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How to Plan a Digital Marketing Budget

Presented on October 24, 2013

How can you make the case and allocate for digital marketing in your marketing budget? During this webinar, Marketing Mojo’s Janet Driscoll Miller and Sean McCusty will show you why digital marketing needs to be a part of your budget, and how to lay the foundation to make digital marketing work.


Okay, welcome to today’s webinar: Planning and Budgeting for Digital Marketing Success In the New Year. I’m Kari Rippetoe, Content Marketing Manager at Search Mojo, and I’ll be serving as your moderator for today’s Webinar.

Before we get started, I just have a few reminders for you. Firstly, a recording of this webinar will be made available to everyone who registered, and will be sent via email by Monday, at the latest.

Secondly, there will be a Q & A at the end of today’s webinar, so if you have any questions for our presenters, please enter them in the GoToWebinar questions box, at the right of your screen. Finally, we encourage you to tweet about today’s presentation using the hash tag Mojo Webinar. Plus, you can also follow us on Twitter at @SearchMojo.

Today’s presenters are Janet Driscoll Miller, President and CEO of Search Mojo, and Sean McCusty, Sales Consultant at Search Mojo. Janet has nearly 20 years of marketing experience, and in addition to her work in Search Engine Marketing, she has a background in marketing communications. Janet holds a degree in Public Relations and Communications from James Madison University, and she is a frequent speaker at marketing conferences and, in fact, she is coming to us today from PubCon in Las Vegas, and writes for several blogs and print publications.

Sean McCusty serves as an inside sales representative helping match the needs of prospective clients with the appropriate product or service offered by Search Mojo. Sean brings a unique perspective to the sales process, having had extensive experience managing agency relationships from the client side. This point of view helped Sean to communicate the role of digital marketing in an organizations overall marketing strategy. Sean graduated from Hampton Sidney College with a degree in Economics, and has extensive experience in marketing and management with financial services in health care organizations in both the private and non-profit sectors.

Search Mojo was founded in 2005, and specializes in all things search marketing including SEO, pay-per-click, social media advertising, online reputation management, and content marketing. Search Mojo is headquartered in Charlottesville, Virginia, and we also have an office in Charleston, South Carolina. We’ve been featured in several marketing publications and blogs, and we also speak at several conferences including SMX, MarketingProfs, B2B and PubCon. Our clients include a variety of B2B and consumer brands, nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.

And, with that, I’m going to turn it over to Janet now.


Thanks Kari. So, I’m going to start off today’s presentation by talking about, what are the types of things you should be planning for in digital marketing in 2014? What are some things that we see coming, or that are already here, that really could impact how well you perform in digital marketing and your success levels in 2014?

So, let’s first talk about the digital marketing gap. So, this was a study that was done by Adobe fairly recently in September, 2013, talking about where marketers perceive their proficiency gaps. And what you can see here is that, and these are most of the areas we are going to be talking about today, digital advertising, marketing measurement, content management, many of these areas. Personalization and targeting are very, very high gaps, or large gaps, in where marketers see where they are proficient today, and what they need more of, and where they need to become more adept. And so, we’re going to talk a little bit more about these specific areas, actually, and how you can start integrating more information and more strategy into these particular areas, and again, how you can budget for those for next year.

So, we’re going to focus on six main digital channels today. The first one being organic search, followed by content marketing. And they go very much hand-in-hand today, content marketing and organic search. Digital advertising, which is going to be comprised of both paid search and social media advertising, and then analytics and nurturing, for the measurement side.

So, first let’s talk about organic search. A lot of people will say, SEO is dead, and, you know, to some degree they might be a little bit right, in the way we did SEO has constantly been evolving. What we do know, though, is SEO really isn’t dead, it’s just reborn, I guess, in a different way. We still see today, as you can see from this chart, that for both B2B and B2C, SEO is still the main channel of driving lead generation, but also, getting conversions.

And if you look here, regardless of channel, SEO tends to bring the most leads and conversions by marketing channel. So, even if you drive a lot of traffic, the SEO tends to be one of the leaders in driving, what you really care about is the market, which is leads and conversions.

It’s also true of e-commerce. If you look here, organic search outweighs email and social, dramatically, driving traffic to sites and driving conversions as well. So what we know here is that SEO is not dead. SEO clearly is still very, very important, so how can you plan for it?

