Budgets Shrink... Expectations Don't

I've seen business owners and CEOs re-use post-its and dig paperclips out of the trash in an effort to reduce expenses one moment, and in the next they're reviewing a $20,000 media spend without batting an eye.

Why is that?

This is the part where you'd probably expect me to explain why. I certainly don't know all the answers, but I do believe that as managers we've been brainwashed into believing this idea that marketing efforts are a budgetary vacuum. I was shocked when I began my stint as a credit union marketer to discover the amount of money being invested into invoice line-items like "resizing artwork", "website updates" and the oh-so popular, yet completely nebulous term "creative".

How do you quantify creativity?

Throughout my literary discourse, you'll hear me use the term 'core competencies' quite a bit. I use the term because those two words are so powerful in the workplace. They make the difference between a well-oiled machine and an organization in seizure with intermittent bouts of workflow. An organization, specifically a marketing operation, will succeed or fail based on the realization of core competencies. As a marketer, I don't really have a head for balance sheet items. I was ever-proud of my 'C' in Accounting 206 (which primarily involved journaling debits and credits during a game of Monopoly), because numbers have never been my core competency. I would safely say that I'm not the minority here.

So why would I make such a big deal about money being spent on brochures, commercials and the like? I mean, that's what we marketing pro's do, right? Spend a lot of money and make pretty things? Wrong. At some point we got blinded by the stage lights and forgot about doing everything possible to improve the organization's bottom line. I want to re-center the focus and drive home the message that we can be just as effective without bleeding (or hemorrhaging) marketing dollars. Over the next few months, we'll discuss:

  1. Planning your work, and working your plan: strategic planning isn't just for CFO's 
  2. Swimming in the right lane: how "swimlanes" can help keep surprises out of the picture
  3. Keep your friends close, and your vendors closer: put your business partners on a scorecard to keep prices down and relationships honest (this is where core competencies will REALLY show up!) 
  4. Question your affinity efforts: "we've always done it this way" is not a good reason to continue a charitable giving program as-is 
  5. Mobilize your forces: use existing man power at outside events to drive the member experience
  6. Freedom!!!!: declare war on your graphic design expenses

Well, I'm excited. How about you?