By now you should be close to having all of your top-line budgets approved and be heavily into the detail of spending the marketing funds you've just been entrusted with. Yet before you rush off to fill the pockets of agency wizards and media-moguls, MarketingProfs. Alain Thys would like to stir things up a bit, with his 7 budget recommendations against which to benchmark your decisions.

Spend 10% on aligning the people in your organization to your strategy: Even though you think you have explained it, most employees around you are oblivious to the brand strategy you have developed. At the same time, they are expected to deliver on the promises you make in your marketing initiatives. As marketer it is your job to ensure they are capable of doing so. This means you need to get involved in employee communication, people development and alignment workshops and initiatives. Most HR departments won't be able to do or pay for this by themselves. So join forces and if required "take the lead".

Focus 10% on research yet shed the orthodoxies to focus on metrics that matter: These days it's perfectly possible to predict the impact of GRPs bought on the sales of the brand. To truly understand what drives consumers, rather than make guesses based on focus groups and surveys. To measure the impact of customer satisfaction on word-of-mouth and future sales. To connect your marketing initiatives to your bottom line. Yet the number of companies that do so remains embarrassingly low. Break out of the research orthodoxies and focus your budget on metrics that allow you to make more money and differentiate your business. De-clutter your life and get rid of all the rest.

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