Let’s be honest, most of us saw our marketing budgets completely blow up in the year 2020. Organizations not only faced an enormous amount of pressure financially but also lost reliability on historical data to help predict the future. This left all of us in a disorienting position. Why? Because marketing budgets are more than cells in a spreadsheet. Marketing budgets are a mindset.

In this Marketing Minute, we want to discourage you from pretending that everything is fine. In fact, we suggest that you “embrace the suck.” By living in reality, you can begin to adjust and shift your priorities. This shifting unleashes your creative power and will assist you in creating and executing an effective marketing budget for 2021.

The key to unlocking a world of marketing budget success rather than marketing budget stress is shift one: flexibility, curiosity, and adaptability. Here are three mindset shifts we suggest for a successful digital marketing budget in 2021:

  1. Budgets are more than cells in a spreadsheet
  2. The future is unpredictable
  3. You cannot just create it and neglect it

Shift two: The future is unpredictable. This is why we have to begin normalizing change within our organizations, especially within our financial departments.

Here’s how:

-Praise flexibility, curiosity, and adaptability as valued character traits. This leadership strategy is incredibly necessary if we want our marketing budgets to remain effective in the year 2021. When we lead our teams to take on the character trait of curiosity, for example, we are more successful at planning for changes in the marketing landscape without basing our predictions on fear. This will create secure, positive outcomes for the budget leaving stress at the door.

-In our current era, a digital marketing budget is vital. The problem is social media algorithms are constantly shifting. We have to urge our teams not to marry editorial calendars and digital marketing budgets. They must, instead, circle back every month and assess what has changed and where they need to scale up to capture demand.

Shift three: You cannot create a budget and then neglect it. You have to allow space for changes and alterations. Again, we are driving the concept of flexibility!

Here is how you create a marketing budget where flexibility is possible:

-Set aside 10% to launch a new product or new branding using a digital marketing strategy.

-Set aside 4% for maintaining visibility and credibility.

*A GOOD TIP: visibility + credibility = profitability

-Set aside 1% for little extras. These are new campaigns and or training opportunities that you expect will pop up.

This budget strategy is the blood, sweat, and tears of marketing work. You work hard to craft a beautiful budget but look for it all to combust and change. This strategy is the only way we’ve discovered you can be successful in the year 2021 with an unpredictable future and a digital marketing game that changes daily and demands you pay attention.

Marketing budgets are hard work, but, as Brene Brown says, “We can do hard things.” So shift your mindset and go with the flow. Marketing budgets are more than rows and spreadsheets and we have no idea what’s next, which is why we must constantly circle back and create space for change.

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