Money always matters, and in most corporate worlds how big your budget is has a direct correlation to how much influence and impact your department or team will have. Marketing also has the challenge of preserving their budgets since some see it as a more variable expense that others on the budget sheet. (i.e. you may not need that new web site but you sure have to pay the rent). Here's some ideas about how to defend your marketing budget after fighting for them for over 20 years:
- Try to get your leaders to peg your marketing budget to revenue - most industries have standards about marketing budgets based on a percentage of company revenue. If you can keep your budget within the standards of your industry you know you can be competitive and if you can get there immediately build a plan about how to get there over time because you will...
- Make sure you are showing your company a return on their marketing investment - this has been a constant theme in my posts so for. In today's world marketing needs to put bread on the table - not just butter it up and serve it back. The more marketing can be tied to revenue growth and corporate development the more apt senior management will be to keep the budget in tact and even grow it.
- Preserve some money for experimentation - there are always new things going on in marketing and you don't want to be behind the curve on something new that can be integral to your marketing efforts down the line. Trust from your executive team about what you are doing to get the main things done is critical and having them know it's a test and may fail will help you deal with shortfalls and give you the ability to discuss what you've learned.
- Don't neglect your systems and tools - the more systemic your marketing efforts are will create efficiencies you need to keep in lockstep with growth and get the information you need to make effective decisions about your marketing program. We all know how data driven marketing is these days, and if you don't have a way to process all the data and use it to your advantage you will be behind the curve.
- Think about people early and often - your team should have the skills and talent it needs to meet the marketing mission and that means hiring, retention and training. Make sure you have room to bring in new people where new skills or support or needed, have money to reward high performers with raises and bonuses, and budget for training your team on the things they will need to grow and succeed.
The more you can do to defend and even grow your marketing budget the more viable your marketing programs and marketing team will be in the long run.