How To Budget For A Marketing Campaign Without Really Trying

How to Build Campaigns Into Your Marketing Budget

By Brent SirvioMay 24 /2022

Campaigns are more than just the seasonal sales drives you see from retailers and car dealerships. They go beyond Black Friday doorbusters or Presidents’ Day mattress sales. Whether your firm is B2B or B2C, including and determining how to budget for a marketing campaign is a critical, essential piece of elevating brand awareness and engaging contacts toward deals, as well as tracking performance and informing future strategy.

If business goals require thoughtfully-developed strategy, every effort to put your brand out there is effectively a campaign; for this reason, campaigns should be a baked-in element of your marketing budget. In fact, a failure to incorporate campaign-centric thinking is a common marketing error that can lead to underperformance with regard to KPIs and cost overruns in a company’s marketing budget.

Let’s review a few steps toward incorporating a campaign-focused mindset into your marketing efforts.

Define Your Marketing Campaign Objectives

What are you trying to accomplish with your marketing campaign? Is it getting more customers into your store or visiting your website? Is it registering for a webinar or scheduling a consultation? Are you trying to increase sales or close more deals? Inbound or outbound, both require an objective – the more clearly-stated and specific the objective, the better.

You’d be surprised how many businesses don’t really know what they want from their marketing beyond ‘more’ – more clients, more business, more subscribers, more clicks. When pressed for a clearer objective, they begin to squirm or get defensive. 

Think about the 5 Ws (with bonus H!):

Who: Who is part of the key demographic you’re targeting? Have you consulted your buyer personas? Do the people you are targeting prompt an adjustment to existing personas or will you need to develop a new persona?

What: What is the goal of your campaign? Your message? What counts as a conversion? What is it you want to see from your contacts and leads?

Where: Where will your campaign take place? Paid search or social? Email? Organic social media? Legacy media? On a landing page? A strong campaign utilizes a multi-channel approach in line with your marketing strategy and understanding of where your audience is.

When: Campaigns should be timebound, with clear launch and sunset dates that should only be modified in very rare instances. 

To qualify this, we aren’t suggesting that marketing campaigns should stop being monitored or measured, but that there should be a natural initial duration for the campaign, and that ongoing measurement and reporting against that initial period is essential toward informing strategic direction in future campaigns. Here at Kuno, some of our strongest campaigns have an impact both at launch and continue to generate demand well after that initial timeframe has passed.  

Why: A campaign that isn’t a natural extension of your brand positioning and identity will undercut itself. Know yourself, and then know why you want to share your marketing efforts with your audience.

How: How do you measure success? How will you follow-up with those who convert during the campaign? How will you sustain a relationship with those who become customers or clients through your campaign? 

Consider what is realistic based on past performance or industry benchmarks. For instance, if your website currently gets about 10,000 monthly visitors, 30% of those visitors become leads and 5% ultimately become customers, you’ll have a better idea of what you can expect from a campaign. You need to focus on driving more traffic, improving conversions or both. If you’re investing in paid advertising for the first time, you’ll want to consider your average cost per lead today so you’ll have a better idea of whether you’re seeing a good return on your investment. 

There’s a lot to consider when even sketching out a prospective marketing campaign. Take the time you need to consider all the angles and clearly define your objective.

Set A Realistic Marketing Budget

We’ve heard a number of questions over the years from clients regarding campaigns. Not surprisingly, many of them revolve around money: How much should we budget for a marketing campaign? Does our marketing budget include campaign costs? Can we save money by excluding campaigns from our budget?

The answers, in short: It depends, Yes, No.

If a company has thought through clear objectives – and partnered with a marketing team that can consult on how best to strive toward them – figuring out cost, size and scope can be relatively simple and straightforward. In most if not all cases, Kuno’s service agreements and scopes of work include the cost of inbound marketing campaigns, which can be monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or anywhere in between.

