What to Do With Your Marketing Budget Windfall (Yes, It Happens)

As the year (and, for many, fiscal year) draws to a close, are you burdened with a marketing budget that’s too large to spend?


More common is the experience of a pharmaceutical client of ours, who went on vacation for a week in August and came back to a 19% smaller marketing budget. Such experiences may help explain why Americans chronically short-change themselves on vacation time.

Even so, organizations are budgeting so tightly these days that the occasional windfall isn’t uncommon.

Sometimes, an executive VP likes a creative presentation so much that she “finds” a bucket of money to add to a spend; sometimes, the boss is so frustrated with how slowly an internal marketing push is progressing that he “steals” money from another budget; sometimes, a company pulls back on trade show appearances, “transitioning” these dollars to marketing.

In response, we’ve had to become adept at making fast suggestions to our clients about spending.

In general, when money hasn’t been planned on, we suggest investing in something other than day-to-day marketing operations. For example, don’t throw money into the pay-per-click budget because, in some number of weeks or months, it will be gone, and the value of the spend will be gone too.

What should you do with a marketing windfall? Here are a few ideas:

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