Thanks to the rise of MarTech, marketers have become better equipped to make data-driven decisions and prove their contribution to the top line and the bottom line. However, it’s a double-edged sword, as new technologies typically come with higher expectations and a bigger appetite for effective marketing campaigns. And now, the pressure is on: with the new year just around the corner, many marketers are expected to deliver a budget plan that promises better ROI.

Here are a few considerations to help you get started.

Put People, Process, and Data Before Technology

Don’t put the carriage before the horse. Before committing dollars to new or existing technologies, make sure you have the right people and process in place first. Beware of technologies that lack an internal champion or a clearly defined process to implement. Ask yourself, “Who’s going to own the day-to-day care and feeding?”, “Do we have the right data and is it clean enough to power this application?”, and “How will we measure the return on this investment?” Without thinking through the people, processes, and data first, a serious amount of marketing dollars could go to waste. Moreover, since many who hold budgeting responsibilities rely on data to make decisions and processes, it could really cause damage if the data used is of poor quality. In fact, the cost of bad data alone could be enough to sabotage your campaign effectiveness, as it affects conversion rates at every stage of the funnel.

Identify and Agree Upon a Common Set of KPIs

It’s important to agree on a common set of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) shared amongst the team and ensure that everyone understands their individual goals. Each person’s KPIs should complement the collective KPIs of the team so you can work towards the same goal. Visible and agreed-upon key performance indicators are the foundation of accurate measurement, as everything relates back to that. Furthermore, evaluate if your existing data and technology platforms can adequately support the tracking of the KPIs. Additionally, it’s useful to look back on 2018, and determine what challenges did you encounter in terms of reporting and processes? That should serve as a good starting point.

Minimize Wasted Spend

Many companies that are focused on speed and rapid growth take a set-it-and-forget-it approach to MarTech. On the flip side of the coin, larger organizations often find themselves paying for legacy systems that no longer have an internal owner or sponsor. Either way, how can you reclaim those wasted expenses and put the money to better use? For starters, you should audit your vendor contracts and identify potentially overlapping areas or capabilities you no longer require. It could seem daunting to take inventory of the various components that make up your MarTech stack. But if you don’t have a full understanding of what each one does and how they fit into your ecosystem, it’s time to peel the onion and start looking through the layers of complexity.

Another place to look is your sales automation and marketing automation databases. How many names can you safely archive or retire to reduce spend and improve campaign performance?

Tie Marketing Investments to Business Priorities

Separate the must-have’s from the nice-to-have’s and consider what directly impacts sales and moves the needle. What are your marketing campaign successes and failures in 2018? Use the learnings to guide your budget planning. However, if you can’t report on 2018 ROI with confidence, take a step back and make sure you’re setting yourself up for success by putting those data and reporting capabilities in place for next year. Need help building a case for better data management? Download this white paper, How to Build a Business Case for Data Management, for practical ideas on getting buy-in and securing a budget.

Keep these considerations in mind while you plan for 2019 to get the most mileage out of your budget, and pave the road for easier ROI measurement in the coming year.