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We are Christina and Peter Pilarski, founders and leaders of CIPR Communications.

The next step in working out your marketing budget, after you’ve mastered your sales funnel and worked out your cost per lead, is to get a grasp on what operational costs need to be factored into your budget.

Analyzing your marketing operational costs

The question of operational costs is a challenging one to answer. We have learned from experience that there is usually more to consider than you realize at first. By this stage, you’ve probably mapped out your marketing strategy. Now you need to match your resources to your tasks and outcomes, which inevitably leads to the question of what your in-house team can handle and what needs to be outsourced to a digital marketing agency or some other service provider. You’re not only considering the price tags on each of the marketing tactics you choose to implement. You have to dig a lot deeper and ask questions like what the cost of failure of a particular tactic might be, or what it would cost to assign a key task to an employee who doesn’t have the interest or bandwidth to execute it effectively, or what it will cost to train staff on the use of a particular marketing tool.


This exercise is not only useful when you’re calculating your marketing budget; it’s a great thing to do for your business as a whole. It enables you to drill down into your operations and analyze the costs and benefits of everything you do. From the marketing perspective, it gives you a chance to look at the comparative costs of keeping it in-house versus working with a marketing agency. If you find that you don’t have the capacity to handle your strategy in-house, you may consider hiring someone new to do the job. That decision would come with its own set of costs, which should be weighed against the costs and benefits of hiring an agency. 

The final question you need to ask after you’ve drilled down through all your resources, tasks and costs, is, “What’s the cost of inaction?” If you don’t do any marketing or choose to do less than you could, what would it cost your company in the long run?

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Know your operational costs