance, radio could be a very worthwhile investment.

Home Field Advantage

Meet your audience where they are, and do your research to find out where they spend their time. You may have a solid grasp on who is included in your target audience year in and year out, but should you use the same mediums as you have in previous years to reach them? This is not the first or last time you’ll hear this – but more than ever, its imperative to consider how much of your budget is being spent in the digital space. According to Exclusively Automotive, people spend more time online that they spend with TV, radio, newspaper and magazines combined. Don’t miss out on the nearly endless opportunities to create multiple marketing touch points in a consumer’s online experience and thereby increase brand awareness and the likelihood that the consumer will choose your brand when it comes time to make a related purchasing decision.

More specific questions to help meet your audience where they are most comfortably and naturally thinking of your industry:

  • What drives your audience to make a purchase or decision?
  • Is your audience on social media? If so, which platforms are most popular for the demographic?
  • Does your ideal consumer research information or make purchases via mobile devices?

Don’t Forget the Details

Through the course of a fiscal year, the small stuff can add up and really impact your budget causing unexpected hiccups along the way if there’s no room in the budget for the “one-offs”.

Things to include room for in your plan might include:

  • Webinars
  • Industry-related Events
  • Trade Shows/Conventions

Ensure you’re researching and planning for the costs of not only attending these events, but also accounting for all of the marketing materials you’ll need to be successful in your ventures. For example: If your company plans on purchasing booth space for a trade show, you’ll need booth graphics like a backdrop, informational packets or flyers about your product or service and possibly even an experiential element to engage attendees. This is just one example of a cost that could come up down the road and upset your budget if you haven’t pre-planned for the full year.

While this is just the beginning of deciding how to allocate your budget, keeping these three considerations in mind while you plan for the next fiscal year will keep your marketing mix strategically driven for success.