3 Tips for Your Food Brand’s 2021 Marketing Budget

How Can You Make Your Food Marketing Budget Work Harder in 2021?

The first quarter of the new year is always an exciting time for marketers and brand managers. Hopefully, you’re like me and look at the new year with fresh eyes and excitement for the year to come. This is the time of year I get to take time and evaluate and even scrutinize our clients’ annual marketing budgets, no matter the brand’s size. Here are a few tips on how I go about making a marketing budget work as hard as it can for our clients.

1. Have a Plan

You’d be surprised by the number of brands (even larger brands) we initially start working with that have a round budget number, but not an actual strategic plan on how to spend their dollars. Throwing dollars at the wind does not work long-term! This typically results in spending too much money on an ineffective plan or the reverse, not enough dollars to really move the needle.

When making your plan, did you talk to your sales team? That’s a major budget buster if sales aren’t in sync with your plan. Marketing teams need to understand the sales strategy so that the plans are promoting the right products in the right markets. On the flip side, sales need to be informed of the marketing strategy and have some understanding of how marketing is helping sales. They don’t have to be in total agreement with the tactics, but simply an understanding. Been there, done that, am I right?

I also like to look at plans in terms of buckets; creating categories so that you have a well-rounded plan. Typical buckets I like to build into marketing budgets include, but are not limited to, Sales Driven, Media, Digital, Shopper Marketing, and Creative Development. This brings me to my next tip:

2. Invest in Creative Development

I like to build larger creative development projects into marketing budgets for our brands we work with. This typically takes shape in the form of a campaign or something to hang your hat on, so to speak.

Campaigns can last a minimum of two years, depending on your tactical/media budget delivering that creative. Sure, if you’re Coke and you have super large marketing budgets campaigns can get stale quickly. But even powerhouse brands like Coke will keep a campaign running for at least a year.

However, smaller brands don’t typically have the type of media dollars that warrant changing a campaign every two years. Heck, we’ve had some brands that have used the same campaign for going on 4 years! Remember, marketers typically get sick of the campaign before the audience does.

3. Course Correct When Needed

How often do you review your marketing budgets? Personally, I like to look at our brands’ marketing budgets monthly and I track actuals. Did you underspend in one “bucket” for a particular month? Notice a tactic that’s not working as hard as it should? Reallocate. Marketing is a process. If you see something working perhaps invest a little bit more and move dollars within your buckets.

Remember plans are typically made months in advance, so a little predicting goes on when building marketing plans. For example, maybe you planned for a product to launch in a certain time frame or gain distribution in a certain market and things didn’t go according to plan… move those dollars, or plan for something new!

As a media planner/buyer, I also know good opportunities are presented all the time. While it’s worthwhile to listen, if the tactic doesn’t fit in your overall strategy it’s best to pass. On the other hand, if it’s a truly amazing deal that fits your brand you have some options; either cut something that doesn’t work as hard in terms of delivering ROI or be okay with going over budget for a great opportunity.

Need help making your marketing budget work for you?

If you have any questions about how to build your food brand marketing budget, please reach out to the NewPoint team. If you are interested in more food brand marketing topics, please visit our Food for Thought page or check out NewPoint’s Patrick Nycz’s book: Moving Your Brand Up the Food Chain.