During one budget season, we were working with a client who had their marketing budget cut year-over-year for the past 4 years. The marketing team had gotten so busy that they literally had no time to spend the budget that had been allocated to them. And they had no agency to help them manage it.
As a result, on an annual basis the budget itself had been chipped away. (Remember: if you don’t spend it, you lose it!) However, the goals for the marketing team had continued to grow, and the size of the organization had also grown significantly over that same period of time.
Demonstrate to the board that the client needed (at a minimum) a restored and realistic marketing budget that was (at least) equal to past budget levels and establish realistic goals with key stakeholders that were based on the budget secured.
In addition to moving into a new year with ambitious goals set against a backdrop of four years of YOY budget cuts, this client was facing the following challenges:
- An increasingly competitive market
- More demand on advertising inventory
- Higher advertising rates
- Expansion into new markets
- More workload placed on a team that had not grown in size
Imagine being told that you have $100 to buy 10 bushels of apples to feed 40 people. Then imagine that four years later you had $50 to buy 20 bushels of apples to feed 80 people. That’s basically what was happening to this client.
We worked with this client to help demonstrate to their board that what they were expecting was not realistic when comparing the available marketing budget (which by this time was half of what it had been) to the aggressive goals set before them.
We did this by looking at a few specific year-over-year data points and building out a graph to help visually convince their board to approve a significantly increased budget:
- Marketing Budget
- Organizational Assets (or Annual Profit)
- Percentage of Marketing Budget to Assets (or Profit)
- Key Performance Indicator (KPI) Goal
- KPI Actual
- Percentage of KPI Goal Attained
Through the process of visually demonstrating how key stakeholders were asking the marketing team to do much more with much less, and do that consistently, we were able to help the client secure a 30% increase in their YOY marketing budget.
When it comes to filling a tank with gas, the distance you can drive will depend on a few factors:
- Your vehicle's MPG (miles per gallon)
- The cost of gas
- How much money you have to keep buying more fuel
Similar to your marketing budget, the number of key acquisitions or goals you can hit will depend on how much money you can put toward your marketing strategy and how efficient your marketing strategy is. Costs continue to go up and the marketplace becomes more competitive. In this advertising climate, keeping your budget the same year-over-year really means that you are decreasing the gas you put in the tank.