I’ve sat in on several marketing budget meetings with clients, and have found that most people seem to find it a grueling experience. The ones that get stressful seem to have one thing in common: the goals of the meeting quickly feel insurmountable. There are two commonalities I see in these stressful marketing budget meetings that can be prevented easily – for a stress-free budgeting meeting, avoid these mistakes!

Marketing Plan Before Marketing Budget: A marketing budget meeting is not a place to create your plan – the plan must come first. If you wait until the budget meeting to come up with your marketing strategy, two major problems are likely to occur: (1) you will make poor decisions without the benefit of research or enough time to think, and (2) you will look to last year’s budget to inform the coming year, and will fail to consider new options for improved results.

It’s important never to confuse channels with strategy – it’s never a good idea to try something simply because you can afford it. Set your strategy first, then think about channels that can be used to execute your strategy, then think about how many of those channels will fit into your budget. If the scope of the marketing budget meeting is only the third part of the previous sentence, the exercise will be a breeze.

Cut the Fat: You might be surprised how often I see clients earmarking money for a specific advertising channel or set of marketing materials for no reason other than “it was on the budget last year.” Don’t buy more pens and folders for sales unless you have planned to use them for something. Don’t advertise in the Yellow Pages just because “you always have” – the technology exists now to measure the return you receive from things like the Yellow Pages or other advertising ventures.

So cut the fat from the budget. Make sure you evaluate the success of your campaigns so you can stop what doesn’t work and reallocate the resources to something that will.

These are just a couple common pitfalls that occur in marketing budget meetings. What other problems have arisen in your experience? Please, share in the comments section so we can all avoid them!

Michael Holley
Simple Machines Marketing