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Creativity plus financial planning, budgeting.

Strategy and Budget Are Not the Same

Jan. 2, 2024
There is a lot of time, effort, and creativity in a successful marketing program. A multi-tiered communication plan involves more than paying for advertising.

For 2024, did you plan an advertising budget or a marketing budget? A budget based on what you are spending for paid placements, or a budget based on the marketing strategy and effort?

A marketing budget covers more than just the advertising spend. Advertising is different from marketing: All advertising is marketing; All marketing is not advertising.

I recognize why that might be confusing. These days there are dozens of “hot” marketing terms floating about. It can be hard to keep them straight!
SEO (search engine optimization) describes the improvements you may implement within your website to make it easier for digital searches to locate it.
Social media is community building (if you are doing it right.)
Sales enablement is customer education. 
Account based marketing is basically personalized information sharing.
Inbound marketing is about telling a relevant story in enough digital places so that people with the problem that your product or services solves will be attracted to your business.
Influencer marketing is specialized, social media marketing where someone of influence shares information about their experience with your service or business to their own audience.
Event marketing focuses on developing and hosting events to promote a product or service to a targeted audience.
Cause marketing aligns the brand to a cause relevant to its audience, typically through donations and advocacy.
Internal marketing empowers your own employees with deep knowledge of the company’s objectives, products, or services.
Content marketing creates materials that share the story of your brand, product or service, solution, or customers.
PR marketing (media relations) is commonly used for new products or major business changes to increase brand awareness leveraging media with news stories and interviews.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of all the various types of marketing. Hubspot has an article – 41 Types of Marketing Your Brand Should Invest In – that also is not exhaustive but does cover a lot of territory! Not a single one of the above marketing techniques involves placing an advertisement, a paid placement that showcases your services, product, or company.

Advertising has its place in marketing strategy. However, your strategy should not be a single tactic at the exclusion of all others. Each of the above-mentioned marketing tactics, and many others, can be combined to create a unified strategy that works for your company. The paid placements of ads certainly can be part of that strategy and may be used to direct audience attention to other tactics, such as the website or an event.

The key to a robust marketing strategy is not focusing exclusively on a single tactic but being where your audience “lives” with information relevant to that audience. This may require multiple tactics to achieve the goal; a marketing strategy should be a multi-tiered communication effort. That may look like an SEO campaign, video testimonials from clients, case studies, or hosting a knowledge-based event. All of those things take time and effort to create – and should be accounted for as part of your marketing budget. That marketing budget should include any needed equipment, time, and talent in addition to advertising placement costs. 

Marketing is bigger than the work of your graphic designer or social media manager.  How your brand is experienced by customers – likely your customer service staff and possibly your engineering or other operational staff – is another part of your marketing that you must coordinate and manage. Your sales team is part of your marketing team. Your HR staff creating internal branding is marketing, as your staff are your best brand ambassadors. Keeping your brand strong and top-of-mind for the solution you provide includes making sure you have enough resources in your budget to cover all of those contact points.

Although not all marketing is advertising, all marketing is communication – communicating the essence of who your company is and what problems your service or product solves. Every marketing technique you choose is communicating those facts. You can create content. You can host events to serve your customers. Or you can place advertisements. But you must include the budget for all of the marketing efforts into your 2024 plan if you want a true window into the cost of your marketing strategy.

Alexandria Trusov is the Global Marketing Director at Alpha Resources and a B2B marketing consultant to manufacturers and other B2B companies. Contact her at [email protected] or visit www.truinsightsconsulting.com.