Blow up the traditional view to create a budget that adds value to your business

If you are like most sales and marketing people or part of the management team that leads the annual budgeting process, you have likely already engaged in “budgeting” for 2019. Unless you are an accounting type or love spreadsheets, I know of few people who really enjoy this process. If you are a marketer or responsible for the marketing budget, you enjoy it even less because marketing is the most harshly judged and smallest percentage of an overall budget. I personally still have post traumatic syndrome associated with trying to defend a marketing budget in my last tech company job.

Here are three reasons why defending a marketing budget in any organization is such a hard job:

  1. Marketing is viewed as a cost centre instead of a strategic growth tool by most management teams.
  2. Marketing budgets are approached as “buying attention” instead of measuring the results of creating engagement.
  3. Marketers generally do a poor job of tying their budgets to business results, therefore management teams are confused about the outcome of investment.

A wise marketer, Mr. Seth Godin, in his latest book, This is Marketing, ascertains that marketing is something everyone in your organization is doing today. “Marketing used to be advertising. Now, marketing is everything you do. And what you do either adds to the customer experience or takes away from it.”

If you apply this lens to your marketing budget, then you need to focus on the work you need to do in educating the customer and how you support their journey of buying from you.

Creating the right marketing budget for your organization.

First off, you need to set the stage for the objective of marketing. Any marketer worth their salt, needs to be a change agent on this subject. In today’s 24/7 internet world, “the internet feels like a vast, free media playground, a place where all your ideas deserve to be seen by just about everyone.” In fact, the internet and digital marketing in general is exactly the opposite. The point of marketing today is not to mass market or even create “permission.” The goal of marketing today is the “generous act of helping someone solve a problem. Their problem,” says Seth Godin.

When viewed with this lens, the first thing you should be doing when assessing a marketing budget is to look at all the things you spend money on today and decide if the goal of the exercise is to mass market or help someone solve their problem. Are you buying “eyeballs” hope they respond to your offer or are you truly creating content your customer or prospect values because its about them not you.

The only thing that matters in a business today is marketing and innovation – the rest is cost.

If you are marketer today (EVERYONE TODAY IS IN MARKETING) and you aren’t lobbying for a budget to develop good content, a strong web presence and tools to track and measure quality leads in the pipeline, then you are likely creating a budget that has a good chance of getting axed when times are tough.

Marketing and marketers need to be Architects of Growth, not as cost centers. To do this means having a solid understanding of the market you serve and the content buyers’ value when making a purchasing decision. This is how you flip the budgeting process on its head and take control of the ask you are making of senior management.

We have two useful guides to help you with the budgeting exercise. One is a digital marketing analysis that you can check yes/no to understand what you need to execute inbound marketing in today’s uber-competitive market. The second is a guide to help with better goal setting in your marketing function. It’s hard to make a case for marketing dollars if you can’t tie it back to business goals.

Hope this helps – Happy Marketing in 2019!

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