Let’s take a look at a sample quarter-length campaign:

Objective: To drive registration and attendance for a webinar on a specific topic relevant to the company and potential customers

Month 1: Prime the audience

  • 2-3 value-rich blog posts around a topic 
  • Social media promotion of blog content
  • Email announcement and nurturing to persona-based list via CRM and marketing automation software like HubSpot

Month 2: Ramp to event

  • 1-2 blog posts more centered on the webinar topic itself
  • Social media around blog content and promotional content
  • Email nurturing directly tied to the event

Month 3: Recap and engage further 

  • 2-3 blog posts, including 1 ICYMI/recap post with link to archived presentation and one digest post reviewing and summarizing all the content throughout the quarter
  • Email nurturing for attendees (thank you, CTAs for further engagement) and registrants who didn’t make it (50% of webinar registrants don’t actually attend the presentation!)
  • Social media recap and ongoing blog content promotion

That’s 5-8 blog posts with email messaging and social media management, and we’re not even factoring in any potential paid social or paid search advertising, much of which can be counterproductive and represent a sunk cost if not deployed judiciously. But the good news is that, if you strategize effectively and have the right marketing partner, the cost of the campaign is baked into the cost of the contract.

Think Beyond Your Marketing Campaign

Beyond the campaign itself, what remains is effectively a content cluster: the webinar landing page acts as a de facto pillar page, with 5-8 relevant blog posts clustering around it, creating internal backlink structure. Not only have you executed that campaign, but you have lasting SEO value on your website related to the subject matter, in addition to qualified leads for your business development or sales team to pursue right now!

And once your campaign period ends, as mentioned above, that doesn’t mean it has no worth for tracking beyond its sunset date. With that added SEO value and potentially increased SERP rank, you could see traction from this content a month, three months or a year after the fact.

Marketing Campaigns in Action: A Mini-Case Study

Often times, marketing campaigns are viewed as a one-size-fits-all solution to generate contacts, leads and deals, but campaigns should never exist in a vacuum. Campaigns that are detached from your overall comprehensive marketing and sales strategy or an understanding of your buyer’s journey will not get desired results.

One of our clients, a bulk materials handling solutions provider for manufacturers worldwide, was struggling with their marketing campaigns – in particular, they were seeing traffic and conversions on content offers but that interest wasn’t moving toward conversations with sales, saying nothing of drawing up or closing deals. They were understandably frustrated, they were paying for HubSpot and what was being developed clearly was working in terms of drawing interest, but there was little to no payoff.

The team at Kuno took a look at the campaigns, but also put a closer eye to the strategy that was informing their efforts. We identified a clear issue, not with the campaigns themselves, but how the campaigns were being handed off to qualify leads and get to sales. The issue was that these campaigns were almost entirely divorced from strategy.

In response, we developed some email nurturing through HubSpot Sequences to guide contacts toward consultation, and the results were substantial: those follow-up messages had a 60% open rate (yes, three times the average benchmark for opens!), and through HubSpot reporting and attribution, we were able to clearly tie new deals – some worth six- and seven-figures – to their marketing efforts. When the pieces of the puzzle were put together, everything made more sense. And dollars, for that matter. 

What’s more, Kuno was able to accomplish all of this with little to no additional cost against our client’s current contract and spend, and these campaigns – we incorporated the same approach with prior campaigns, as well – continue to generate long-tail traffic, demand and qualified leads and deal opportunities for them.

Marketing Campaigns, Strategy, Consulting & Reporting: Kuno Can Help with It All

Whether you’re looking to dial up your current marketing efforts with campaigns, want to leverage HubSpot capabilities in your demand gen efforts, or are having headaches with your current marketing model and strategy, the Kuno Creative team can help. Our consultants, design, content and HubSpot implementation experts have experience throughout the company lifecycle to help you wherever you are. Review some of our other articles, take a look around our website and reach out to our team today to see how we can help yours!

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The Author

Brent Sirvio

Brent brings a marketing strategist's perspective and an incisive eye for language to ensure all content deliverables for Kuno's clients are compelling and accurate, adhering to brand guidelines and best practices. Prior to joining Kuno, he held several roles in digital marketing, from web development and support, to account management to HubSpot onboarding and implementation, to content strategy and copyediting. A member of ACES, Brent holds a BA from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and a MA from Bethel University (St. Paul, MN). Sisu.