How to ask for more money when your marketing budget gets cut

calibrate how you operate

This week at TFM&A in London, we launched the findings of a piece of research conducted by the CMO Council (and sponsored by us) entitled Calibrate How You Operate.

The headline was that ‘Marketing is the most challenged and most complex business unit’ – it’s already being picked up– Customer Strategy and Adweek and it highlights the battle marketers need to be ready for this year.

“Demonstrating to the board that if marketing doesn’t get investment it needs to sort out the complexity, put more robust integration in place, and be able to analyse customers more effectively, competiveness, retention and growth of the company will all suffer.”

We started talking to the CMO council about this over a year ago –way before the credit crunch started to impact the world demand. It is ironic as just when marketing budgets are about to be cut, marketing needs to go ask for more money, but this time it’s for investment in efficiency and effectiveness and there is a new digital engagement dynamic which marketing is leading and will drive the future demand generation of the company.

The time is now. Get it wrong, or don’t do something and you’re in big trouble. We ain’t talking about doing more carpet bombing, more email spam and having balloons instead of USB sticks at events to save money here.

We are talking about marketing transformation to ensure company survival.

Marketers need to be bold and clear about the investments they need and the returns they can make: if CRM isn’t linked to a marketing engine that can deliver, it ought to be or value is locked up and wasted

If marketers cant segment and target customers more intelligently with decent tools then costly ineffective marketing campaigns will reign

If the board doesn’t get that a disengaging, uninteresting website will damage their brand, someone needs to wake them up.

If the digital team don’t get the tools they need to create ongoing engagement and the flexibility to test and try new ideas, then they will soon find jobs elsewhere.

So although it’s easy to sit there and accept the inevitable cuts in budgets, we all need to realise it’s actually time to lead, get the marketing operational machine in shape so it can make the difference the organisation needs.

As ‘the marketer’ used to fighting these battles myself as well as the marketer of Alterian’s marketing software we have tried to help provide answers to these challenges and also to point to the future of marketing and engagement to help inspire and equip marketers for the battle ahead.

Much more to come on this subject and I’d love to hear what you think….

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About Bob Barker

Bob is an innovative marketer with 25 years in technology marketing across all disciplines in small and large brands. A regular commentator on social business and digital marketing his passion is for unlocking the digital potential of both firms and their people.