The Airtable logo on a pink background, representing building a marketing budget report with Airtable and Unito.
How To Create a Marketing Budget Report With Airtable and Unito
The Airtable logo on a pink background, representing building a marketing budget report with Airtable and Unito.

How To Create a Marketing Budget Report With Airtable and Unito

How do you track your marketing budget? For many people, the answer is “I’m not.” And for many others, it’s “In about 10 different spreadsheets.”

Why is it so hard to keep track of the numbers? Well, when consultants are sending you invoices (perhaps with Xero) by email, ad spend is being tracked in Google and Facebook, and you’ve set up automatic monthly payments for dozens of tools in your stack, things can quickly get a little messy. Throw in multiple systems, currencies, and budget owners, and you’re left with a tracking system that resembles your headphone wires after an hour or two of pocket time.   

Tracking budgets has always been one of the most challenging aspects of marketing. But what if there was a way to automate away that work, so you always knew how much money was flying out the door? 

With Airtable and Unito, you can build a simple marketing budget report that is updated automatically each month. Here’s how to do it!

What’s a marketing budget report?

A marketing budget report is a table that shows you how much you’ve spent on a monthly basis (or at a recurring interval of your choosing) and how that compares to your budget forecast. The report should tell you (or your bosses) at a glance where you’ve underspent or overspent and how much you’re planning on spending in the months to come. 

Why use Unito and Airtable?

Airtable is a flexible database tool that allows you to organize and visualize your data in a variety of ways. In the case of a marketing budget report, it makes it exceptionally easy to split your spend up into categories and make it digestible for anyone in the organization.

But how do you get all that disparate budget data into Airtable without spending hours each month tracking down? That’s where Unito comes in.

Unito is a no-code integration platform that allows you to sync information bidirectionally across your business tools, including Airtable. In just a few clicks, you can build flows that automatically update records between multiple Airtable bases, or pull in information from secondary tools like Google Sheets, Jira, Trello, and dozens more. Basically, Unito is what will automatically keep your budget report updated, saving you time and effort along the way. 

Building your database in Airtable

Building a new base in Airtable is easy. You can start from scratch, or use Unito’s marketing budget template, to save yourself some valuable time. 

While every business’ marketing budget is going to look a little bit different, there are a few core fields that will almost always be present:

  • Expense: This is what it all comes down to — what are you ultimately spending money on. In the expense field, you’ll be tracking both your projected expenses and unplanned expenses, which you can add along the way.
  • Expense type: The best way to organize your marketing budget report template in Airtable is by expense type — essentially a category of spend. This makes it easily digestible for viewers at a glance. Some common expense types are tools and software, advertising spend, and freelancers/consultants. Of course, it’s always good to have a miscellaneous type, to capture all those random expenses that don’t quite fit anywhere else.
  • Monthly forecast: How much are you planning to spend on each expense every month? The forecast is helpful both for setting your annual budgets, but also simply to compare your monthly spend to your estimate.
  • [X month] spend: You’ll want a dedicated field for each expense every month, again to track your actual spend versus your forecast. Some businesses might track spend quarterly rather than monthly — do what works for you.
  • Year-to-date spend: As the months progress, you’re going to want to be able to track your total spend per expense so far in the year. This helps you readjust your spend in the remaining months. Or, you know, beg for more budget! 

Once you’ve put together your template, don’t forget to sort the table by expense type. The end result — populated with an example — should look something like this:

Now that you have your budget template, here’s how to save yourself even more time on reporting.

Populating your marketing budget report with Unito

Sure, a marketing budget template will save you a bit of time. But the game-changing time savings come from automating your report with Unito. Here’s how to do it.

Start by connecting Airtable to Unito, then connect the budget template base.

Next, pick any of the other work tools where some of this budget information is stored. Do other members of the marketing team manage specific budget expenses? Does the finance team use a Google Sheet to track your spend based on invoices? Or do you have multiple Airtable bases depending on expense type? 

No matter your situation, pick the second data source and connect it to Unito. For this example, we’re using Trello.

A screenshot of Unito connecting Airtable and Trello.

Once that’s done, it’s time to choose your flow direction. For your marketing budget report, you’ll probably only want data flowing one way, into the Airtable base. But, you could create a two-way flow and have budget items filtered from your report back into those secondary data sources. Follow your bliss!

A screenshot of the flow direction screen in Unito.

With the flow direction set, you have the chance to build custom rules to help your filter in only relevant information. Whether it’s a label/tag, assignee, or some other qualifier, Unito will follow your lead, ensuring the data you need ends up in your marketing budget report — and nothing else.

A screenshot of Unito's rules screen.

Then, you’ll have the opportunity to customize your field mappings. Unito will automatically map similarly-named fields across data sources, but you can also customize it to your liking.

A screenshot of Unito's mapping screen.

Finally, push that big button and launch your flow! Watch data flow into your report automatically, in real-time. No more copy and pasting budget information. No more struggling to track down the numbers. Sound too good to be true? The best things usually do!

On budget

Budget tracking doesn’t have to be the worst part of your month. With Airtable and Unito, you can build a simple template that is automatically populated with the expense data your and your stakeholders need. While it can’t stop Jim on the video team from spending way too much money on camera gear, it can let you know about it while the return window is still open!

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