Marketing Budget Planning for 2021: How to Prepare for the Unpredictable

With the New Year right around the corner, many of us have been tasked with creating a marketing budget or plan for 2021. It's time to think outside the box.

marketing budget notebook-coffee-calculator

When planning a marketing budget, there are the staple items most organizations include each year. Most marketers plan for costs associated with digital advertising, email marketing, website costs, etc.

However, when creating your 2021 marketing budget – especially after a year of uncertainty – try and think outside of the box. In other words, create a plan for change.

Nothing about 2020 has been normal. As a result, customer behaviors, decision-making processes, and purchasing patterns have shifted.

Now more than ever it is important to plan for the unpredictable by adding a component of market research to your 2021 marketing plans.

In this blog post, we will discuss research methodologies to help with common marketing objectives. This includes:

To skip ahead, simply click on the objective you are most interested in above.

In these uncertain times, market research can provide you with real data and insights to drive your marketing strategies. Keep reading to learn what market research methodologies to consider and how much you should budget.

Marketing Budget Planning for 2021: How to Prepare for the Unpredictable


Include Market Research for Lead Generation in Your 2021 Marketing Budget

A common goal between sales and marketing is to collect a steady stream of quality leads.

Marketing teams often work to provide sales teams with new contact information through a variety of forums. Think website download forms, webinars, digital marketing, SEO, and so on.

An important component in creating a lead-generating marketing campaign is knowing the behaviors and purchasing patterns of your target customer or consumer.

While many organizations think they know everything there is to know about their target audience, this is not always the case.

Customers are evolving and so are the ways they shop or conduct business. In fact, 75% of Americans have tried a new store, brand, or different way of shopping during the pandemic.

The best way to measure shifts in consumer behavior is through market surveys.

An important component in creating a lead-generating marketing campaign is knowing the behaviors and purchasing patterns of your target customer or consumer.

How Market Surveys Can Help with Lead Generation

Market surveys commonly survey two audiences:

  1. Customers
  2. Non-customers or a general population of people

In a customer survey, a market research company, like Drive Research, can ask questions such as:

  • On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being most satisfied), how satisfied are you with the products and services from [INSERT COMPANY NAME]?
  • What are you most satisfied with? What are you least satisfied with?
  • How often do you use products or services from [INSERT COMPANY NAME]?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to buy from us again?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend our products or services to a friend, family member, or colleague?

In a non-customer survey, similar questions can be included. It is also helpful to ask:

  • Are you aware of any of the following brands?
  • What is your perception of [INSERT COMPANY NAME]?
  • Where do you currently purchase [INSERT INDUSTRY] products or services?
  • What would cause you to switch buying from your current provider?
  • What factors are most important when looking for a [INSERT TYPE OF COMPANY]?
  • What social media channels are you most active on?

Our market research company would also recommend including demographic questions. This information can help cater your marketing message to specific audiences based on their responses.

With insights gathered from a market survey, your organization can create a data-driven marketing strategy.

The more refined your strategy is, the best chance you have of obtaining new business while retaining your current customer base.

With insights gathered from a market survey, your organization can create a data-driven marketing strategy.

The Cost of a Market Survey

The cost of a market survey is dependent on several factors. How many survey responses do you want? Is your target audience B2B or B2C? Are you offering an incentive?

Answers to these questions will help determine how much you should budget for next year. A wide price range would be $3,000 to $10,000.

To get a more accurate cost, please contact our team by emailing info@driveresearch.com or filling out a form, here.


Include Market Research for Digital Marketing Campaigns in Your 2021 Budget

It’s just a blog. It’s just a Facebook post. It’s just a link click. While most professionals understand digital marketing is necessary for this era, it can be difficult to truly show the impact it has on bringing in new business.

Digital marketing is shaping the future of all advertising efforts and can catapult your business ahead of the competition.

However, it is not always as simple as spending money on Facebook or Google Ads to see a strong return on investment.

Quality market research is key to improving your digital marketing efforts. It helps you uncover vital data and insight that allows you to better engage with your audience.

Additionally, the analytics we see from digital marketing platforms do not always provide the full story of how successful a marketing campaign was.

