Many marketing teams are expecting to make budget cuts for 2021. Protecting your budget is a matter of helping executives see the value and cost-effectiveness of marketing.
If you need to defend your marketing budget, listen to your leadership team’s concerns. Then decide which of the following strategies will resonate.
1. Show off the data. Pull up the data from recent successful marketing campaigns. Numbers don’t lie. Quantify the worth of what your team does and the impact they have on the wider company, including the bottom line.
Include metrics tied to customer acquisition and retention in your report. For example:
2. Suggest cuts elsewhere. If cuts are necessary, look for other areas where they can be made. Look first for wasteful operations spending. For example, could you eliminate printing and mailing costs by going paperless? Or, could you cut software costs by removing users or going to a smaller plan?
3. Reference the competition. Compare your marketing budget with that of your competitors. Are they making cuts, or are they doubling down? If you make cuts while they increase their marketing spend, you may lose new or existing customers to them.
Put together a forecast, and compare trends in your company’s market share to its past marketing spend. Chances are, periods of higher marketing spend are also those in which you saw the most growth.
4. Look at your yearly goals. Your company has annual goals for its revenue, profit, or customer base. What steps do you need to take to meet those targets? Would cuts to your marketing budget help or hurt your chances at achieving them?
If successful marketing is key to achieving what you hope to accomplish, you can’t afford to make cuts. In fact, many business advisors try to warn companies from cutting their marketing department in tough times. Those that do risk deepening holes they’ll need to climb out.
5. Take the long view. The COVID-19 pandemic looks a lot like the Great Recession of 2008. Consumers clamped down on spending for a time, but demand bounced back stronger than ever. Giving consumers extra help will keep them loyal. Penning a helpful e-book, putting on a physical event like a food drive, or simply offering a discount can reflect well on your brand.
6. Lean on freelancers.When you need to fill one-time needs, like writing copy for your website, outsource those tasks to freelancers. Freelancers can be up to 30% cheaper to work with than traditional employees, and they allow your team members to spend their time on something with higher impact.
And regardless of what happens to your budget, a freelancer’s reduced labor costs can make it go nearly a third further.
Put your marketing budget to good use, and make sure your leadership team sees the results. Increasing your marketing efficiency will help your business not just now, but well into the future. And that’s an argument most business leaders can get behind.