And also, we’ll take a look here at the way that folks still discover websites. Again, organic search tends to be the way that people are discovering sites. It’s the primary way people discover websites and information. So, knowing that again, SEO is not dead. It’s just changing.

So, as I mentioned, it’s not dead, it’s changing. The only constant in search, is change. If you’ve ever heard that term, it’s really true, that the only constant in search is change. So, we have to love change in SEO when you work at SEO, because that’s just constant for us. And, one of the main ways that it changed in 2013 has been the way you can get inbound links. And inbound links being links from third- party sources that are pointing to your website. Frankly, inbound links is still a major, major, major part of SEO, and to be successful organically in the search engines.

Primarily, some of the ways that you may have seen your company, or vendors working on this before was through links and press releases, and sometimes often using, what seemed like spam-y sights, to get inbound links. And the reality is, Google has cracked down on both of those this year, quite extensively through the Penguin update. There’s been a series of Penguin updates this year and Google is really cracking down on this, specifically Google, but I’m sure Bing will probably do its own thing, as well. And knowing that, you really have to change your strategy in how you get inbound links, as a marketer going forward for SEO.

There’s going to be a much greater emphasis on content, not just to get inbound links from content, but also, there’s been a real growth this year in the acceptance and usage of authorship mark up with Google. And so, Google is basically saying to us, we value valuable content, and we want more ways to find it. And so, content is going to play a much larger role going into 2014, not that it hasn’t played a major role already, but it’s going to play an even more major role, so content marketing and SEO are really going to go hand-in-hand, going into 2014.

There’s also going to be greater emphasis on social. There has been, to this date also, with Google+ and some other possible ranking factors from social media platforms, but you see this with Google+, I think you’re going to see this grow even more in 2014. So, SEO, is now just being touched by so many things, that it’s really part of everything you do, in my mind. And SEO, and that’s why I’m saying SEO has just become more holistic, it really just touches everything you do as a marketer, especially as a digital marketer.

So, how do you prepare for SEO in 2014? First thing I mentioned, is focus on content. Content marketing is going to be huge and very impactful for SEO again next year. Make sure content marketing is part of your SEO strategy, and we’re going to talk about content marketing in just a minute, and it’s important on its own, as well.

Re-think your link strategy. You need to involve your Social Media team, because social media links are inbound links and they aren’t considered, necessarily spam-y. So, you want to make sure you have a strategy across your teams, and making sure that you’re addressing a holistic link strategy.

And make sure your metrics are in place. This is really key, we’ll talk about metrics towards the end of my segment on this webinar, but the reality is, you want to know where your leads are coming from. Most of these marketers are saying, as I showed at the beginning of this segment, how SEO is a great lead generation driver, a conversion driver. That’s great, but is it that way for you, and you need to be measuring these things specifically for yourself, as well. So, make sure your metrics are in place to make sure that you’re measuring everything that you do, and you can see the value from it.

As I mentioned, content market, really great lead in from SEO because, frankly, content marketing is all about SEO anymore. They’re really just becoming one in so many ways, and they really intertwine so closely.

So, why would you want to do content marketing? Well, if you took a look here, you’ll see that content marketing is the plans for this year, this is 2013, most marketers plan to increase their content marketing budget, and that was the most increase you saw of all of the different digital marketing tactics, most people were going to increase content marketing. Why is that? Well, I think a lot of that, again, comes with, A, it’s just a really hot area, you hear a lot of people talking about it, but, B, it does really fold into SEO quite closely, and so, you see SEO also, was the second highest one, that’s got the up tick there for this year, and not surprisingly, it’s likely because they are very, very, closely related.

So, one of the most important things, I think, about content marketing, is that most marketers we see, their program goals for content marketing, and this is a very recent study done about two months ago, says that really the goal of content marketing for most people, is increasing their leads. So, they’re seeing opportunity. It’s not just from an organic search perspective, but also a paid media perspective, not just paid search, but all sorts of things, and even a social medical perspective.

Content marketing touches all the things that you’re probably doing in digital, and it’s a great way to have a reason to tweet, have a reason to put things on Facebook. It gives you some content to use, but it also gives you assets from a paid search, and paid media perspective, so that you have something to offer people to come to your site and sign up.

