Tech mistake |In order to win in the digital era, marketers need to take control of budgeting and forecasting so they can ensure that the right levels of investment are going into the right channels at the right time.

A new report by Digital Doughnut sister company London Research, produced in partnership with business growth acceleration experts weareCrank, looks at the extent to which companies are benchmarking their spending and reviewing their budgets on an on-going basis.

The report, which explores what successful marketers are doing differently from their peers, contains the following recommendations:

1. Forecast rather than accept the marketing budget you’re given.

Marketers need to be in control of their budget, making sure they own it by forecasting it. Getting into the numbers improves understanding, helps you manage agencies, and will ensure you assign budget to the right channels at the right time. You’ll be more agile, responding to inevitably changing market conditions and channel switching, therefore improving returns and growth.

2. Revisit forecasts and budgets regularly.

Marketers who are not forecasting ROI at some level have no benchmark for how well their marketing spend should be performing. They may be leaving money on the table especially if some channels are performing better than expected where it makes more sense to allocate more spend to that area. Re-forecasting can help you get more budget to allocate in order to exceed growth expectations.

3. Invest more in the digital channels that are exceeding benchmarks.

Invest more of your marketing spend in channels where you can see there is more headroom or upside potential; you will hit a cap but you’ll only know what that is by testing it. If you don’t have, or can’t get, more budget then re-allocate from poorly performing channels online and offline in order to maximise return on investment.

4. Continually adjust spend at least every three months.

Continual adjustment and changing of forecasts and budgets improves results. Many customers use multiple devices, so marketers need to understand not only what channels to use, but also what assets, messages and even products and services work best on what devices in terms of ROI.

5. Know your benchmarks and don’t fret so much about attribution.

Benchmarking works best when businesses create their own benchmarks, refer to other third-party benchmark data and monitor any upward or downward swings over time. This should be done for both channel and spend, looking at specific KPIs within each. Attribution is important but not crucial so don’t chase the holy grail – get really good at the basics.

6. Get really good at tracking and tagging.

Although we didn’t ask questions in our survey about tracking, it is the ultimate foundation from which you’ll make decisions about performance and spend. If you’re not tracking correctly, some media will end up in the wrong bucket and you’ll potentially throw money in the wrong direction. If you’re not already doing so, ask questions about your direct traffic.

Check out the full report to learn more.