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How to get more content marketing budget

Have you ever tried to get more content marketing budget for initiatives or team members, only to have your CEO / CFO / CMO tell you there's not money in the budget for that? On this episode of How To SaaS, I talk about how you can go about making sure Content Marketing gets the funding it deserves to help you drive the business forward.

If you prefer audio, listen to the podcast episode here:

This is actually a very common problem that content marketers face, because the business requires content to be produced across all stages of the funnel, right from top of funnel all the way down through to product marketing, advocacy and thought leadership, so content marketers are often stretched thin, short on resources, and they need more budget to do the things that they need to do to help the business be more successful. Unfortunately, most content marketers can't make a great enough business case to get funding when it comes time to figure out which areas of the business need to get more funding. So in this episode, I'm going to show you four ways you can go about making sure content marketing gets a seat at the table and the right amount of funding.

You can use these links to jump to specific sections:

1. Know your unit economics

2. Know your full-funnel

3. Know your acquisition model

4. Think at least 2 levels higher


1. Know Your Unit Economics

Number one, you need to know your unit economics. This is something that I would try to answer even during the interview process before you even started to work at any company as a content marketer. You need to know how much does it cost them to acquire a customer? What is the lifetime value of that customer? How much money does the business make with that customer that has been brought in through the door? How much do we make in the first year that that customer is with us, and how long does it take us to break even on the marketing spend? The reason this is important is so that we can figure out how much we can spend to ultimately acquire a customer at the top of the funnel. Now, when you look at content marketing activities, there are people working on it, there's money going into a budget. We have to figure out at that top of the funnel based on those four key unit economic metrics, what is it that we can invest in the content marketing budget?

2. Know your full funnel

Number two, you need to know your full funnel. Those unit economics that we discussed are actually made up of other metrics that ultimately contribute to the overall customer acquisition costs. So for example, if you're driving MQLs or form submissions from the content that you're generating, well, we need to know out of those MQLs, how many became sales accepted leads? Out of the sales accepted leads, how many actually ended up becoming opportunities or sales qualified leads, and out of those, how many actually did we end up closing for the business so that revenue was actually coming in? This is something that a lot of content marketers miss is they get caught up in the top of funnel metrics, whether it's visitors, form submissions or MQLs, and then they think that their work is done and the rest is the sales team's problem. Unfortunately, that's not really the case when it comes time to decide where budgets should be given.

If you can prove that a blog post visitor actually ended up becoming a closed won deal, you're not really proving what the value of content marketing is for the business. That's why knowing these numbers can go a long way to helping us get more content marketing budget, because what we need to know is how many leads do we need at the top of the funnel to drive to close deals, to support other areas of the business. This is where all different departments can start working together as a team instead of an adversarial relationship where marketing throws his hands up and says, "I brought in the leads, but sales is not closing them." And then sales says, "Well, the leads you're bringing in aren't good enough." Instead, if we work as a team and track the leads all the way down through the funnel, we can be on the same side and drive the business forward. 

3. Know your acquisition model

Number three, you need to know your acquisition model. Similar to the way we need to know what our MQL to SQL to close rate is, we need to know what are the activities that are going in to driving those MQLs in the first place. So, for example, if we write five blog posts a month and they generate X amount of organic site visitors, how many emails submissions do we get based on that? Out of those email submissions, how many people lead to a demo request form, a free trial form, or attend a webinar to get that lead score high enough to become an MQL? Similarly for channels like paid media, we need to know out of all the dollars that we're spending on places like Google AdWords or Capterra or G2 Crowd or Facebook, what percentage of the visitors are clicks that we're getting on our ads are actually becoming MQLs?

By building out the full acquisition model for the marketing side of the business and figuring out what contributes ultimately to that MQL, we now have a full funnel breakdown all the way through from someone who didn't know us and is just a visitor, all the way down to an SQL to closed won. That full story goes a long way in helping us get more content marketing budget because it helps us figure out how much investment content needs to make in order to make the impact that is expected from the marketing team. 

4. Think at least 2 levels higher

And number four. This to me is the most important piece of advice in this video, which is you need to be able to think at least two levels higher than what your current role requires of you. The reason for this is that your CMO, CEO, CFO, these guys don't want to constrain your budget. Nothing would make them happier than to give you more content marketing budget if you can actually drive the business forward. They want to grow the business just as much as you do. What they're trying to figure out is we have limited resources. Where should we put those dollars, right? 

So for your role, your responsibility is to help them understand out of all the items that they can potentially invest into, content is one of the places where they can invest because it's going to deliver ROI. On your side, what you need to do is figure out how you can make the best business case to help them make the right decision, and then hopefully if content is the right place to invest, they will do so.

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