wastebasket with crumpled marketing budget papers

You’ve crunched the numbers, you’ve planned for Murphy’s Law, and you have a rock solid marketing budget. But it’s a lot bigger than last year’s budget, and the chances are real good that it’ll get shot down.

Don’t sweat it yet—there may be ways you can reduce your marketing budget without sacrificing quality. I’ll walk you through them.

How to Trim the Fat off Your Marketing Budget

1) Do some benchmarking

Look closely at how much you’re currently spending on your marketing efforts, and examine the effectiveness of each activity you’ve done this year. Set up analytics and benchmarks and take inventory on your marketing ROI for each stage of the sales funnel, and make note of anything that underperformed.

2) Get rid of the dross

If you find marketing activities that turned out to have low ROI, see if you can reduce or eliminate that spend. But make sure you have the whole picture before you cut a line item. Just because YOU think it’s a bad spend doesn’t mean everyone else will agree. That golf outing might actually create huge opportunities that you didn’t know about.

3) Consolidate resources

If you’re scaling up your inbound activities, chances are you’ll need to hire additional team members—sorry, Virginia, the all-in-one digital marketer is just a myth. But hiring marketing personnel to meet the demand could bloat your budget more than necessary. You may be able to reduce your budget by supplementing your marketing team with a digital marketing agency. Surprised? Here’s why:

A single full-time employee with a $40,000 salary actually costs your company another 32% in taxes, benefits, and other expenses—for a total of $52,800. If you need to hire more than one full-time marketer, you could actually save money by partnering with an agency.

Plus, an agency allows you to scale up and down immediately, according to your needs—so you won’t be limited by staffing concerns if you have a huge campaign that only lasts one quarter.

4) Arm yourself with data

If you read a few of our earlier posts on analytics and measurement, you know that having data to support your argument will help for more budget—or for reallocating some of it. Even with a larger-than-expected budget, if you’re armed with the right data, you may be surprised how much you can get approved for.

5) Give Options

Try for the big budget, sometimes you might get it. But be ready with a few options that you’re comfortable with. Make your plan flexible enough to scale up or down and provide implications for each option. You might want to have 2-4 blogs per week, but your team might not be ready for it. Scale back and start with one a week, show positive results, and try to get more budget next quarter.