During periods of economic downturn, companies often reduce their marketing spending in order to conserve resources. This can be frustrating for marketers, who may feel that their efforts are being undervalued or overlooked.
Marketers are good at being victims
Unfortunately us marketers, we’re very good at being victims and shifting blame when it comes to budget cuts:
- “Our board of directors doesn’t understand marketing, and now we have to work with 50% of the previous budget.”
- “My CEO told me that we don’t have any more money for marketing this year.”
- “Why don’t decision-makers understand the impact of marketing on our organization?”
The list goes on, but one thing is clear: the marketer is seen as the victim, no matter who the villain is at that time. And then we complain about it in meetings with peers and on LinkedIn, criticizing the decision-makers instead of taking action.
You’re on the wrong team
There are people who make things happen and those to whom things happen. The former team is where a marketer should aim to be. If your superiors don’t value marketing, you are the one who has failed to create the value. But all hope is not lost. You just need to join the right team – the revenue team.
In the revenue team you’re looking at and basing your decisions on what drives financial results in the best manner. For example your branding efforts are all well and good, but if you can’t speak the benefits in terms of actual currency, you’re argument will be ineffective towards the leaders of your company.
Help guide the marketing budget
Ultimately, a CEO cares about three things: keeping the company growing, achieving financial success, and reaching strategic objectives.
As a marketer, it’s important to prove that your efforts tie into these goals. Make it an investment, not a cost, and sell it as such. Find a good marketing investment, do your due diligence, and fight to get that money.
A CEO won’t cut something that brings in money, especially in tough times. If there’s a need to be flexible, be the one to make the decision. Don’t simply accept budget cuts, but offer to help find ways to save money. Better yet, identify unnecessary expenses that can be eliminated before there’s a need.
This proactive approach will show that you’re running a tight ship and are willing to contribute to the company’s success.
The way forward
If you’re one of those victim-marketers mentioned in the beginning, I have good news and bad news for you.
- Bad news is that you won’t get your budget back by next Monday. You have work to do to deserve it.
- The good news is that you can become tough as nails as a marketer and gain back that budget whilst making both your company profit and moving your career forward.
Slimmer budgets make tougher marketers, so take this as an opportunity to grow.