Doing taxes and setting a budget go hand in hand. How to manage a marketing budget during tax season, however, is somewhat up in the air.
Your budget is flying directly in the face of another budget – your customers’ – which could potentially be in crisis. Even if you’ve set your budget and done your taxes months before, there’s good chance part of your customer base is feeling the pinch near April 15.
All the more reason your marketing budget should operate along the lines of your median customer’s budget. Starting with the same amount of capital as your customer base isn’t the goal. You do, however, want to start making fundamental spending decisions with the same thinking.
Customers know what’s most important to their budgets. A brand new car, or something else of a certain extravagance, won’t rank too highly.
Whether you’re getting a refund or not, bills and debt tend to get the most attention in tax season by an astronomical margin.
How does this translate to marketing?
Contrary to sour feelings at the time, paying off personal debt and bills always has a positive effect. Why? The more you pay off debt, the higher your future disposable income becomes.
A marketing budget works the same way. Replenishing and exceeding the share of what earned you the most significant return from the previous year(s) provides you with an opportunity for another increase next year. Constraints can also prevent you from foolishly spending on less fortuitous media.
Every new budgeting period affords you a chance to change things up a little. It doesn’t matter where your best ROI comes from – B2B marketing or direct mail, inbound, guerrilla, visual, green, or tee shirts and flyers – your best marketing assets are what’s working right now.
Traditional forms of advertising are on the way out. Radio, TV, and billboards are money pits when it comes to ROI, and you should avoid them if you can find less expensive alternatives.
Remember, the most expensive marketing option isn’t always the best. You could spend 40% of your budget on television ads and see fewer leads than the 15% spent on social media or digital marketing efforts like a new website of search engine optimization.
All experimentation comes with risk. Moreover, risky ventures and budgets don’t often mix. According to Forbes, “at least some of your budget should be spent experimenting with new tactics.”
Social media advertising and influencer marketing are on the rise. No, you don’t have to attract a Kardashian to spin your products, but there are sources online where you can match your products to a bevy of experts with large follower counts.
When you finalize a marketing budget during a stressful season you put your strategies under a microscope. What remains will often get you through the tough times.