Internally, November is the time of year when everyone is looking forward to their new year budgets. No matter what your organisation’s gatekeeper looks like (CMO, line manager, Managing Director), you need to inspire sign off. And with the UK economy beginning to look up, there’s no better time than now to push for additional budget as you plan for the New Year.
- Propose new budget spend as a test. Even if you know a new approach will work, starting the initiative small means you appear experimental, curious, and innovative, while being cautious with your organisation’s investment. You can agree on KPIs, and ensure additional investment and sign off if your test meets expectations. This approach ensures your budget gate-keeper is comfortably in control.
- Take advantage of procurement. Your procurement team LOVES measuring ROI, assessing your agency relationships, helping you decide where to spend next year’s budget and how to plan it. Let them be of service! Let them help you centralise efforts and negotiation efficiency across departments. It’s also likely they’ll have already done research into your budget’s performance over the last year, so ask them for insights. By planning as a team, you’ll be in their mind when they’re looking at how to allocate their efforts, too.
- Report on ROI success in the last year. What projects has the biggest impact on your bottom line? Which projects made the boardroom chuckle with delight? What investment lead to greater media coverage? For every success, put together a ROI figure. You may have some success that isn’t easily measured with a pound symbol, but this is how getting more budget is justified. Also, check out helpful advertising lifetime value SaaS like Nanigans or closely monitoring your staff’s time with programs like Toggl and Desktime.
- Teach your gatekeeper new concepts. The individuals signing off your budget will appreciate the learning opportunity to better understand where you see the direction of your marketing efforts going in 2014. Talk with them about how your agile approach for the New Year will lead to outperforming KPIs, or explain the benefits of mining big data for your marketing strategy.
- Ditch silos and propose budget flexibility. While specialisms are brilliant where expertise is required, we’ve seen marketing integration between on-line and off-line, PR and link building, content and copy. Ask yourself what budgets are currently held by other departments, but would work much better for the organisation as a whole if they were under your control? Be prepared to bid for, bringing these items within your marketing department’s remit.
- Find alternative sources for budget. Have you considered grants? In the UK, local councils are keen to assist in business growth and provide funding for certain activities like market research, partnering with local universities, and more; ask them about what’s available.
- Ask for HR to chip in. With regard to budgets, remember your staff is the most important resource; and they need to be looked after and budgeting is a great time to bring this up to your gatekeeper. Talk with HR first, and ask if they have budget set aside for internal development, which could contribute to your plans for your department’s education and productivity levels.
- Get Everyone Involved. Make sure the right people are aware of what you’re keen to do, and inspire them to support your budgeting cause. Discuss recruiting a new staff member with HR, understand the formalities and costs associated with this. Talk to your content team about what concepts they’d like to expand on in the New Year and resource required. Getting other teams excited leads to a positive, infectious spirit that may work in your favour to put additional “friendly” pressure on the gatekeeper to sign off.
- Buffer your plan. With most projects and campaigns, there are unexpected expenses. Prepare to be agile now! Even a 10% buffer is a good starting point, simply to ensure there is a bit of breathing space between you, your project, and the finance team.
- Rehearse your conversation. Make sure you practice what you’re going to say before you say it. Ask a friend or colleague to role-play, and insist on them challenging your budget justifications. You will only get better at this if you practice.
In short, all of these tips push for accountability on your part, creative ways to source new budget, and preparing yourself and colleagues to support your justification for the new budget.
What other tips would you recommend utilising to increase your marketing budget internally?