So, organic search perspective, again, it provides more pages and assets for indexing, always a positive thing, gives you more visibility that way, and it increases opportunities to gain visibility, because the more pages you have, the more opportunities Google or Bing have to index content from your site, the more chances you have of having more breadth of visibility across the engines, and across different topics or key words. And it provides inbound links from social and other channels, so it’s very valuable for organic search.

On the paid search side, it provides assets, again, to offer in ads, stroking lead generation efforts, which is very helpful there. And then finally, from a nurturing perspective, which we are going to talk about a little bit later also, it provides assets to continue the conversation as you mature a lead, and nurture it from a marketing lead, to a sales lead.

So, what kind of content do you need to plan for? Well, you’re going to see lot’s of people say, “This type of content works best all the time, hands down.” For instance, this one, I just kind of came up with, “Video works best for content marketing. False. It depends.” It really does depend. It depends on a lot of factors.

So, you just can’t go in . . . I saw a study a couple of years back from, I think it was B2B Magazine and they said, “White papers. White papers work best for every B2B company.” And we tested that on landing pages, and we found from one of our clients, a B2B software company, it did not work best. In fact, video did happen to, ironically, work best in that particular situation.

So, you can’t just take it with a grain of salt. You can’t read all these studies and go, “Oh, well a video worked for that person, it clearly will work for me.” You have to try lots of things, that’s why I didn’t title this section “Video Marketing,” and I didn’t title it “White paper Marketing.” It’s content marketing, and you have to find the type of content that works best in different scenarios, and different offers for people, and your types of audiences and personas.

Now, let me take you into paid search and talk a little about how that’s changing, and what some of the new opportunities are there, because paid search is changing pretty dramatically. Some of the biggest areas I see for opportunity for next year are product listing ads, which are live now and you can use, and retargeting. And, there are three types of retargeting that you can do. Display ads, and this is through Google, by the way, Google AdWords retargeting. You can do display advertising through Google’s display network.

You can YouTube retargeting, so people who come to your YouTube channel, or they watch a video on your YouTube channel, or they subscribe, you can retarget to them. And, you can also do RLSA, which is Retargeting List for Search Advertising. And, this is where you can actually, retarget to people inside of Google keyword advertising, inside of Google, so the sponsored ads that you see in the top and right-hand side of Google, when a search is performed, you can actually retarget there also.

So, what is a product listing ad look like? So, this is an example, if you look at the left-hand side, this is your typical type of ad you’d see on Google AdWords, on the right are a set of Product Listing Ads. To be a part of Product Listing Ads, or PLAs, you have to participate in Google shopping, and it is a cost-per-click basis. So, you have to have a feed. This is really essential for e-commerce. If you’re selling products online, make sure you are looking at PLAs as an option.

One of the best things that happened for PLAs is that Amazon dropped out. When this became a paid situation and Google Shopping was no longer free for clicks, Amazon dropped out, and so it’s left a lot of opportunity there for other advertisers who are smaller than Amazon to compete with PLAs. So, it shows your ads here, Google picks them and decides what to show based on your feed, and then it also shows it in Google Shopping.

Now, it’s time for a little bit about retargeting. First of all, what is retargeting? If you’re not familiar with retargeting, in Google AdWords, it’s called “remarketing”, but both terms can be used interchangeably. Basically, what retargeting says is that, if someone comes to your site, you can put a tracking cookie on them, and then when they visit another site, like the Los Angeles Times, they’ll see an ad with possibly those exact products, but at minimum, ads for your company and your website, in those different websites.

And, the challenge, especially for e-commerce, but really all around, I think, for any type of website, is that so many people leave your site without converting. On average, 98 percent of visitors leave a site without converting, without requesting a quote, without becoming a lead, without actually purchasing a product. So what we see with retargeting is, there’s an over 85 percent increase in return conversions. Meaning that when people have seen it, and they see they ad later through retargeting, 85 percent increase in returning and actually purchasing a product, or in some way enacting with the site.

