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Budget and Resourcing

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Digital Marketing - Study Notes:

What is a resource map?

A resource map is a clear layout of all of the resources that you will require and that they will be required for. And the reason why we do this is so we can create a holistic understanding on the various costs that will be associated with the development of the campaign. It also helps us to allocate financial resources in a much more robust way. The final thing that it does, it also enables us to not waste team time and effort. So creating efficiencies is critical. When planning ahead of time, this resource map will save you a lot in budget afterwards.

Defining the budget

When defining a budget, what are the key considerations we need to take in this process?

  • Tools: Tools are the key things that you would require to be able to bring everything else together.
  • Creative costs: These are the production costs. Depending on the level of expertise and quality of production that you require will clearly have an impact on the type of budget that you need.
  • Media costs: That’s the distribution capability and costs that are required to be able to make sure that your customers or the target audience actually gets access and views your creative that you put out there.
  • Human resources: All of this needs a variety of human interactions to be able to bring this together in a robust way.

That’s perhaps a bit generic from a budgeting perspective. What are some of the key things that you need to think about specifically for digital?

  • Investment: The level of investment that you have in digital media is critical.
  • Mix: You need to determine the mix of digital media.

When defining your budgeting process, make sure that you robustly determine the level of investments and how you’re going to invest across your various digital assets as well.

Breaking down the budget

The budget can be broken down to different levels.


Budgets are broken down straight from a high-level strategic point of view, which is clearly done within perhaps an annual budgeting cycle. This is done through our many organizations, where in essence they know at a high level what is the marketing budget for that following year.


The second thing then becomes a quarterly planning process, which is largely business driven. Think about heads of marketing trying to determine exactly what they want to spend their money on, perhaps what type of media resources, perhaps it’s all about trying to understand what the big campaigns could be from a quarterly perspective.


And then finally, you have more operational decisions, which are either done say on a monthly basis or actually even on a daily basis. So, for example, you’ll get marketing managers understanding exactly how they need to tweak their budgets from month to month to be able to optimize the actual campaign that they’re trying to drive. When thinking about budgeting, you need to do it across these three key spectrums.

Optimizing the budget

You can use data and analytics to help you optimize the budget.

You can aim to optimize the following:

  • Payback: You can determine the overall communication effectiveness or payback, often referred to as ROI. It’s important to understand how the campaign is performing for you. If you set out those key KPIs at the outset of the process, you can then benchmark and measure the overall communication perspective.
  • Comparative campaign effects: This is trying to benchmark your campaign versus other ones that have either been done by yourself, or perhaps the results of competitor campaigns or related campaigns. This gives you a sense of benchmarking.
  • Efficiency: Optimizing efficiency enables you to determine how best to, or how cost effectively, you can do a certain key activity. This can involve frugal innovation and agile movement, where you aim to do things in short sharp fire way which enables you to gain maximum efficiencies across the marketing campaign.
  • Cross-brand effects: How can you optimize the partnership approaches that you may have with different brands and gain synergies from those different brands? Or another you’re thinking about it is leaning on those brands as a way to gain incremental value for your marketing campaign. Being able to partner with different brands are a great way to be able to gain incremental value and use their media space as a means to create greater efficiencies across the entire network.

Budget for digital integration

When it comes to budgeting for digital integration, you need to consider the following:

  • Exploit existing resources: Ensure you have a clear understanding of exactly what resources you have available to you at this point in time. Make sure you use full use of them. A nice framework to use in this area to identify with existing resources that you have is think about owned media, bought media, and earned media. You’ll be able to quite rapidly identify those various channels that you have under each of those sections and then make sure you are utilizing them.
  • Maximize your ROI from existing investments: Use your digital auditing process exactly what investments you’ve currently made. Usually you have a variety of digital tools that are already in the marketplace. Social pages, bought or earned media assets, your website, and so on can all be used to maximum effect.
  • Experiment with creative and media: Using A/B testing is a great methodology to use. You put a variety of different creatives into the marketplace using what’s called a champion challenger approach. You can compare the performance of those different creatives which then enables you to determine which one is the one which is the champion.
  • Trial paid-for solutions: One of the major advantages of digital in today’s landscape is the freemium model. The freemium model allows you to trial a variety of products and services, largely either free or in a very cost-effective way. And then in essence, when you know something is working and when you are looking to ramp up, that’s when the model starts to become more of a paid for type of structure. For example, in the email marketing type of world using MailChimp at the outset of a campaign enables you to deliver campaigns literally free of cost to begin with, and then as your volumes increase you need to pay more for those services.
  • Invest: Continually invest in a variety of different assets and techniques. It’s important that you don’t see your digital integration as a static type of approach, but actually a way more comprehensive one where you’re constantly investing in new assets.

