How to Manage Your Entire Marketing Budget

How to Manage Your Entire Marketing Budget [Free Budget Planning Templates]


By (Erik Devaney)

Here’s a hypothetical for you: Let’s say your company has decided to invest in a website redesign so you can improve lead generation, and you’re responsible for managing the project. Naturally, one of the first questions you have is, “How much is this website redesign going to cost?”

The answer, of course, is “it depends.” Are you simply switching to a new template and adding some new CTAs, or are you migrating your entire site to a new platform? Are you doling out the extra dough for that fancy-pants domain name your company has always wanted, or are you sticking with your current domain name?

If only there were a way to organize your answers to all of these questions; a place where you could enter in estimated costs for all of your line items, and then compare your projected budget to what you actually end up spending …

Good news! Our free resource, 8 Budget Planner Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend, has got you covered. And if you’re actually thinking about a website redesign, we didn’t leave you hanging. Included in our 8 Budget Templates bundle is a template to help you manage your website redesign … as well templates to help you manage your content budget, paid advertising budget, event budget, and more.

Download your 8 free marketing budget templates here for free.

Here’s a peek:

Whether you have budget and don’t know what to spend it on, or you need budget and want to break down your anticipated costs item by item, these free templates can help you stay organized. Best of all, the templates will tally your totals automatically, so you can see what impact spending more on this or spending less on that will have on your overall budget.

Aligning Your Budget With Your Marketing Goals

What you spend and where you spend it will depend on what you’re trying to accomplish. This is especially true when it comes to paid advertising like search and display ads, social media ads, and so on.

Online Marketing Consultant Sarah Goliger says this about how your costs can change when focusing on lead generation vs. lead conversion: «Since most of your spend toward paid efforts will likely be calculated based on volume (of clicks or impressions), it’s likely that you’ll need to put more budget toward the campaigns with higher-volume offers and audiences.

«For example, you’re likely to have more clicks to a tweet or an ad promoting a lead generation offer that’s more top of the funnel than you are to something promoting a lead conversion focused offer that falls more toward the middle/bottom of the funnel.»

Your paid advertising costs will also change depending on how wide of an audience trying to reach. «Take Twitter advertising as an example,» Goliger explains. «You can choose to target your Twitter campaigns based on users’ interests or based on keywords searched for. Interests tend to be a much broader category, whereas only small segments of users are typically searching for any given keyword, so your interests-based audience is going to be much larger and require a larger budget.»

To keep better track of your paid advertising efforts, download the Paid Advertising Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).

Beware Hidden Costs

One of the great advantages to having and maintaining a budget spreadsheet is that it helps you avoid those end-of-the-quarter or end-of-the-year freak-outs when you realize, “Whoa … what did I spend all that money on?”

In many cases, unanticipated costs can force marketers to fork over cash that they didn’t plan on spending. Product marketing offers a perfect example. According HubSpot Product Marketing Manager Meghan Keaney Anderson, it’s easy to forget that successfully marketing your products and services requires more than just promotion.

«When people allocate budget for product marketing they tend to think in terms of product launches and promotional activities,» Anderson explains. «That’s certainly an important part of it, but another area of focus to remember is setting aside resources to conduct research and message testing long before the product ever goes to market. Having conversations with customers about the pain points your product will ultimately address is critical to shaping the messaging and having a successful launch.”

To better manage your product marketing efforts, download the Product Marketing Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).

Remember Where Your Priorities Lie

Marketing is overflowing with add-ons and extras, upsells and “premium” versions. One of the best ways to assess what’s nice to have versus what’s absolutely necessary is to (you guessed it) organize all of your expenses. By keeping tabs on where your budget is being allocated, and cross-checking that spending with the results you’re getting, it will be much easier to figure out what should keep getting budget and what should get kicked to the curb.

For an example, let’s look to the world of public relations. In PR, there are countless tools to which you can allocate budget, which could leave you overspending where it doesn’t matter — and underspending where it does.

«Many of these tools can save you time as part of a robust PR program and help quantify your impact on the organization, which is incredibly important as a marketer,» says Katie Burke, HubSpot’s director of talent and culture. «But when it comes to your PR program spend, I always come back to one central belief: You need to start with a great story, and you can’t wait for other people to help you tell it.

«For me, investing in people and programming to help you develop exceptional content, along with developing and maintaining a robust list of contacts who care about your business and the space you play in is paramount and non-negotiable. That’s the number one thing I remember to prioritize.»

