5 Savvy Ways to Spend Leftover Marketing Budget


2020 is over in two months and you still have some limited time to wrap up your Q4 and maximize your marketing budget. Every organization has an annual marketing budget and if, somehow, miraculously, you have some leftover marketing budget, don’t let it go to waste! By now, all major marketing spending should be settled and you may have some leftover money.

However, what often happens is that marketing teams try to utilize as much money as they can towards the end of Q4 so that they could easier justify the budget for the upcoming year. This often leads to random decisions that have little benefits to the company. 

Don’t spend money for the sake of spending it. I have some ideas where you can allocate the leftover budget to. 

This spending will be beneficial to your company. Keep up with the current trends and ensure a great end of the year and set yourself for a great start in January. Here is a quick take on what you can do with your leftover marketing budget. Keep on reading!

Experiment on digital ads

In business-as-usual circumstances, it is hard to experiment and test new ideas. Fixed budget for social media advertising, commitment to achieve the set KPIs, lack of time and limited resources is something that prevents most marketing managers from experimenting. 

In November and December, run your usual digital campaigns, but use a portion of the leftover budget to test something new. Who knows, maybe a new campaign will be a huge success and you’ll be able to implement it next year?

Things that you can test:

  • change your target audience, try different ages groups, interests, behaviours, etc. and see what their response is;

  • target a new geo-location and find out the response;

  • try advertising on a new platform. Do you constantly use Facebook? How about testing your ads on LinkedIn?

  • run more A/B tests and find out what works best for your brand;

  • target different keywords on your Google Ads and assess the CTR or CPC metrics.

Remember that a little more promotion hasn’t hurt any brand. A smart way to utilize the remaining budget is to advertise more and test something different that you could potentially incorporate in your next year marketing strategy. 

Use the budget to lay the foundation for the beginning of next year

Every year, 1st January marks the beginning of new (often increased) KPIs. I like to utilize the remaining budget to lay the foundation for the next year. January is often a very slow month in most markets. Where I am based (Malaysia), February is also a slow month due to the Lunar (Chinese) New Year. 

Two first months in every Q1 are super slow for me, however, this doesn’t give me the green light to slack and underperform — the KPIs still need to be achieved. 

I use the leftover marketing budget to prepare. I know that little business will take place in Jan-Feb, thus I’ll start the lead generation effort for Q1 in December. The additional budget will help me secure more leads that will be hopefully converted into paying customers in January and February. 

Another thing to consider — will you require additional marketing collaterals (brochures, roll-up banners, flyers, stickers, etc.) next year? If yes, set yourself for success by preparing and producing them this year. 

Where can you utilize this budget?

  • create new artwork for your product advertising;

  • start advertising special promotions for slow months;

  • print additional collaterals (banners, stickers, posters, flyers, brochures, etc.)

  • create a product video.

Run a blitz campaign

Generate additional buzz about your brand by running a short marketing campaign. Limited time (great) offers are a powerful way to make people talking about your product and brand. 

Such campaigns are also good to generate additional sales for the year-end and make some noise before the beginning of the new year. 

How to use the budget for blitz campaign?

  • allocate the biggest portion of your leftover budget to advertising the campaign (digital marketing, influencer marketing, PR, remarketing);

  • use some budget to cover the discounts;

  • use the remaining budget to cover operational costs (if any).

Invest in new marketing tools to make your life easier

Have you been eyeing some marketing tool that would ease your daily activities? It’s the best time to invest in it with your leftover budget.

However, keep in mind that this tool should help with your activities next year. If you’re looking for a short-term tool, I would consider it twice.

Tools you may consider to invest in:

  • Grammarly Premium for content marketing;

  • Photoshop and Illustrator for content marketing;

  • Canva credits for easy drag-and-drop designs;

  • SurveyMonkey for marketing research and analysis;

  • Video editing tools;

  • Hotjar for consumer behaviour analysis on your website.

  • Any other tools that would make your working life easier 🙂

Invest in your team

Investing in knowledge and skills is the best way to set your team for success next year. Leftover budget can be used on training that would help your team improve their skills or gain new knowledge in fields that could benefit the company. 

There are plenty of opportunities online for e-trainings. Some examples:

  • Udemy has tons of great training options on social media, content marketing, marketing strategy, photo/video editing skills, etc.;

  • LinkedIn Learning is a great tool to gain professional skills;

  • Hubspot Academy is a great place to gain new digital marketing skills.

You can also reward your team by allowing them to choose any training of their interest even if it has nothing to do with their role in the company. Personal development and growth are important benefits that will make your staff feel more appreciated and perform better next year. 

Here you have it — 5 ways to utilize the leftover budget in a smart way. Let me know in the comments section what you normally do with your leftover budget.