So, why retargeting? Again, more than 90 percent of retailers do not complete a transaction when the person visits for the first time. Retargeted consumers are nearly 70 percent more likely to complete a purchase, as compared to non-retargeted customers. So, for instance, if I put something in my cart, my shopping cart, and I forget to check out, if you retarget to me to remind me to check out, you can even give me a coupon, incentivize me to check out, the benefit is they’re 70 percent more likely to come back than if you don’t retarget someone and they just forget about it. So, it’s crucial, especially, I think, from an e-commerce perspective, to be looking at creative ways to use retargeting.

And retargeting consumers spend on average 50 percent more, than those that were not retargeted. They just got regular banner ads. So, it’s a huge opportunity to up sell, and sell more. And this isn’t just true for e-commerce, it’s also true for lead generation. So, it’s imperative you really take a look at retargeting, and see how it can work for you. There’s lots of ways you can do it, but you really need to be investigating it. I feel like, it’s like recycling good potential traffic that maybe didn’t convert that first time.

Social media advertising, this is a really key area, as well. To revisit this slide, we talked about, where are the gaps in digital marketing? Where are marketers feeling like they are having trouble? And one of the major ones, is personalization and targeting. I cannot stress enough, how wonderful social media channels are for this particular area, in personalization and targeting because of the rich demographic information they hold.

Because I like to joke with people that, you know, if you’re on AdWords, or if you’re on any other site on the Internet, no one can tell you’re a dog, unless you’re on social media, because, hey, if you’re on LinkedIn or you’re on Facebook, people know a lot about you already, because of the things that you’ve put into your profiles, and so forth.

And the challenge with paid search by itself, is that it’s got limited demographics. So for instance, one of our former clients sold Social Media Management Software. It was an enterprise level product, and in a 12-month engagement minimum, with $100,000 minimum commitment, so it’s not a cheap product. It’s not a small business product. It is clearly an enterprise level product.

And so, who is searching on the term “Social Media Management Software”, though, as a keyword? Is it the soccer mom who wants to manage her kid’s soccer team Facebook page, who clearly doesn’t have $100,000 or a 12-month commitment, or is it maybe the CMO of a Fortune 500 company? And so, you really don’t know, through just a keyword sometimes, who those people are, and so this is where personalization and targeting are really, really crucial to marketers.

So again, why social? High, high, high level of demographic targeting. So on the left I have here, Facebook and some of the ways that you can target people in Facebook, and on the right I have LinkedIn. There are more ways than this. This is just a sampling of some of the things you can do.

I like to say that, generally speaking, Facebook works really well for the B2C market. LinkedIn works really well for the B2B market, But that’s not mutually exclusive, so do not feel like you have to use one versus the other. But I will tell you that these two platforms allow us a lot of flexibility and digging into specific information about people, and targeting the right audiences and the right personas.

So, when we look at why would you use social ads, again, one of the main objectives in using paid digital media, is lead generation. If you take a look here for social advertising, 37 percent. The biggest reason people use social medical advertising is lead generation, or even direct online sales is very high, here, as well. So, what you are seeing is people are turning to social medical advertising to target the right personas, to get them in to drive leads.

So, let’s start with LinkedIn as a platform, first. This is some case study date we have from one of our clients who did LinkedIn for, this was actually only about a four-month beta test, and what we saw was, when we compared all of our conversions from the previous year, you can see, that, and this is the 2011 data, it was looking at just paid search. Yes, 2011 is paid search, and 2012 is paid search with LinkedIn. And, you’ll notice we got a lot more conversions, right? A 217 percent increase in leads in the same timeframe, so we looked at a four-month swath, and you’re looking at a huge increase in conversions by using LinkedIn, with retargeting with Google AdWords.

So, again, the conversions of 1,500 percent improvement in conversion rate. Cost per lead went down 94 percent, cost per lead. The overall costs . . . so, you might think, okay, that’s great, Janet, you got more conversions, fantastic, but at the same time, maybe you just spent more. Well, the reality was, we spent a whole lot more in that four-month period in 2011 on just paid search. In 2012, we were able to reduce the costs by 78 percent and still increase conversions, it was a huge win. So, we decreased the overall budget and costs, but we were able to increase the number of conversions, and that was key for this client, 78 percent cost reduction overall.

