3 min read

How to budget for a marketing agency

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It’s that time of year again, and we’re not talking about back-to-school. It’s budgeting season, people! Companies of all sizes are crunching the numbers within their departments to set realistic and manageable budgets that will help them reach their goals.

Over the last 18 months or so, marketing teams have been faced with unique challenges, particularly involving budgeting. The economy has seen unprecedented changes in downturn and growth alike, and marketing teams have had to adjust at warp speed to stay relevant. These quick and dirty adjustments, however, make it difficult to know how to financially map out your moves.

 But we can help! Here are some tips to help you budget for marketing in the year to come.

The current state of marketing budgets

A CMO Survey by Deloitte in February 2021 found that marketing accounts for 11.7% of a company’s entire budget. While this is slightly down from the previous year, it is still considered a record high. But that still doesn’t mean companies have all the cash in the world to dole out to marketing efforts. Nor does it mean that everything can happen in-house.

One of the trickiest components of a marketing team’s budget is determining how much money to allocate to outsourcing. A 2021 survey by Statista shows that approximately 56% of B2B companies hold fully in-house marketing teams, 38% are considered a hybrid of in-house and outsourced, and only 6% of B2B companies achieve their marketing through outsourcing alone. The B2C numbers are comparable.  

Marketing budget

How to budget for a hybrid marketing team

If you’re among the 38% of hybrid marketing teams trying to set your budget for the upcoming fiscal year, here are a few key pieces of advice from the marketing director of a large business that will help you nail down the numbers.

  1. Play to the strengths and weaknesses of your in-house team. If your team is killing the social media game, that’s not an area in which you need outside assistance. On the other hand, if your team struggles with the writing aspect of marketing, you may want to look for an agency that specializes in this area. Don’t outsource it if you don’t need to, but also don’t be afraid to seek out an agency that can help you accomplish a goal your in-house team may struggle with.
  2. Analyze ROI to determine unnecessary costs. If your team is spending money on projects or software that aren’t yielding profitable return on your investments, cut them. See where you can trim the fat, and you may be able to reallocate some of those dollars to your outsourcing budget.
  3. Utilize a targeted approach versus hiring a full-time position. By pinpointing the exact needs of your in-house team, you’ll be able to conserve sizable portions of the budget. For example, if your team lacks a video marketing component, you can outsource component rather than hiring a team member to handle it for more than double the price.

New to outsourcing? Here’s how to get started

Perhaps your in-house team has never worked with a marketing agency before, and you are considering outsourcing for the first time. You may be unsure of how to initiate the relationship or how to collaborate effectively with an outside team. The following tips will allow you to find the right agency for your needs and foster a productive and successful working relationship.

  • Do your research. Before selecting an agency, read up on what their expertise is and what areas can benefit you the most. Choose the one that best matches your needs.
  • Be as forthcoming as possible. An agency is here to help you. The more transparent both parties are, the more successful everyone will be. Share whatever data, research, analytics, or prior work you have for the project with an agency.
  • Be willing to listen. While an agency may not have all the background or context for certain projects, they do have something else that is invaluable: an outside, objective perspective. Sometimes it’s hard to let go and accept new ideas when we’re close to a project, but a marketing agency’s primary goal is to make you successful. Try to keep that in mind.

If you’re still not sure how to work outsourcing into your marketing budget, give us a shout. We’re happy to have a conversation to determine the needs of your business and how we can provide support that’s within your budget.