If you’re a marketing manager, you’re probably swamped with this year’s planning and budgeting process. Hopefully you find it exciting to create a marketing plan filled with new programs and campaigns to build your business in the year ahead. (If not, it may be time for a new job!)
And as you know, it can be a tough process to get your ambitious marketing plans and budget approved. So what happens when you have to sharpen your pencil so often that it becomes a stub?
If you’re struggling to get your budget approved, try treating the planning process as a sale. You have a potential customer – your boss or CFO – who has a problem: lofty revenue goals and a finite pool of money to spend on line items including marketing, personnel, technology, services, benefits, etc.
Your mission: Help the CFO solve his or her problem. Show why it’s most valuable to invest in your marketing plans versus all of the other line items in the company budget. After all, marketing is an investment that should produce revenue and customers. Show how your marketing plans drive company goals and your CFO will have a far easier time approving your budget.
So what do you need to show the CFO to connect the dots between your marketing programs and company goals? Again, use your marketing skills and put yourself in his or her shoes. What would YOU want to know?
1. What specific, measurable goals have you built your plans to achieve? For example, identify the specific number of highly qualified leads, new customers, retained customers, average order size, number of referrals, etc.
2. What additional goals do your plans support? You know that branding and PR campaigns can be difficult to measure. But if you can show why your initiatives are critical elements for both short- and long-term goals, it will be easier for your CFO to justify these expenses.
3. Have you truly figured out the most cost-effective ways to reach your goals? If you were spending the money out of your own pocket, would you be able to find a few expenses that you can scale back? Take ownership of your budget as if the money is your own – you’ll find incredible motivation to spend less.
4. What’s the projected return on investment (ROI) for these initiatives? These calculations can be difficult, but even a rough attempt shows the CFO that your marketing plans are investments. (Here’s a post that takes you through a general ROI calculation. Be sure to include your assumptions as well.)
With this mindset, you’re not just asking for money … you’re showing your CFO an investment opportunity. And when you tie your programs to projected outcomes, your budget requests and role within the company start to take on an entirely different meaning to upper management.
Here are some additional marketing articles and tips on this subject:
EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR YOUR MARKETING PROJECT