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How To Negotiate Your School's Marketing Budget
Olivia Malaure

As a school marketer, you're tasked with creating marketing magic on a shoestring budget and that's not easy! We realise that with more funding, the campaigns and brand promotion you could achieve would be even more fantastic, so what's the solution? Get more funding!

This may appear the obvious answer but what we really mean is: explaining to your board the reasons you need more money, in a succinct and structured manner, resulting in the realisation that you could be doing so much more with just a little extra help! How do you go about this? We've identified a few areas to concentrate on when requesting additional funds for your marketing budget.

Identitify Missed Opportunities

By identifying marketing opportunities that were missed last year due to fiscal restraints you can demonstrate the need for a contingency fund. Showing the budget allocators at your school what you could have done, had you had a bigger marketing budget, will really drive home the need for increased funding. As most of you will be aware, digital marketing is continuously evolving so you can't always pre-plan what you will need a year earlier. You can pre-empt this by framing it as an 'emergency fund'. If you need it, you need it, if you don't, it might even be assignable to other areas.

Show Where Your Spend Will Go

Itemise where your increase in spend will go and what the projected ROI will be. Use last year's data (if you have it) to show the input to output ratio. If 'X' funds invested in digital advertising brought you 'Y' in return last year, you should then be able to forecast your projected ROI with additional funds. If the data's not available then show how you'll monitor your ROI going forward so that you can measure the success of your marketing efforts.

Prioritise Your Important Spends

Like any good negotiation you should always ask for more than you expect to get. But to ensure that what's important won't get missed, prioritise your marketing spends indicating what's essential and what you're willing to let go. No marketing team can explore every channel available, but by making an effort to concentrate your budget on the handful of areas that will give the best ROI, you'll be more likely to convince your Bursar.

You can do this by identifying areas where your marketing is weak and where additional funding could benefit. Or perhaps if you're making large investments such as your website or a CRM, look for providers that will allow that investment to be carried over several fiscal years.

Bring Your Competitors Into The Mix

It's always a good idea to evaluate the competition when it comes to marketing output to make sure your school is staying at the forefront of marketing innovation and not missing out on any big opportunities. Showing your Bursars what your competitor schools have been doing is a great way to convince them of an increase in funds as no one likes to be outdone; play on your Bursar's competitive spirit!

Sell Yourself

Although statistics can go a long way to proving the need for additional budget, don't go into your budget meeting with just numbers and facts – put some passion behind your plan and sell yourself! Demonstrate your commitment to your school and your desire to make a meaningful contribution through your marketing efforts. Your passion can go a long way into securing you the funds you need to make a measurable impact in the coming fiscal year.

Don't Ask For Too Much

In an ideal world you would have a budget with room to freely create innovative marketing and communications plans for the year, with no real concern for costs, however we realise that there will always be limitations to what you can achieve and you won't be able to do everything. It's therefore important to not ask your Bursars for too much. You don't want to put them off with budgeting requests that are unattainable; you should only request funds that you know you can spend efficiently and that will increase your school's presence.

The above points are just a few suggestions we have come up with to help you in your quest for a bigger marketing budget. Of course, every school works differently, and you'll know better than us what your Bursar is likely to sign off on, but if you take into consideration our points, we think you'll have a good chance of success!

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