There are 36 days left in 2013, which means that if you haven’t started planning your marketing budget for 2014, you’re probably behind schedule. But then again, being paralyzed by indecision is certainly understandable (not okay, but understandable) considering the speed of change in marketing. Of course, now we’re up against it, and you need to figure our how you’re going to spend those dollars next year.

What most CMOs and Marketing Directors do is look at the previous year’s budget, consider what worked and what didn’t, and reallocate funds into different buckets.

The problem, of course, is that the buckets are changing. Fast.

Just a few years ago, you only had a couple of considerations. Now, you have to figure out how to execute a social media strategy, how to create content and what it should look like, a possible PPC campaign, whether you’re going to implement a marketing automation solution, and how you’ll staff the effort, plus – oh my God – mobile, as well as old standbys such as PR, advertising and events.

That’s a lot.

And the problem many CMOs face at this time of year is they know that things will change rapidly in 2014 – new social networks will emerge, opportunities will pop, and technology could change. And that means a budget that looks great now and gets high-fives from the CFO could present you from doing your job sometime next summer.

What’s needed is an agile approach to marketing. Smart marketers will craft their budget in a way that allows them to be more agile and to change direction as events warrant. This requires changing the focus from a siloed approach to tactics, to a broader philosophical approach that allows for flexibility as situations change. Obviously, you can’t just say to the CFO “I need X Dollars” – you need to have a structure to the budget, as well as a rationale for a new approach. You’re also going to have to explain why there are so many new line items on the 2014 budget when compared to previous year’s budgets. In short, you need to create a presentation to front your spreadsheet that explains how marketing has changed, how your customers now shop for your services and that marketing demands agility in order to succeed.