To get better at prioritizing your PR line items, download the PR Budget Template (included in the 8 Budget Templates to Manage Your Marketing Spend).

It’s Not All About the Benjamins

When you open up these budget templates and check out all the various expenses detailed in them, don’t fret if you can’t tick every box. I’m not advocating for an “always spend more” approach to marketing; I’m advocating for an “always spend smart” approach. The expenses listed out aren’t mandatory — they’re just meant to guide your thinking and to help ensure that you haven’t overlooked any hidden costs.

With that in mind, here’s the full list of budget templates included in the bundle:

The 8 Marketing Budget Templates You Need to Manage Your Marketing Spend

1) Master Marketing Budget Template

While it’s helpful to have individual budget templates for specific marketing departments and activities, it’s also nice to be able to take a step back and see the bigger picture. The Master Marketing Budget Template let’s you do just that: It’s the place where you can collect the totals from the other seven templates in the bundle and see all of your expenses in one place.


2) Product Marketing Budget Template

This template will guide you step-by-step through the process of budgeting for a product launch. From determining product/market fit, to running user testing sessions, to promoting your finished product, our Product Marketing Budget Template will help ensure you don’t overlook any important expenses.


3) Content Budget Template

The budget required for creating and promoting content can vary greatly from organization to organization. For example, while some organizations keep most of their content operations in-house, others rely more heavily on freelancers and contractors. And while some use many different software products, publishing tools, and services, others take a much simpler approach.

Our Content Budget Template is designed to cover as many content-related bases as possible. So, if you see any expenses listed that don’t apply to your organization, go ahead and delete them. (That’s the beauty of Excel files: You can customize them to your specific needs.)


4) Paid Advertising Budget Template

Paid advertising: Does it really qualify as an inbound marketing tactic/channel? That is a loaded question, my friends, and one that I don’t have room to answer in-depth in this post. What I can tell you for sure is that you can do paid advertising in an «inboundy» way — i.e. by targeting specific buyer personas and using paid advertising as a supplement to your organic efforts to help drive awareness and conversion opportunities.

Measuring the effectiveness of your paid advertising campaigns is also paramount to doing things the inbound way. Using our Paid Advertising Budget Template, you can keep tabs on your monthly (and quarterly) ad spending, and then cross-reference the amounts with your lead-generation metrics to determine your cost-per-lead.


5) Public Relations Budget Template

Public relations expenses amount to more than just paying for press releases. From reputation monitoring software, to traveling (e.g., to events and tradeshows) to applying for awards, there are many PR costs that can be all too easy to overlook.

To ensure you’re accounting for all of your organization’s PR-related expenses, check out our Public Relations Budget Template.


6) Branding & Creative Budget Template

In a blog post I wrote on the hidden costs of creative work (and how to budget for them), I noted that in order to produce high-quality, innovative graphics, videos, and other content, the branding and creative teams of today need more than just Photoshop … a lot more. One of the biggest areas I overlooked when originally putting this Branding & Creative Budget Template together was storage.

If your organization is producing a lot of video, storage is especially important. Because as it turns out, when budgeting for video storage, you shouldn’t be thinking on a megabyte (MB) or even a gigabyte (GB) scale, but on a terabyte (TB) scale. FYI: 1 terabyte = 1 trillion bytes. You can keep track of all your storage costs (and other branding and creative costs) using our free template.


7) Website Redesign Budget Template

Budgeting for a website redesign can be seriously tricky. With so many moving pieces to consider, there is a lot of room for underestimating or miscalculating costs. We created our Website Redesign Budget Template so you can keep all of your redesign-related expenses in one convenient location.

Looking for a more in-depth walkthrough of the website redesign process? Check out The Ultimate Workbook for Redesiging Your Website.


8) Event Budget Template

When planning an event, the associated costs can seem obvious at first. There’s the venue to consider, of course. And the P.A. system and microphones. And then the costs associated with booking and bringing in presenters/performers. That’s pretty much it, right?


For example, does the venue come with tables/chairs, or will you have to rent those separately? Do you want your attendees to wear name tags, and if so, will you be printing out the name tags ahead of time or will attendees be writing their own names on blank tags? If the latter, have you factored in the pens or markers you’ll need to accommodate that? As you can see, planning for an event can lead you down many rabbit holes.

Use our Event Budget Template to stay organized.


Thanks for reading! Let us know if there’s a budget template not on the list that you’d find helpful.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

free marketing budget templates

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