Has the COVID-19 pandemic set your budget on fire? You’re not alone. Some budgets had to be abandoned all together as small and large businesses alike struggled to stay afloat during the height of the pandemic. We think that everyone is looking for a fresh start in 2021. Keep these tips in mind as you plan your 2021 marketing budget.

Be Flexible

If 2020 taught us anything, it taught us to be flexible. Maintain flexibility when you consider your 2021 budget, especially because COVID will likely still affect us for a good part of the year. Understand that your budget may need to change. You may not be able to make it and forget about it like in other years, and will instead need to adjust it regularly. Consider creating contingency budgets, or back-up budgets, to accommodate for any changes to your cashflow.

Prioritize

The pandemic has changed the way many businesses function. In turn, this has brought about permanent changes. How does that affect how you will operate in 2021? What is your priority? Keep in mind that cashflow could stall throughout the year as rates of the virus increase. Many companies walked away from long-term media buy contracts in 2020. This was a long-held tactic to negotiate better ad pricing and terms. You may want to put less focus on in-person tradeshows, and more focus on virtual events and an increased digital marketing budget. Focus on maintaining brand loyalty and building out your customer base.

Focus on ROI

With budget cuts coming from all sides, line items on the budget that don’t have a clear definition or benefit to the team or customers are bound to get cut. Line items that clearly drive revenue will stay. That means, if you don’t already, you need to put analytics and efficiency metrics in place to clearly understand what is driving your revenue. As you plan for 2021, try to imagine all possible scenarios and their outcomes. Lean on departments to help each other out. HR can help you get the employees you need, and the sales team will help you with lead generation to increase the cash flow. Remember: the most important thing is to show your customer how you can bring value to their life. Your marketing plans and budget should reflect that.