Creative media ratio

You need to determine the optimal ratio between the creative budget relative to the media budget. This is the creative media ratio. It is simply the level of budget you attribute to creative versus your media spent. It can help you maximize the support you can offer each activity and a lot of the time ensuring you’re not only investing in creative work that won’t receive enough paid through support or paid support.

If you’re building a creative, you need to make sure you maximize the reach. Monitoring your creative media ratio enables you to determine if you’re spending way too much or too little on the creative or media. Typically speaking, there is no right formula for what that ratio should look like. Traditional marketing functions have tended to go for an 80:20 split between creative and media. However, when you think about the digital disruption that’s currently taking place, that ratio may well be a bit imbalanced in today’s context.

Creative budget considerations

In the creative budgeting space, do not underestimate the amount of time and effort that goes in to developing creative assets. Time, effort, and money are just some of the key pillars that actually need to be considered when thinking about the creative approach. The costs include copywriters, art directors, creative personnel, and so on. And these are often expensive individuals, given the talent that they bring.

And if you think about spending more than 50% of your budget on creative, that could negatively impact performance. Again, consider the creative media ratio.

In-house digital marketing

It's important to think about some of the resources for digital communications, particularly from an in-house digital marketing perspective. This is because largely it’s a fixed cost that you must consider, and it’s one that your department would have spent anyway.

You need to bear in mind three key things when thinking about in-house resources:

  • The amount of time that it’s going to take to develop key campaigns
  • The amount of money that’s required
  • The number and skills of the people that are required to be able to execute a digital marketing campaign


When thinking about the resources required, reflect on the structure in which a digital organization will take shape. Now largely speaking, organizations have put digital into a silo. In reality, and moving forward, it’s going to become much more of a mainstream part of any marketing base function and the structure must reflect this. So we must think about digital marketers being proficient in a variety of different ways, analytics, customer behavior, and channels. That then feeds into the traditional marketing approaches that are then taken. From a resource and budgeting perspective, marketing then starts to take on a much more all-encompassing role than it ever did before in the mix of an organization.

Social media monitoring

You need to think about how you develop your in-house social media monitoring. It’s essential that you give a broad spectrum of individual access to social media monitoring across the organization. You can get surefire, quick insights about your customers on a fairly regular basis, which allows you to iterate your approach pretty much instantaneously.

Bear in mind the following when thinking about your in-house social media monitoring approach:

  • Gain invaluable feedback: It gives you an invaluable feedback loop to your customers. You can ask specific questions and they give you answers in real-time.
  • Establish and refine your tone: You can start to think about your overall communications approach based on pure customer insight.
  • Negate harmful social buzz: You can also use it as a way to proactively negate against any other negative social buzz that’s kind of floating around in the ether.
  • Monitor competitors: Monitor what’s going on that could harm your brand and then negate against it. You may also want to monitor your competitors, see what they’re saying, what they’re talking about, and then respond to them in a robust way.
  • Monitor hashtags: Hashtags are essentially cues with which you can categorize different key things that people are talking about. By monitoring hashtags, you can get key themes of things that people are talking about you.
  • Understand location-based social listening: You can gain a robust understanding of when someone is talking about you to and then be able to get into those areas.
  • Improve content strategy: By having an in-house approach and listening, you can then gain new ideas about what customers want to hear about and then basically build a robust content strategy on the back of that.
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Richie Mehta

Ritchie Mehta has had an eight-year corporate career with a number of leading organizations such as HSBC, RBS, and Direct Line Group. He then went on setting up a number of businesses.

Data protection regulations affect almost all aspects of digital marketing. Therefore, DMI has produced a short course on GDPR for all of our students. If you wish to learn more about GDPR, you can do so here:

DMI Short Course: GDPR

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Digital Communications
Richie Mehta
Skills Expert

This module begins by covering the benefits and challenges associated with digital communications and the importance of researching and selecting the most appropriate digital channels to reach and engage with your target audience. It covers the tools and digital PR activities you can use to extend your reach on social media, content management, the factors to consider when creating a budget for a digital campaign, resourcing a digital team, and the importance of aligning digital metrics with customer service metrics to review the performance of a digital campaign.