Leaders roundtable summary: 'How to spend it'

Overview of roundtable discussion on July 12, 2016.

Marketing budgets are hard-fought, precious resources.

Regardless of your departmental budget, there is always a case to be made for needing more. Indeed making the case for increases, spending money effectively and highlighting the contributions being made by marketing are among a B2B leader’s key concerns.

But how should this be done?

This roundtable discussion focussed on exploring the best ways for marketing leaders to secure the credit and budget their teams need.

Key takeaways from the discussion

  1. The board will see marketing spend as a binary choice between new customers and existing ones. This completely ignores the customer lifecycle, and the fundamental behaviours.
  2. Customer satisfaction data is something that the board will pay attention to. Some firms conduct 360 reviews. Others use C-Sat scores. This can be a powerful weapon to demonstrate the importance of marketing. Scoring by analysts can play a similar role.
  3. A bigger budget isn’t necessarily better. Doubling a firm’s marketing budget won’t necessarily double the return that it gets. For things like PPC, there is typically a sweet spot where you’re spending the right amount of money, and spending more will not deliver more. Having less budget can drive more creativity… but it does provide more latitude to try things.
  4. The best way to drive a culture of responsibility is to ensure every member of the team has their own metrics and sticks to them.  These are typically not financial metrics – things like open rates, etc. Leaders use a variety of techniques to ensure spend remains responsible – including monthly budget tracking meetings, where everything gets discussed, to online approvals for a handful of carefully vetted suppliers.
  5. Keep close to the stakeholders if you want to get a bigger budget – it’s a relationship game. Understand their objectives and align with them – spend time doing things which will make them happy. This could include PR or entering awards, to drive some success stories.
  6. Look at the growth rate of the business and try to get your marketing budget aligned to that. If that isn’t sufficient, build a breakthrough budget plan that will change the game. Become core to the business – do something which creates a platform for the business, which means the budget for this area will no longer be taken from marketing.
  7. Be prepared to give marketing its own value proposition. As a service department, ask if our internal customers are seeing value for money. Get endorsements from them.
  8. There is an expectations for marketing to do something fun and sexy for the business. This doesn’t have to cost money, and if it’s successful, it will have good repercussions. Give them a nugget.
  9. Cultivate trust. Understand the lightbulb moments of the stakeholders and build activities around these. Be transparent.