For this reason, our market research firm recommends two methodologies to fuel digital marketing campaigns in 2021. 

  1. Customer surveys
  2. Campaign evaluation surveys

Click each title above to navigate to that section in this post.

1. Customer Surveys

Digital marketing is a powerful tool that allows you to reach both a local and international audience.

This is great because it means you are not limited by geography - but it can also be a significant problem.

Advertising your brand with only one message will not resonate with each segment of customers. This ends up being a waste of time, money, and resources.

Instead, it is essential to know the ins and outs of whom you are marketing to. Through market research, you can identify different segments of your target audience.

Customer surveys can help narrow it down through a range of details including:

  • Demographic info. (age, gender, income)
  • Interests and preferences
  • Purchase history
  • Expectations
  • Wants and needs

Based on the information gathered, your marketing team can create highly targeted messages based on each subset of your target audience.

Based on the information gathered, your marketing team can create highly targeted messages based on each subset of your target audience.

How to segment your target market to create individualized campaigns

Going one step further, you should segment your audiences so that you can tailor specific messages to their preferences.

With the help of an advertising and marketing research company, you will receive a report that breaks down the data by age group, gender, demographics, and more.

If young women are more likely to purchase a pair of shoes because they saw an ad on Facebook, then create a digital marketing campaign targeted to women on this platform.

If older men are more likely to purchase a pair of shoes based on what they find via a Google search, then create a separate digital marketing campaign with Google Ads targeted to this audience.  

Another way to categorize buyers is by where they are in their purchasing journey.

For example, if you have a segment of your audience in the awareness stage, the types of blogs, social media posts, and emails they receive should be focused on revealing who you are, what you offer, and what makes you better than the competition.

On the other hand, a buyer in the consideration stage would benefit from content more focused on the benefits of your product or how to use it.

Now, your organization can easily identify different customer personas to help build a segmented digital marketing strategy.

The cost of a customer survey.

Again, the cost of a customer survey is dependent on several factors. Providing an exact number without knowing the details or your organization and needs is difficult.

On average, the cost of a customer survey starts at $3,000.

To get a more accurate cost for a customer survey, please contact Drive Research by emailing info@driveresearch.com or filling out a form, here.

2. Campaign Evaluation Surveys

Unlike traditional advertising, where you put up a billboard on the side of the road or film a commercial for TV, digital marketing platforms provide you with specific analytics to help guide your decision making.

Not only can you learn exactly how many eyeballs have viewed a particular piece of content and its effectiveness in driving leads, but you can also really dive into a wide range of data about how your digital marketing is performing.

The problem with high-level analytics such as impressions, link clicks, downloads, and followers is that it only gives you one side of the story.

This is even more prevalent if you are a digital marketing agency that creates different campaigns for a variety of clients.

Why campaign evaluation surveys?

If your digital marketing campaign delivered 100 link clicks, but 0 form fills, your client or executive team could care less about how many people clicked on the ad because it led to 0 conversions.

As a digital marketer, you understand a link click is more than just a link click, but you are at the liberty of the basic stats given to you by the social platforms.

By adding an element of research to digital marketing campaigns you can test a variety of factors outside of the analytics provided by a social platform.

Campaign evaluation surveys are a two-tiered market research study. It involves surveying an audience before a campaign is active and after the campaign is compelte.

By conducting a pre and post-campaign evaluation survey, your team can test:

  • How your digital marketing campaign grew brand awareness among a target market or community.
  • How your digital marketing campaign improved brand perception.
  • How your digital marketing campaign increased customer engagement.
  • Don’t you think this data shows more of the progress and positive impact of your digital efforts when sharing with your leadership team or clients?

By adding an element of research to digital marketing campaigns you can test a variety of factors outside of the analytics provided by a social platform.

The cost of a campaign evaluation survey.

I know, you’re probably getting sick of this answer but…it depends. Our market research company works with clients to make our services accessible to fit into nearly any budget. Contact our team to get a quick cost estimate based on your unique needs.


Include Market Research for Content Marketing in Your 2021 Budget 

The best content marketing strategies are built on data, customer feedback, and market research.

Publishing content just to publish it will offer little to no return. However, publishing content based on original research will allow your business to tap into a whole new audience of buyers.

