If you’re part of the team that leads the annual budgeting process, you have likely already engaged in “budgeting” for 2020. Whether you’re in sales, marketing, or part of the management team, this is probably not your favourite part of the job. If you’re a marketer, or responsible for the marketing budget, it’s even less enjoyable since marketing is the most harshly judged and smallest percentage of an overall budget.

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.

It’s time to blow up the traditional view and create a budget that adds value to your business.

Sales and marketing should no longer be seen as two separate entities. These teams need to work more collaboratively to take advantage of how the buyer journey has changed in order to drive business to the company in an integrated function.

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.

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.

Simply having tons of followers on social media does not equate to sales and trying to be everything to everyone will only dilute your message. Instead of trying to be everywhere, and do everything, think about where you need to be to make the most impact with your customer. You need to be clear on what you’re about so that your best customer can instantly relate to your message.

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,” hoping they respond to your offer, or are you truly creating content your customer or prospect values because it’s about them not you?
If marketing automation isn’t in your budget, it should be.

Companies need to be more efficient than ever. This means using tools that effectively find new clients and nurture them through the buying process in the way they want to be nurtured.

If you have Microsoft Dynamics CRM you’re able to track and manage interactions with your existing customers as they go through the sales funnel, store all the information you have on them, and automate processes to help streamline the sales cycle. But in today’s customer-focused environment, CRM is only half of the equation. You need marketing automation software working in conjunction with it in order to take full advantage of how the buyer journey has transformed.

There’s a gold mine of information on the internet you can use to determine where someone is in the buying process. Imagine how valuable it would be to know when the last time a customer was on your website, what type of content they were looking at, and if they downloaded any material.

Marketing automation allows you to serve digital information to potential customers when they’re at the beginning of the buyer journey. Giving them the information they want, in the way that they want to consume it will eliminate the risk of trying to sell to them too soon and losing them along the way.  The only thing that matters in a business today is marketing and innovation – the rest is cost. 

If you are marketer—and TODAY EVERYONE 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 will fail when times are tough.

Marketing and marketers need to be Architects of Growth. 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.

Think of your marketing budget as an investment into the future, because without it your company may not have much of a future.
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.