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How to make the most of your marketing budget

Making the most of your marketing budget is an age-old problem, and one that’s impacting not-for-profit organisations more than ever in the current climate.
Jane Read

Jane Read

3 minute read
March 14, 2024
Making the most of your marketing budget is an age-old problem, and one that’s impacting not-for-profit organisations more than ever in the current climate.
How to make the most of your marketing budget Image

So, if you have a shrinking budget and need to make sure you still hit your objectives, we’ve rounded up a few tips for achieving the greatest return on investment.


Work out what you need up front

It can be tempting to skip straight into execution when money is tight. But investing time (and budget) in working out what your specific goal is, who your audience is, and what will resonate with them is key to getting the best return on investment. Skip this step at your peril. Sure, you may spend less overall. but if what you create doesn’t resonate with (or even get seen by) your target audience, it’s money wasted.


Identify who's reviewing what and when

It’s really important to think about all the stakeholders who’ll need to review and feedback on your campaign. At the beginning of the project, agree who these people are, how often they’ll need to see the work, and at which stages. Don’t forget about review of the brief as well as review of the outputs. Bringing everyone with you on the journey and ensuring you gain feedback early from key stakeholders is vital to project success and meeting deadlines. But from a budgetary perspective, it also reduces the risk of costly re-briefs.


Be smart about what you can deliver in-house

Ideally your budget will allow you to outsource the whole project; through strategy, creative development, campaign planning and execution, content creation and evaluation. In an ideal world, yes.

But if you’re worried your budget won’t cover everything, start by assessing which elements you can cover in-house and which you can’t. For example, if you’ve got someone in-house who’s a whizz at creating social media assets, or knows how to write a compelling press release, make sure you audit those skills in advance and find out how much capacity they have in the time leading up to your deadline. Now when you brief your agency team, you can be clear about what you’ll need support with, and importantly (from a budget perspective) what you won’t.


Guidance and templates

Having established what you can deliver in-house, you can use the campaign toolkit, campaign blueprint and messaging framework provided by your agency to make sure everyone’s executing the campaign strategy in the right way. Another option is to get your agency to design a couple of key assets which can then be amended by your in-house team to suit all of the different messaging strands. In one case, we designed the first 80 more concept-led pages of a prospectus whilst our client worked on the remaining course information pages - before it was all knitted together seamlessly by the University’s in-house team.   


Review, refine and learn

Once your campaign goes live, it’s important to regularly review its performance against your original objectives. Some things will be performing better than expected, others perhaps less well. Use this data to refine and reallocate budget to the best performing channels to get maximum return on investment.

Likewise, it's vita to be aware of external factors which might affect campaign performance as time goes by - for example, new channel trends, industry changes and the political or economic environment. In a nutshell, keep on top of campaign performance, and make sure you react to stay relevant and get maximum use of your budget.

When you’re planning your next campaign, resist the temptation to do what you’ve always done - however well it performed previously. Embrace the idea of reviewing any successes and challenges, reflecting on anything in the micro or macro environment which has changed since, and changing your approach to suit.


Making the most of your marketing budget is all about strategic planning, focused execution and continual adaptation. By following these tips, you’ll unlock the full potential of your available budget and achieve tangible results.

We’ve worked with a number of great organisations to help them make best use of their budgets. Check out some of the impactful content and campaigns we’ve delivered here.