Extra budget—seems like an oxymoron, doesn’t it? But there are several reasons you may have ended up with just a little leftover loot in your marketing budget as the year comes to a close: Plans change, the campaign you intended to execute was no longer needed or an event was canceled. Maybe product launches were delayed until next year, or perhaps you were simply more conservative with your budget than necessary.

No matter the reason, if you have discovered some extra spending in your marketing budget, now is the time to decide how it can be used to help reach your predetermined goals. Here, we will take a look at a few options for those final funds.

Goal: Improve Brand Awareness in 2017

How to Spend Now: You already know emotions help us sell, and during this time of the year, what’s more emotional than the holidays? Tap into the holiday cheer to leverage paid advertising online where shoppers are spending more of their time (and money) during the shopping season.

If you are in the B2B arena, fund a client appreciation effort with a holiday theme. Create an interactive digital holiday card for your current and past clients to engage them further and keep your brand top of mind. Get your contacts participating by sending a fun video or even asking them to join you in giving to a charitable cause.

Another approach would be to give them a sneak peek at your organization’s big plans for next year and how they can get involved. Deliver the news via virtual gift they can “open.”

Goal: Increase Demand Generation and Qualified Leads in 2017

How to Spend Now: Everyone is busy during the holiday season—baking cookies, shopping for the perfect gifts, decking the halls—a webinar may be the last thing you think people will attend. In reality, though, professionals are less likely to begin new projects during this time of the year and, therefore, have extra time on their hands. Often, they use this time for continuing education efforts and preparing themselves for the year ahead.

Why not produce and host a webinar to help people do so? When Kuno Creative hosted a webinar about preparing inbound marketing budgets, more than 300 people signed up, giving us the opportunity to capture new leads and touch base with current clients, past customers and even some leads we had lost along the way. And, according to The Annuitas Group, nurtured leads make 47 percent larger purchases than non-nurtured leads. That’s hundreds of leads with whom we can communicate and nurture over the course of the New Year!

Goal: Close a Few Last Sales This Quarter

How to Spend Now: According to Rob Lennon, “An in-person meeting improves your closing chances dramatically,” so investing in face-to face meetings is an insanely smart way to spend your leftover marketing budget. Whether that means traveling to visit your most promising opportunity or just setting up a few lunch meetings with a handful of leads you think are close to signing, your leftover budget could really make the difference in getting those sales and closing the year in the black.

During the holiday season, people tend to be more personable and more appreciative than the rest of the year. Leverage these emotions by dropping off a small gift at their place of work and engaging in a short conversation. Investing in one-on-one time and personalized efforts can make the difference since folks are in the holiday spirit.

Goal: Start Something New in 2017, Like an Inbound Marketing Initiative

How to Spend Now: December may not be the best time to start something new, but it is a great time to set yourself up for success in a new endeavor.

If you are getting serious about implementing inbound marketing, for example, spending the last portion of 2016 assessing your audience and building personas is a great idea. This will build the foundation for your digital marketing strategy in 2017.

Since interviewing your buyers, transcribing those interviews, reviewing the information procured and developing a successful strategy takes time, investing in this process now will help you hit the ground running with content come Jan. 1.

While we may not all have the marketing budget of our dreams, there is often a little flexibility left toward the end of the year. The way you choose to spend it can greatly influence your success in 2017.

How will you invest to better set yourself up for success? Let us know in the comments section below.