Most businesses review their budget on an annual basis. It’s a good thing. Budgets need to be reviewed and improved. It’s smart to touch base and take a closer look at the numbers. After all, budgets need to evolve with the company. What’s working? What’s not? What is essential? What can be eliminated or reduced? Where is the excess or the waste? These are all legitimate questions to pose. Yet, all too often companies make the mistake of ‘trimming the fat’ and marketing is usually the first line item hit. Often it’s the most underfunded and under-supported department, falling victim to short-sighted decision-making.
When marketing budgets are cut or eliminated it can have severe long-term effects on a company’s bottom line. The very definition of marketing as defined by the American Marketing Association is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
It is important to remember what an integral role that marketing plays in business viability. The function of marketing should help inform the overall organization to better understand, serve and sell to its markets. If that slips as a company priority, KPI’s for future growth and success become bleak.
If your marketing budget is falling under attack look to these 3 talking points to form your defense:
Consumers are consumers. While some of the tactics shift between verticals, most don’t. Decisions-makers within a business are consumers too. Therefore, when you’re supporting your brand through content creation, sharing, great branding, branded campaigns, PPC advertising, etc. You’re making a dent. You’re taking steps in a digital marathon. Remember, you cannot finishing or succeed in a race that you didn’t start. You must begin. Taking these steps gives you more control over the message received from the buzz, as it shares and grows. Buzz is generated through word of mouth (or, word of web) referrals. Buzz is a feeling. It’s momentum. Staying on top of the buzz is about being in touch with your market. Without that feedback, it’s virtually impossible to withstand the test of time.
Data means nothing if you don’t use it. Analytics are all around us. Now, more than ever, marketers can defend their positions on the effectiveness of their work. However, many business leaders still need an immediate kick back. In some cases, it’s just not possible. One of the largest mistakes that we see is that companies don’t allow enough of a runway for true momentum and real results to take form. Know that different tactics require different periods of time. Conditions and expectations should be understood between a company and the marketers. And finally, if you don’t know where you’ve been or where you stand, it’s virtually impossible to plan for the future. Benchmark data can be used as a screenshot in time, or you can use it!
A solid rule of thumb is that you should never suddenly go slower than your existing pace. It makes no sense to slam on the brakes driving through turn 2 at the Indy 500, and the same is true for digital marketing. Any sudden movements in the opposite direction are considered false steps. Your digital marketing footprint should be consistent. While you can change tonality and imagery, your methods should remain diligent. For example, if you’ve produced 1 blog post per week for 7 months and you all of a sudden decide you no longer want to write at all… Google will wonder, “Where did they go? Why did they stop? We were having fun… weren’t we?” Remember, with respect to digital marketing everyone is in the game now. There is no time for laziness. No time for excuses. There is only time for execution and playing smarter. To assure that you aren’t backsliding it’s helpful to keep a written marketing plan of your digital footprint. Content calendars and analytics reviews are helpful to reference.
Happy Budgeting! And, if you’re not sure what type of budget you should be planning for in 2018 we’d love to hear from you!