So, what did this mean in terms of ROI for a client? A 281 percent, just in a four-month period, 281 percent increase in revenue, and an almost 1,200 percent in their pipeline leads. That’s amazing! So, this is just a very short timeframe, and yet saw amazing results for this one client. I can tell you that we have lots of clients who are doing LinkedIn right now, and using it with retargeting and remarketing tactics. It is working like gangbusters. And, right now, it’s very inexpensive in many cases to bid in LinkedIn because it’s not overrun with people, like AdWords might be. So this is a huge, huge win. I highly recommend that you take a look at LinkedIn and what it can do for you.

And, then let’s talk about Facebook. So, Facebook, very similarly has . . . actually, similar to Google AdWords, Facebook has its own retargeting. And so, there’s a Facebook exchange option, which you have to go through a third-party company like AdRoll, or some of the other folks that offer Facebook exchange, but just recently announced, just this week, actually, Facebook is now opening it up so that you don’t have to use this Facebook exchange. You can actually, as a marketer, you can actually do Facebook retargeting yourself.

And, I wanted to just share with you some of the benefits of Facebook retargeting. The reality is web retargeting and Facebook, don’t really overlap that much. You can see here by this Venn diagram that was provided to us by AdRoll, that web retargeting and Facebook, don’t really, you don’t really see the same audiences necessarily there. So, if you feel like, oh, well, if I retarget on the web through Google AdWords remarketing, and I do it on Facebook, I’ll be bothering people too much. The overlap is actually very small. So, this would be something I would augment my campaigns with. I would not do an either or. I would augment with Facebook exchange, or with Facebook retargeting in general, not necessarily through the exchange.

And, what we typically see here, is anywhere for a click through rate, especially if it’s in the news feed of Facebook, we see click through rates anywhere between one and nine percent on average, and we see, it says click through rate, and then conversion rates of anywhere between two and ten percent. So, really, it’s quite comparable with what you might expect to see from Google AdWords and retargeting, so I highly recommend you look at this too because Facebook, again, has lots of B2C type retargeting type options and looking at the audiences you want to target through Facebook.

Now, let’s talk about analytics and nurturing, because as we talked about, measurement’s huge, and so marketing automation and some of the other tools out there, can really, really help you. So why would you use marketing automation? And when I talk about marketing automation, I’m talking about tools like Marketo, Eloqua, and the like. Fifty percent of qualified leads are just not ready to purchase immediately.

If you think that a lead comes into your company, and they’re ready to pick up the phone and call you, that is just not how it works in most cases. So, 50 percent of the people who are actually browsing in your site and doing lead research, or researching information, are just not ready to purchase, even though they’ve become a lead, or they signed up for a webinar. Don’t call them immediately, that’s not what they want. So, you’ve got to find ways to actually keep that conversation going, and that’s what marketing automation allows you to do.

Companies that invest in marketing automation solutions see 70 percent, faster sale cycle times and 54 percent improvement in quota achievement. I will tell you that is true for us. We put in Marketo ourselves, and amazing, amazing changes in the number of leads that actually became opportunities as well, for us. We were only passing really qualified leads to our sales team. It saves the time of our sales team to be able to let them just focus on what we know, has the highest likelihood to close, really, really great tool.

And then businesses that use marketing automation nurture prospects, experience a 451 percent increase in qualified leads. Again, we saw very similar numbers ourselves. And, you can generate more leads as well. There’s lots of tools within marketing automation, which I’ll talk about in a minute, that can also be very helpful for you in lead generation efforts.

And, 47 percent of nurtured leads make larger purchases. That’s a win, and we always want that. And companies that automate lead management, see a 10 percent increase in revenue in six to nine months. So, the more you can do with marketing automation, I think it’s going to enable you to be more successful overall with all of your digital marketing campaigns.

So, to go back to our challenge about the gaps in marketing here, personalization targeting was one of the issues, and of course, measurement is one of the issues. So, let’s talk about progressive profiling. This is one of the tools that we have in marketing automation that is so amazing, and most of the tools have this capability. It allows you as a marketer to drive in more leads and propagate information about user over time. Because what we know in marketing is, we have to use fewer fields on our form to generate more leads, because people don’t want to fill out a long form. But you could still get that information for your sales team by using progressive profiling.

So here’s an example of what that looks like. The first time David came to the site, he gets the form on the let and he has to fill out his phone number and company name. But, when he comes back, notice he didn’t fill out country on the first form. It shows up again, the next time he comes back. So, it changes the fields that someone has to fill out, and continues to propagate that user’s profile over time, and then marketers get to prioritize which fields they want to capture, too.

