Zehnder Communications, Inc.

5 Ways to Make the Most of Your Leftover 2017 Marketing Budget

Believe it or not, having excess budget at the end of the year can present a problem for some marketers. If you’re in a “use it or lose it” situation, want to make the most of tax-advantageous opportunities in 2017, or simply want to start 2018 with a clean slate, consider some of the end-of-year spending options below.

  1. Invest in analysis. Although a marketing study might not seem like the most exciting investment, it’s what drives the smartest campaigns. By seeing what worked and didn’t in 2017, you’ll be well positioned to maximize ROI for 2018. Invest in a marketing research and analytics team to conduct an objective analysis of past marketing efforts and make recommendations for 2018. Additionally, take note of current campaign performance so that you have baseline data to use for next year.
  2. Pre-pay for professional services. One tax-advantageous way to use leftover marketing dollars is to pre-pay for professional services you plan on using in 2018. If you work with a vendor or business partner on an ongoing basis, ask them if they’d be willing to accept payment in advance. Not only will this help you smoothly close out your 2017 budget, but it will also provide you the opportunity to deduct more from your taxes.
  3. Renew or purchase subscriptions. If you’re one of many marketing managers whose New Year’s resolution is to read more, now’s the time to get a head start by purchasing and renewing subscriptions. Invest in industry trade publications, research databases, and other valuable resources that will help inform your marketing decisions for 2018.
  4. Stock up on equipment. Give your team the right tools they need to succeed in the new year, and take advantage of the opportunity to expense the cost (up to a $500,000 limit) on your taxes. Per Section 179, you can accelerate the depreciation of any costs above that limit, too. (Note that you’ll face higher tax liability for those items in future years, though).
  5. Throw a party. At Zehnder, part of our mission statement is to have fun — and we take that very seriously by throwing end-of-year gatherings for our different departments. If you’ve spent your marketing budget wisely in 2017 and are set up to succeed in the new year, reward your employees with an end-of-year bash (or end-of-year bonuses!). They’ll thank you either way.

Wondering what else you can do to set your organization up for success in 2018? Get in touch, and get ahead in the new year.


Nothing above should be construed as tax advice. Please consult your tax professional to determine if pre-paying for professional services or any other strategy makes sense for you and your business.

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