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  • Writer's pictureLyanne Campbell

Build your Marketing Budget in 6 Steps

infographic of 6 steps to build and track your marketing budget

When I was 18 years old, I began the whole “adulting” thing. Away from home, my very first apartment, my own groceries in the fridge, and my own bills to look after. When I close my eyes, I can still see the coil notebook which I used to track every single penny, sitting on the tiny dining room table. Back then, I didn’t really think about how doing something as simple as that (well, it was simple to me) would set me up for a big part of my future in marketing.




Numbers and spreadsheets have always come somewhat easily to me, and I get that’s not everyone’s jam. If it’s not your thing, there is no reason why, as a marketer, you should not pay close attention to the money you are allocated and spending.


Mastering the art of budgeting will not only put you in a strong position but also empower you, ensuring that you are using the methods and tactics at your disposal to the greatest potential.

So, how do you track what’s happening in your marketing money world?


There are a couple of ways that come to mind.

  1. You may have software that helps with tracking and allocating.

  2. Or you may have a spreadsheet.

I am going to walk you through the spreadsheet option in 6 steps:

Step 1: Identify sections

Step 2: List Campaign Name and Initiative

Step 3: List Tactics and Allocate Budget

Step 4: Enter Actual Spend and Channel

Step 5: Repeat for each Section

Step 6: Summarize

plus a BONUS Tip!

Step 1: Identify sections

Before you begin building your spreadsheet, you need to know what you want to track. For me, I group based on marketing goals—growth, awareness, and perception. I also add a section for other expenses (such as software costs, memberships, etc.).

This screenshot is an example of this.

screenshot of step 1

Step 2: List Campaign Name and Initiative

Once you have your major categories, such as those listed above, assign your campaigns to the category, and break out how the allocation per campaign will be divvied out. In this screenshot, you can see I have the Marketing goal of Growth, then the description of the goal will go where it reads <Insert Goal>.

In the row below that, you’ll add the Campaign Name and the row below that the initiative. If you like, you can add your brand colours, as I have shown here.

screenshot Step 2: List Campaign Name and Initiative

Step 3: List Tactics and Allocate the budget

In the rows below the headings, you will list each method of communication or tactic and allocate a budget amount to each item.

screenshot Step 3: List Tactics and Allocate budget

Step 4: Enter Actual Spend and Channel

Once the expenses come in, you’ll add the actual dollar amount in the 'actual' column and identify the appropriate channel in the column beside it (I like to create a drop-down list for the channels).

screenshot Step 4: Enter Actual Spend and Channel

Here’s why those 3 columns are very helpful:

  • Budget: Ensure that thoughtful planning goes into the best ways to reach the audience. It also helps when you (or someone on your team) need to know how much funds they have to work with for a particular tactic.

  • Actual: You can see how closely you were within budget. If you were able to secure better pricing or another option came up, you can quickly see if you have room to maneuver.

  • Channel: You can easily see where you are allocating your money. If you are heavily weighted on digital channels but know that your audience is a balance of digital and traditional, you may want to reassess how you are allocating funds.

Step 5: Repeat for each Section

Next, repeat this process for each campaign and initiative under your main goal. At the bottom of that main goal category, you’ll sum up each of the campaigns to see the total budget and actual spend you have.

In this screenshot, 64% of the annual budget has been allocated to the growth goal, and 15% has been spent to date.

screenshot totals

Step 6: Summarize

Once you have completed your budget spreadsheet, you may find it helpful to have a summary at the top for quick reference. This will help you easily see how your budget is broken out according to the goals you are striving to achieve.

screenshot - summary

BONUS tip:

If you make a lot of donations – either cash or in kind, you may like to have a separate worksheet with details of the donations. This screenshot shows the total spent to date ($1,300.00), which would likely be fed into the perception goal on the main budget sheet. In the rows below, add details of the date, organization, amount, category and details.

screenshot donations

This is helpful to refer back to if you have a similar request from another group or a repeat request in the future. Also, when you identify the category, you can easily see how you are supporting the various groups and initiatives as per your organization's values.


I hope you found this post helpful. If you would like help building your custom spreadsheet for your business, please reach out. I would be happy to meet you to discuss the best way to get the most out of your marketing budget tracking.

Keep on being amazing,



Lyanne Campbell, founder and consultant of blue dragonfly Marketing Strategies

With a drive to accomplish high-quality results, the marketing work Lyanne has spear-headed in business has been recognized and awarded nationally on several occasions. In addition to this, she proudly holds the Chartered Marketer designation through the Canadian Marketing Association.


After serving 28 years in corporate finance, she emboldened into new territory by striking up a business marketing consulting practice that exists to lighten the load of marketing leaders. Having been a leader in marketing, she appreciates the complexities of the job and the many demands that come with it.


Whether you are interested in learning more about how blue dragonfly can help your business, are interested in joining or learning more about Mastermind groups, would like to chat about a speaking engagement, or just want to meet with Lyanne, this is a great way to get started. Connect today.


Cheers to the beginning of a great relationship.

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