So, here’s another way that we do it, we actually just do it with our forms, easy progressive profiling using a conversation path. So, this is, as an example, a webinar sign up page with four fields on it, and once someone fills that out, they’re taken (there’s the form), they’re taken to this particular thank you page, which has an optional form down here, and it asks you for more information. And surprisingly, 42 percent or more (I’ve seen as high as 80 percent on a given form), but on average, last year we saw 42 percent of respondents filled out that additional optional information. So, there are lots of ways to get more leads in, propagate that profile and marketing automation is just one of the ways that you can do that.

So we talked again about the marketing challenges, marketing measurement being a big deal, right? So, how can we measure better? You’ve got to do more with Google Analytics. If you’re using Google Analytics, you need to be setting up goals. Set up e-commerce, if you’re an e-commerce company, so that you can measure back to e- commerce and goals, and understand how your marketing programs are enhancing and affecting those particular things, those main key measurement points.

You want to use tagging, so you want to make sure you know where things are coming from and use tagging on all of your digital marketing. And use attribution modeling which, if you haven’t seen it, it looks like this. And it’s fantastic, because you can look at many attribution models, like Last Interaction, Time Decay, or Position Base as you see here, and you can figure out, organic search is an example, at that channel, that particular marketing tactic, how is that affecting my conversions based on Last Interaction versus Time Decay versus First Interaction. You can look at however your company wants to attribute your marketing tactics and their success. And so, it’s really pretty awesome, and I highly recommend that you take a look at that as well.

So now I’m going to hand it off to Sean, who’s going to talk to you about winning budget approval, because I’ve told you all these awesome things, you’ve got to be doing this year. Now, how do you budget for them? So, let me hand it over to Sean.


Well, thanks, Janet, for that excellent overview, a lot of stuff to be thinking about in the digital space now a days. And the big question now, for marketing folks is, how do you come up with the funds to have access to all these great options, out in the digital space?

Starting off, and this won’t come as a surprise to anybody, but budgets are definitely moving away from traditional marketing techniques, into digital marketing techniques. As this chart shows on the Internet, and actually, by 2015, we now find that advertising in the digital space is going to eclipse print advertising for the first time. We know that’s been coming. That really doesn’t come as any surprise, but, the thing you need to keep in mind is, allocating budget to digital advertising is important because your competitors are either already there in the digital space, or they’re coming very quickly. So, if you’re not there, you’re going to be missing out on a great opportunity.

One of the big questions that we have when we talk to clients about what they should be doing in the digital space is really, how much of a budget do I need to allocate towards digital advertising? And just as a benchmark to give you an idea, typically, some surveys have been done of marketers across the country, and about half of the companies are going to increase their spending over the next year in digital marketing, but what level of budget do you need?

And basically, if you look at a percentage of company revenue, digital marketing falls in about the two and half percent average. So, it varies from industry to industry, but if you look at an average, you’re looking at the two and a half percent of revenue figure. So, you need to fight for that digital marketing budget. If you’re a digital marketing manager, specifically, or a director of marketing, more generally, make sure that you’re looking at how that budget is allocated across these different areas to make sure that you don’t miss out on the great opportunity that’s there, in the digital space.

So, looking at your internal approval process, every company is different. We have different levels of authority that are allocated within the marketing group about approvals for budgets and so forth. But really, you need to understand what’s your organization’s temperament. What is it going to take to get that approval within your company? Is your company very data driven? Do you need to have a lot of supporting information to go along with your budget requests? Does it take a lot of research?

So, you need to be prepared. Do you need a lot of information about your competitors? Do you need, you know, a lot of support internally, before you can put that budget request together? Is your company risk adverse? Are you not really willing to try new things very often, and is it really an up-hill battle to get that done? What is it going to take to get some movement on new ideas and new approaches?

Another thing that’s very important, is being able to message to the decision makers. So, for instance, if the CEO is the individual in your company that’s going to make an ultimate decision on a new marketing budget item, is it the type of language in your request that they need to hear? In other words, CEOs, a lot of times, like to hear about ideas that support the strategic vision of the organization.

