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How to Get Everything on your 2017 Budget

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s get ready to ruuummmble!

It’s that time of year, the final round of the annual marketing budget wrestling match. For some stupid reason, marketing budgets always seem to be the first to get cut, creating a frustratingly needless, knock-down, drag-out fight that leaves both sides bruised and bloodied. Figuratively speaking. Mostly.

The good news is that tight-fisted companies seem to be loosening the purse strings a bit for marketing. Finally. Better late than never, I guess. But don’t push your way forward with an eager grab at those dollars. There’s a better way to make your case—and surprisingly, it starts at the end point.

Gimme! Gimme!

See, typically you’re going, “I need more people! I need this software! I need! I need! Gimme! Gimme!” Stop it. The best place to start is looking at what you want to accomplish and measure in 2017, and working back from there. Do you need to scale? Refocus? Expand? Fix? Knowing what you need to do and how you will measure it will actually help you figure out the rest.

Technology is definitely one of the biggies when it comes to budget. It’s not uncommon for marketers to invest in the shiniest new software, only to hate it when it doesn’t magically deliver all that and a bag of chips right out of the box. I’m going to go out on a limb and say, if it’s not working, it’s probably you.

Find the real problems

Marketing software is sophisticated, complex, and always changing. Maybe the system isn’t deficient. Maybe you never really gave it a chance. Before you go fighting for budget to change technology, make another deep dive into what you’ve got. Knowing what it would cost to fix things can be a powerful bargaining chip.

Look, software can solve a lot of problems for you but, at the end of the day, success or failure depends on the people you have running it. Don’t invest in software you lack resources or skill to use. And don’t invest in software without a formal plan in place to utilize it to its fullest potential. What a waste. You’ll never win the budget fight if the ROI isn’t there.

Upskill

Chances are, what you really need to invest in is more training and maybe some outside consulting to get your tech stack doing what it was meant to do in the first place. Maybe you do need to supplement your team with different skillsets. You can make that case. But you have to present the whole picture along with it to demonstrate the impact it will have on the performance of your marketing department.

Bring all the pieces together. Show how a cohesive unit of people and technology are necessary to drive measurable results—results you’re prepared to authoritatively tie to ROI. The more you demonstrate the whole thing falls apart without all its moving parts, the more difficult it will be for the big wigs to chip away at your budget.

The fact is, if you’re proposing hugely dramatic changes and the budget to go with it, something is seriously broken within your marketing department. Instead of pushing for more money, pull the money to you by showing how all the pieces combine to deliver measurable results.

Start the new year with the end of the year at the front of your mind.

Where do you want to be? What needs fixed to get there? What must be improved? What’s that actually going to cost? And what’s in it for the business if you get everything on your list? You might just get everything you want in 2017.

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