A quick guide for keeping global campaign costs under control

When it comes to global campaigns, big budgets are at stake and it’s up to you to get the most from them. Of course, achieving impressive results from your campaigns will be your top priority, but you must stick to your budgets too and keep your global campaign costs under control. There are infinite ways you can divide your budget to make it work and to maximise your results, especially when it comes to things like delivering campaign content in your local markets. You need to weigh up the alternatives before you decide how to invest.

Where To Start

So, let’s set the scene. You are about to make a start on a key global campaign, and you want it to be a huge success. You’ve sorted your media, channels and markets. You know how you will measure your ROI. You’re clear on the time scales and you’re about to make a start on the creative concepts. But how do you ensure that your global campaign costs remain under control?

5 things to take into consideration to keep your global campaign costs under control:

1. Toolkit

When it comes to the global toolkit, you know what you’re paying for. But how much you need to spend depends on how the toolkit will be used. Are you providing rough assets for local markets to adapt, resize and use as they wish, or ready-to-go templates purely for translation? Maybe there’s no point in creating hundreds of versions of every asset if only a few will ever be used? Perhaps additional versions requested can be created later ‘on demand’ by either global or local agencies? When budgeting for campaign delivery in local markets, make sure no money is wasted.

2. Media

Before signing off on a campaign, it’s always worth getting input from your key markets to ensure what you produce is fit for purpose: culturally and technically. If your campaign cannot be used in some markets from a cultural perspective, a lot of money is going to be wasted – same goes for technical limitations. For example, digital/social content is always recommended as it helps improve the visibility of your brand, but if you’re working with emerging markets where broadband speed is poor. You might be better off splashing out on some good old-fashioned print assets. Even if your assets can be accessed across all your regions, some media will naturally perform better than others, so always plan with your local markets in mind.

3. Markets

All markets are different, and often require different assets as a result. So, knowing your markets is essential. Some markets may want assets in more than one language or in bilingual versions. Key markets will often want more assets or exceptions to the rules to be created and produced, if they have a business case for it!

Remember, if you decide to pay to adapt your assets you’ll also need to decide whether you are paying for simple adaptations, major adaptations or additional creative production (as well as local execution media, air time, print etc.).

4. Deadlines

Set rules from the start when it comes to the running time of the project, or the number of changes/amends markets wish to introduce. Campaigns can go on for a long time and your agencies will ask for extra money if the scope changes. If your markets don’t hold or if they fail to provide visibility on the budget they’re using, the spending could easily, and quickly, exceed your expectations.

Global marketers often limit the number of review rounds they pay for, some exclude media space or print production funds and others will allocate extra campaign budget for local markets to use as they see fit. When budgeting, you have to think about what works for your business and the campaign in question.

Timings play a vital role in campaign plans and budgets. If they don’t know what’s coming their way, local markets cannot book the right media space or organise events at the most attractive prices. Often, local marketers have to quickly ‘put something together’ from their own budgets as a backup, or in addition, in case they can’t book what they need. Also, when booking media space, marketers often find that when the assets are finally delivered, they’ve evolved so much that they’re no longer fit for purpose, a costly error.

When it comes to timing, it’s easier said than done. Ideally, we would all have lots of time on our hands to plan and get the best prices as opposed to paying urgency charges and dealing with extra fees which seem to pop up from all directions.

5. Budget

Whether you’ve run global campaigns before or are about to go global, analyse your current set up to identify where decisions are made and budgets held. For example, will one central team hold the budgets, or will budgets be divided across global and local teams? Splitting your budget on sales, ROI or long term strategic opportunities definitely makes sense whoever you decide should actually hold and manage the budget.

Always Consult the Experts

We recommend getting expert advice from a global creative production company to help you plan for the your global campaign costs and to provide guidance on best practice. If you’re budgeting for a massive campaign across multiple markets you could save yourself a lot of money and hassle if you involve your global creative production partner at the outset. They should be able to advise on the process, the tools, the technology and the creative to use in order to maximise your budget.

Industry experts will also remind you what is involved in the process – if you haven’t done it before you might be surprised!


  1. Include all activities within your budget and don’t rely on assumptions when costing for areas you don’t know enough about.
  2. Decide if and how much cost you’re going to cover for the rollout of your campaign across your local markets, and make it clear to your local colleagues – they also need to plan for it!
  3. Allow for contingencies in your budget.

If you like help in organising your global marketing model to help your budgets go further, please feel free to get in touch!

To find out more about how Freedman could support your global marketing needs, reach out to our New Business Director, Jade, through the button below.