How to Plan Your 2021 Marketing Budget

How to Plan Your 2021 Marketing Budget

It’s that time of year again where most businesses start the planning process for next year. And if at this time last year, anyone knew how 2020 would pan out then their marketing spend may have been allocated much differently. “Adapt” and “Pivot” have definitely been the biggest topics in marketing plans this year, and while we are still facing uncertain conditions, it is important to plan ahead to ensure brand-building is still a priority and you’re geared towards success.

When we partner with a client, we learn their business and then we create a customised strategic plan suited to their goals and budget. And as time goes by, we learn what works and we come to understand where the focus needs to be. Throw into the mix a global pandemic, and our ability to be flexible and agile, really comes to the forefront to help our clients find opportunities, rather than being reactive.

So, in this current uncertain environment, how does one plan for the year ahead? We’ve heard a lot of people say they can’t wait for 2020 to be over, but does anyone know what 2021 will bring? Here, we have laid out the 4 key areas of consideration as you plan your 2021 marketing budget:

 1.Understand Your Priorities 

Now is not the time to try and do everything and hope for the best. Determine what makes certain activities more critical than others. Evaluate how important certain actions are for business growth, for brand awareness and for lead generation. Create a system to really understand which activities have been driving the most impact for your brand – and do this quarterly. Understanding and laying out your priorities will help guide your marketing spend plan.

mobile-first-website2. Go Digital

Research from the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) shows that the shift towards digital advertising will continue, and its share of total media spend will also accelerate with the ongoing COVID-19 related economic crisis. New and ongoing lockdowns, as well as known COVID-19 hotspots will impact confidence in face to face gatherings (whether that is at events or in retail environments). So, as the population becomes less mobile, Australian businesses will respond by increasing their use of online paid media, over traditional media, the AANA research predicts.

“In Australia, digital ad spend [was] expected to drop 8% in 2020 but will be the quickest medium to recover. By 2022, digital ad spend will represent 61% of the total – significantly ahead of the global forecast” (Zenith Media).

According to, 90% of businesses plan to increase investment in digital marketing in 2021. The question is, will you keep up, surge ahead or fall behind with your brand’s digital presence?

3. Invest in Long-Term Brand Building 

The AANA research above also found that large businesses are more committed to investing their spend behind longer-term brand building exercises. Back in the day of marketing 101, someone needed to see your marketing message 3 times before they recalled it and took action (to purchase or contact you). In 2020, that figure rose to 20 times! So, to gain that amount of exposure required for brand-building, you need a channel that will allow you to communicate with a potential customer 20 times. That channel is digital. With Google and Social Media, you can reach people 20 times for a minimal cost. And this is what helps to build your brand over time.

4. Allow for Flexibility

We are all operating in an uncertain world so your plans should not be set in stone. You need to allow room for flexibility, so that you are agile enough to adapt to any changes that arise in the next 12-18 months. Data from Marketing Dive showed that marketers who were invested in digital tools were quicker to pivot when the pandemic hit earlier this year. By previously investing in digital marketing, it helped 50% of marketers to pivot quickly while the other half were less agile than they expected they could be. Make a plan, then make a plan B and C. While the current environment shows that you need to skew more towards digital, you need a back up plan should trade shows and events re-commence too.

It is likely that there are more changes coming, but with some planning you will be able to tackle what lies ahead. Happy marketing!


We can help you make the planning process easier. Get in touch today to learn how.

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