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Balancing Spend and Strategy for Maximum Impact

Beth Moore, head of client services Door4

Understanding how to make the best use of your marketing budget both when it comes to money and the use of your time, is imperative to any successful activity. This is particularly important in the current climate when resources may be tighter, and there is pressure to deliver the best results for your organisation.

In this article, we will explore the factors you should consider when planning your budget, including the fixed elements and those that offer more flexibility, allowing you to pivot if needed.

These factors should include:

  • Activity and Channels
  • Seasonality and User Journey

You’ll need to consider the activity you are choosing to invest in. This can involve acquisition to place you front of mind in Organic or Paid media when users are in different stages of their journey; conversion through improvements to your conversion rate and user experience; and/or development to ensure your site is fast, reliable and conversion first.

Investing Wisely in Paid Media

When considering which activity to invest in, it’s important to invest wisely. For instance, in paid media, there are many channels and tactics to consider. However, to make the best use of your budget –  you need to understand which presents the largest opportunity for your brand. This should be considered in relation to your audience and where that demographic is likely to be searching and/or spending their time on Social. For instance, if you are a brand with a relatively low price point product with a younger audience, and we know the majority of your traffic is mobile, you would expect them to spend their time on the relatively newer Social platforms such as TikTok and Snapchat. Whilst a brand with an older demographic with a higher price point product whereby we know the majority of traffic to your site is desktop, there may be an opportunity for Bing. Without this understanding of your users, there is the risk that you are investing in channels where you are simply appearing to the wrong audience.

Timing and Flexibility in Marketing Investments

Given differing seasonalities, you should also be mindful of the timings of when you choose to invest in channels. Whilst Paid media places you front of mind to acquire users in search and social spaces, you want to ensure this is spent at the most relevant time. Given the added cost of media fees to the likes of Google and Meta, you want to ensure you’re spending at a time when users are going to be searching and in-market, yet also being mindful that as demand increases, it is likely your competitors will be increasing their budgets too, probably increasing those costs per click.

This begs the question, of whether you should be investing when potential demand is lower. Yet, considering whether you can reach users earlier in their journey, this may be when they are in more of a research/consideration stage and/or ensuring you’re making them aware of your brand to build the data, to allow you to target them again once the demand increases. They start to search at the point they are ready to purchase.

Similarly, when considering the best use of budget across activities in line with seasonality, it’s imperative to recognise the timing to see the desired impact of said activity. Whilst Paid media is a relatively short-term results-based output, as you can start to advertise and see results almost instantly. Other activity, such as Organic, through Search Engine Optimisation, takes time to see traction, with this in mind, if you want to ensure you’re in prime keyword positions for your peaks in seasonality, you should likely be considering investing in this type of activity ahead of time. Whilst you may not see the short-term impact on traffic and/or sales at the point of activity, you will benefit when the work has had time to take effect and therefore benefit you through the peak seasonality. 

On the back of this, the same can be said for development, if you are looking to invest in improving your site, whether this is through improving the speed, look or functionality of a site – you’d likely look to do so during the quieter periods of your seasonality. This allows for any large-scale changes to come into effect and understand any potential knock-on of these without risking doing so when you need the site to perform at its best. 

In contrast to this, there is an argument as to when you should invest in time and activity for conversion. On the one hand, this should be done in quieter periods of seasonality to mitigate any risks as mentioned above. Yet on the other hand, if you’re increasing your Paid Media activity to drive additional traffic to the site on the back of larger demand, you’ll be able to see larger benefits from this if you were to increase the conversion rate during this time. Additionally, there may be changes in user behaviour on the website both during and outside of peak seasons.

Managing Expectations and Adapting Your Strategies

With all of the above in mind, we also need to manage expectations on when to expect return on investments. This is especially the case in the likes of Organic (SEO), Conversion (CRO) and Development projects and programmes of work, as whilst investments are required, likely, you will only start to see this pay dividends later down the line. An investment in paid media, targeting users at the point of search and on social platforms with intent for your product, is likely to yield a shorter-term return on investment. 

It’s important to keep in mind that regardless of how carefully you plan your budget in terms of spending and timing, there will always be a need for flexibility. Ideally, you would have a 12-month plan with budgets aligned to account for seasonal variations. This allows for investment in long-term channels during slower periods, with the expectation of reaping rewards when demand increases. However, there may be occasions when you need to adjust your plans. For example, a new competitor entering the market could necessitate increasing investments in organic strategies to maintain competitiveness. Therefore, it’s crucial to be adaptable and ready to pivot your strategies when needed.

Ready to Optimise Your Marketing Budget?

Unlock the full potential of your marketing efforts by partnering with us. Whether you’re looking to fine-tune your paid media strategy, enhance your SEO, or improve your site’s performance, our team is here to help. Contact us today to schedule a call and take the first step towards maximising your budget and driving better results for your organisation now!

Author: Beth Moore, Head of Client Services, Door4

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