How to Start Your Hospital Marketing Budget


  • Meet with the hospital CEO, CFO, COO, or whoever sets the financial goals, to get the overall marketing budget target for the year. Discuss priorities and business goals based on performance of the past year, and explore any business initiatives that can affect how the marketing budget is divided up.
  • Review last year’s budget (or marketing spend if no budget exists) in comparison to the information learned in the previous meeting. This is a great time to review last year’s analytics and reflect on what worked in the past, what didn’t, and what could be done differently this coming year.
  • Make a list of all departments, services, individual practices and physicians to be included in the marketing plan. Outline campaigns by size and importance based on business goals, reputation drivers, and revenue drivers. Establishing campaign tiers is a good way to prioritize: for example, tier 1 campaigns have a budget of $200,000; tier 2 campaigns have a budget of $100,000; and so on.
  • Keeping in mind tier and last year’s budget, allocate each campaign’s individual budget, making sure they all add up to the overall marketing budget. Once that is done, revisit each individual campaign budget, and break those down into internal and external labor costs, expenses and media dollars.
  • Under each individual campaign, make a list of tactics or projects and assign each of those line items individual budgets broken down by internal and external labor costs, expenses, and media dollars.
  • Revisit each campaign and cut 10% of the budget from each individual line item. Take all of this money and set it aside in a separate line on the budget sheet as a cash reserve for unexpected projects or campaigns that will inevitably pop up over the course of the year.

Read the remaining steps to creating a hospital marketing budget and calendar in the post titled, “Build Your Marketing Calendar and Track Spending.”

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