2019 may feel like a lifetime ago, but if you can remember back to Q3/Q4 of last year, how did you start budgeting for 2020?

File + Save As of your 2019 budget doc?


In any normal year, using your previous year’s budget as your starting point for the following year is a perfectly logical approach. But 2020 has been anything but normal, which means your 2021 budget is unlikely to mirror the budget you started this year with. 

In fact, according to the 2018 Marketing Spend Decision Report, B2B brands said they allocate roughly half of their marketing budgets to exhibitions. That money certainly went unspent this year – and 2021 is also shaping up to be less events driven. In fact, our new data report showed that over half of tech marketers  may sit out next year’s event circuit. That means a significant portion of yearly marketing budgets is up in the air.

So with no template to use as a guide for your 2021 marketing and PR budget, where do you begin? While I don’t want to give away all of the secrets in our new 2021 budgeting playbook (shameless plug), here are 7 questions to help get you started:

  1. What percent of our 2020 marketing budget went toward tactics that are unlikely to be a focus area in 2021 (e.g., tradeshows, customer events, sales and networking travel)?
  2. What goals did those tactics help achieve?
  3. What other tactics can be used to reach those goals instead? How much investment will each need?
  4. Which marketing strategies have proven most effective since March – in light of the changing buying patterns ushered in by coronavirus?
  5. What new opportunities do we have to test strategies, tactics, messaging, creative, etc., based on shifting budgets?
  6. How can we extend our typical marketing measurements to prove the value of our marketing plan?
  7. What possible economic and societal factors might impact next year’s budget?

Answering these questions will help you understand how to map your 2021 tech marketing budget to your goals, which strategies and tactics are most worth investing in, and how to measure your resulting success.

For more tips, including charts that detail how pre-COVID marketing tactics map to a post-COVID world, corresponding metrics to measure and a variety of scenarios to plan for, download our Creating Your 2021 Marketing Budget playbook now.

As SVP of digital marketing and analytics and ARPR’s resident data geek, Renee bridges the gap between traditional PR and lead generation.

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