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The pandemic world has thrown many businesses and budgets into disarray. This is certainly true for marketing teams and departments. Forty-two percent of marketers responding to a LinkedIn/Vision Critical survey said budget constraints were their most significant challenge in 2020 as COVID marketing trends created shifting marketing priorities and required them to reevaluate their campaigns.

If you’re searching online for “what should my marketing budget be” or “how to spend my marketing budget in 2021,” you’ll find marketers with varying approaches. As we look forward to the new year, your marketing budget plan for 2021 might feel a bit like throwing darts while blindfolded.

For most companies, it’s forced a serious discussion about the best way to move forward. If budgets are going to be reduced in 2021, businesses need to manage their marketing more closely and invest in the things that have the best ROI.

Marketing Budget 2021: Set Priorities

Uncertain times make setting priorities crucial. For 2021, you must focus on the areas that provide the best growth potential. You’re going to need to justify any dollars you spend, so it’s important to tie every marketing campaign to tangible business goals.

However, you have to be careful to make sure your short-term goals don’t hurt your longer-term branding. If you’re targeting high-income investors for your financial institution, pitching penny stocks may tarnish your image for the buyers you’re most trying to attract. In marketing, every message plays a role in shaping your brand impression.

Marketing Plan 2021: Shortened Timelines

The pandemic forced businesses to pivot to remain competitive. Expect this agile approach to continue in 2021. That means tighter timelines as companies shift from long-term planning to even shorter sprints and more agile marketing to ensure messaging remains relevant and budgets can be flexible.

For many marketers, it means smaller campaigns, more targeted messages and justifying every expense.

Marketing cadence may change as well. Shorter bursts of sequenced, targeted emails and direct-mail campaigns may become more the norm.

Highly Targeted Marketing

When every dollar counts, it’s essential to focus on high-value targets. Marketers should clearly define the characteristics that define their best customers. Research shows that 90% of a company’s sales typically come from just three or four different types of buyers.

When you can narrow down your best prospects and create buyer personas, it helps you to better frame your messaging. These personas also enable you develop more customized content addressing common challenges and solutions for each type of buyer. Variable Data Printing (VDP) is an especially effective strategy because you can change text, graphics, design and messaging based on customer personas or location-specific information.

Emerging Opportunities

Consumer sentiment and behavior has changed dramatically during the pandemic. Experts believe many of the changes will impact behavior long term. At the same time, it may provide an unprecedented opportunity for companies. Seventy-three percent of U.S. consumers in a study by McKinsey & Company said they switched loyalties during the pandemic. As many as 83% said they will continue to sample new products and services moving forward.

Pay Closer Attention to Metrics

While there may be new opportunities, these shifts in behavior demand careful attention. Look at your metrics with fresh eyes — and with a focus on efficiency. If you’re not getting the desired results, do a deep dive into the data and see if you can determine what needs to be fixed. 2021 will see more A/B testing of marketing concepts to create optimal performance.

Do What Works

When it’s about ROI, you need to focus on what works. In 2021, marketing experts expect three areas to continue producing solid results:

Trust United Mail 

United Mail has helped hundreds of companies deliver their marketing message to customers since 1980. Whether it’s digital marketing, email, direct mail or printing services, United Mail is your one-stop shop to optimize your marketing budget in 2021. 

Get in touch with us today and let us show you how we can help you grow your business — even in uncertain times.