Build Your Marketing Calendar and Track Spending

How to complete your hospital budget

  • Map out your budget on a 12-month calendar, indicating when the team produces campaign materials and when the media runs. A Gantt chart easily allows people to see when campaigns are running and helps ensure that production and media are spread consistently throughout the year.
  • Beneath the calendar, list out the total costs of labor, expenses, and media for each month based on which campaigns are in production and live. This helps the accounting or billing department plan ahead on marketing spend each month based on incoming invoices.
  • Once the budget and Gantt chart are complete, it’s time to go back to the CEO, CFO, or COO to review your plan and receive feedback. This meeting is a good time to explain the thought process and strategies behind the budget and to make sure it covers all of the priorities and business goals laid out in the first meeting. The CEO can also relay any information that may have changed in the time between the first and second meetings.
  • With an approved budget, it’s time to move forward with planning, signing contracts and securing vendors. Strive to come in under budget on every line item. Keep track of what was spent versus what was planned, and try to refrain from dipping into the cash reserve. If at the end of the year the cash reserve is untouched, use it to beef up a media spend or produce a project that didn’t make the initial cuts.


The healthcare marketing budget never sleeps

Remember: you’re never really done budgeting. It will never be final (other than at the end of the year), but the key is to accept this fact, be flexible, and create a paper trail of changes by diligently updating your spreadsheet. To borrow a line from Pirates of the Caribbean, the budget “is more what you call guidelines, than actual rules.” Money can and will be moved all around, but it’s worth starting with a solid plan.

Remain calm, don’t lay awake worrying about unforeseen changes, and enjoy the holidays. New projects or campaigns will pop up, acquisitions will fall through, and doctors will come and go, but taking the time to plan out the budget now will continue to benefit the hospital, employees, and community throughout the year.

To learn more about budgeting your marketing dollars, download our white paper, Budget Planning for Hospital Marketing.