Ah, the joy of marketing budgets. If you’re like many bank and credit union marketers, you spend a lot of time working with and within budgets. We agonize over making every marketing dollar stretch as far as possible as we simultaneously face the daunting task of doing more, with less, every year.

Let’s pretend, for a fun few moments, that marketing budgets don’t exist. Or, more precisely, that you have an unlimited marketing budget at your bank or credit union. What would you do? Note: voting yourself a much-deserved raise isn’t allowed!Balloon Burst - 1

What does your dream marketing budget allow you to do? Blow up the website? Re-do all your printed materials? Launch a new bank or credit union name project? A complete overhaul of all branding efforts? A serious look at authentic strategic planning?

While thinking about an unlimited budget is fun, it’s not entirely practical. Please note that I said entirely practical. There’s definitely value in this exercise. It’s true that you obviously cannot do everything you want with a mythical unlimited budget. What you can do, however, is use your fantasy list to focus your marketing efforts.

While your marketing coffer is definitely finite, now that you know what you really want to do, focus your efforts there. Prioritize, meet with your staff and management team and decide what should come first. Maybe you’ll tackle the new name next year and the website overhaul the year after that. Maybe you can start initial planning on that branding reboot. Whatever the case, start scratching out the makings of a plan and stick to it.

Daydreaming about money is fun. I’ve drifted off into the “what if we won the lottery?” mythos a few times (trouble with that one is – you have to play to win and I don’t play the lottery). When applying this exercise to our bank and credit union marketing budgets, a little bit of fantastical thinking helps reveal the true deficits of overall marketing efforts and things we can do to address them now and in the future.