A simple solution to fueling your content market strategy in 2021 is with content surveys.

Content surveys flip the notion of market research on its head. Most think that the insights gathered from marker research should not be shared.

It should be kept in-house and used to drive decision-making to outperform competitors.

While this assumption is not wrong – and market research data can absolutely deliver that goal – it can also be repurposed in the form of content. Think blog posts, whitepapers, webinars, website copy, and more.

Why a Content Survey?

The best way to explain the benefits of content surveys is with an example. A marketing agency would like to grow its business in the restaurant sector.

The firm doesn’t have much content or experience in this space but finds it could be profitable.

To grow as a thought leader in the restaurant industry, the agency works with a market research company to execute a content survey. The survey is targeted to consumers who eat at a restaurant three or more times per week.

The survey asks questions such as:

  • What impacts your choice when choosing to eat at a restaurant?
  • What factors are most important when eating out?
  • Are you more likely to choose a restaurant that offers carry out?

The results from the content survey are used to create an information e-book for restaurant owners and managers.

To access the guide, this audience must provide their information on a download form on the agency’s website.

The marketing agency can grow awareness for their brand and position itself as a thought leader in a new industry.

Plus! They are given a slew of new contact information to add to their marketing and sales funnel.

The Cost of a Content Survey

A content survey is one of the most cost-effective market research methodologies. It also offers a great return on investment because the results can be repurposed in so many ways.

Additionally, because it is done online, results are delivered quickly. However, with most research studies the cost varies per client.

The cost of a content survey will likely range around $2,000 to $7,000.

For an accurate content survey quote, talk to our team! We will respond quickly to help construct your 2021 budget in a timely manner.

A content survey is one of the most cost-effective market research methodologies. It also offers a great return on investment because the results can be repurposed in so many ways.


Include Market Research for Public Relations in Your 2021 Marketing Budget

Getting press coverage is a hard thing to come by during this day in age. With the news cycle being crazy as ever, it can be challenging to earn attention from top-tier media outlets.

One of our market research firm’s favorite methodologies is public relations or PR surveys. So much so we wrote an ultimate guide about them! Check that out here.

PR surveys are a unique way to repurpose market research findings to data-driven headlines. They are your best chance of being featured on national news publication sites, such as USA Today or Forbes.

According to a survey of 500+ publishers, original research is the top attribute to how they describe the perfect piece of content.

What are Public Relations Surveys?

Public relations surveys are a type of online survey that polls a general population of people or a specific type of respondent.

Unlike traditional and confidential research studies, PR polling surveys are written with the sole intention of sharing the results through media outreach.

To write a PR survey, it is important to be very strategic. It is helpful to consult a professional who knows how to word a question to skew certain results.

It is also advantageous to work with a third-party so that your research is deemed credible by new sources.

Why PR Surveys?

Not only are PR surveys the best chance of gaining press attention, but they also offer other value adds to your marketing strategy.

Here are a few benefits of PR surveys:

  • Earn backlinks from sites with high domain ratings.
  • Increase site traffic and domain authority.
  • Repurpose findings into blog posts, whitepapers, infographics, and more.
  • Grow brand awareness of products and services.
  • Become a thought leader in any industry.

Drive Research has seen the success of public relations surveys firsthand. We surveyed 600 gymgoers across the country to measure sentiment around going back to the gym during COVID-19.

The data was featured on 30+ news publications including USA Today and Yahoo Finance.

As a result, our website earned 30 new backlinks and increase site traffic by 520%.

Cost of a PR Survey

If you've made it to this point in the blog post, you can probably assume what the answer will be. Say it with me, everyone! It depends. 

Budget for at least $2,500 - but for a far more accurate quote contact our team, here.


Want to Add Market Research to Your 2021 Budget? Contact Drive Research for a Quote.

Drive Research, a full-service market research company, helps delivers high-quality insights to organizations across the country.

Our professional market research experts have the skills and know-how to quickly execute qualitative and quantitative studies.

Your success is our success. Together we will work to make 2021 the best year yet.

To learn more about our services or to receive a market research proposal, contact Drive Research by your preferred channel.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at info@driveresearch.com
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Coordinator. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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