If you need to get the CFO to buy into a new marketing budget idea, do you need to talk to them in terms of maximizing revenue, or minimizing expense? And, if you’re within a marketing department and you need to get buy-in from the Chief, Marketing Officer, do you need to speak in terms of driving qualified leads, or increasing conversion rates? Depending on who you are speaking to, you might need to qualify your message internally, and just remember, you are marketing this budget request internally to the organization.

One of the organizations that I used to work for, referred to this process as “climbing the approval ladder.” So, did you need to get approval from the Chief Marketing Officer? Did you then need to get buy-in from the CFO, to then present this idea to the CEO? Make sure that you’ve got all those folks lined up and on board with your request so you understand how the influence in the organization is going to get the idea pushed forward.

So, structuring your budget “ask”. There are a couple of different ways to go about this, and once again, understanding how your company works and what the approval process is, will give you a lot of insight into which of these approaches may be best. There are other ways to put this together, but these are two typical approaches that we see to be successful for people that we work with, for our clients to get approval done.

The first one is, to budget for proof of concept. And the proof of concept really is to take a new idea, maybe something that you haven’t tried before, Janet talked about social media advertising, for instance. The proof of concept basically says, let’s allocate some budget towards a new idea. Let’s let it run for a period of time, typically a quarter is about the minimum period of time you’d want to allocate for a proof of concept.

Look at the results. If that proof of concept is providing more leads, or more conversions, whatever the goal of the company is, then let’s allocate some additional budget to it, to keep that project going. If for whatever reason, maybe that proof of concept didn’t exactly do what we wanted it to do, then let’s look at another approach that will be successful. But the proof of concept really allows you to really put some ideas out there, give them a try, and measure the results, and then take the appropriate action once you’ve seen how well that’s worked for you.

If that’s not a concept that’s going to work, if you are maybe more in a situation where budgets are set, and there’s not an opportunity to go back and get additional funding to continue a successful proof of concept, then basically you’re looking to budget for something for the year that you have coming up. So, in that situation, we typically look at clients, finding what is their biggest win? What is the one single strategic item that they can focus on, that if it’s successful, it’s going to really push forward the objectives of the company? So, this would be not being able to take advantage necessarily of all the items that Janet just went over with us, but really finding the piece that’s going to provide the biggest success for you. That way, you know what your budget is, you’ve got a plan for the year, and you really can stick to that and measure your success.

So, another important piece to this, getting the budget approved is very important, but really, some steps that you need to keep in mind as you’re working through that is to make sure that you’re matching up the digital marketing initiatives with the organization’s priorities. And, once again, that’s understanding internally what type of information you need to make that point, but what you’re doing in the digital space absolutely has to connect to what the organization’s goals are.

Another piece of that is being pretty detailed about any proposals that involve digital marketing activities. What is it exactly that we’re going to do? What’s the timeframe?What are our expectations? Whose going to do which part of these projects? Can we do some work internally? Do we need to engage a firm outside, and what expertise are they going to bring to make us successful?

Janet talked a lot about measurement and that’s a critical piece, understanding what you’re going to measure, what your expectations are, understanding that the digital marketing activities are really associated with specific goals is going to be very important in getting approval for them. If you can equate social medical advertising to increased quality leads or increased conversations, and that’s a performance indicator that you’re looking at, then you can make that connection.

And finally, if you have questions about how to approach your budget, each company is different. We see a lot of different activities taking place to get budget approval. I’m certainly more than willing to answer questions, or talk you through the process. I’ve certainly been through it a number of times in my career on the Marketing Director side, working through organizations to take new steps and try new techniques. So, we are available to do that, and happy to talk with you. And now, I’m going to hand it back over to Kari.


Thank you so much, Sean. And, if you would like to get in touch with Sean after the webinar, talk to him more about allocating some of your 2014 marketing budget to digital, then here is his contact information here. He is more than happy to speak with you.

And, we do have another webinar coming up in two weeks. This is going to be Janet and Tad Miller, who are going to going through the top fourteen SEO myths and busting them down. Some of the things that you may believe now about SEO, that are actually myths, and they’re going to be busting them. So, that’s going to be November 7th, at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, and you can register for that webinar today at search-mojo.com/seomyths.

And if you’d like to connect with Janet or Sean though social media, or with Search Mojo on social media, here is all the information, and now we are going to take a few questions.