The B-Word: Budget

There is one thing I have learned during my time as a marketer – we love spending money. Come Q4 we get out our excel sheets, analyze yearly ROI, and put together our best proposal to have an increased budget for next year. Oftentimes, our hopes fall short and we must find creative ways to do more with less; an experience that is quite common across all industries, verticals, and companies. With an increased expectation for success and a limited budget, we must put together a solid business case as to why our marketing department deserves the budget to match the high demands of the company.

While at the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference I attended a session by Laura McLellan, VP of Marketing Strategy at Gartner, who spoke about ways to fund and justify incremental marketing budgets. The main gist of this presentation is that marketers need to take a closer look at their budget to see what functions they are supporting, how it aligns with yearly goals and what needs to be changed for success. Here are some top takeaways from this session:

Marketing Budgets Must Align with Corporate Goals: From one year to the next it is not uncommon for company goals to change significantly. With buyouts, mergers, acquisitions, new executive management and better internal alignment, the expectations of the marketing department can evolve rapidly. With changing goals, you need a budget to match. If you request a 25% increase in budget from last year, make it known exactly why it is needed to achieve the goals asked of you. Defend your budget.

Share Budgets with Other Departments: As you look at your budget in detail, note how many items marketing shares with other departments. A great example here is the company website as it is instrumental in helping other departments meet their goals, such as sales, customer service, IT, business/brand units, etc. Instead of taking all of the costs for design, implementation, execution, hosting, and necessary integrations/updates, make a case as to why this needs to be shared with other departments. This applies to all types of services, software, and platforms that may be currently paid for by marketing, but should be more fairly split across the board.

Prove Your Worth: According to the session, three items are needed for marketing to be effective. First, the success measurements must align with the c-suite. Make sure you understand exactly what is being asked of marketing and that you are reporting in a way that is easily understood by your executive team. Second, the marketing itself needs to be effective. The numbers and statistics do not lie. If a campaign is not providing you with value, drop it. Finally, scrutinize over the final level of detail. For example, do you have the ability to barter or partner with a company? Is it better to buy the service you need, or build it?

Just as marketers are guardians of the brand, we are defenders of the budget. I was always taught that you can have anything you want in life, you just have to clarify what you need, make a plan, and ask. While it may be difficult to begin the process of understanding the state of your budget, it is the first step down the path of securing the funds you need to achieve your goals.

Top Takeaways from the Gartner Digital Marketing Conference

This year I had the opportunity to attend the inaugural Gartner Digital Marketing Conference in San Diego. The event brought together top digital marketers, which included brands, agencies, analysts and solutions providers, with the primary purpose of driving thought-leadership by educating marketers on the latest trends in the digital world.

As we have seen in Gartner’s Digital Roadmap, digital is exploding; channels are becoming more integrated, cross-device attribution is on the rise and marketers don’t know how to handle the complexity of a creating a seamless user experience across channels. While on the show floor I saw both new and seasoned marketers with an idea of what they want to accomplish, but a skewed understanding of the technology needed to get from point A to point B.

With increased pressure to meet high expectations of consumer demands, brands have no choice but to keep up. Here are some of the top trends that arose throughout the sessions that marketers need to be aware of as they develop their digital strategy:

1. Digital personalization is the new normal: Consumers expect brands to know them and to know them well, particularly the ones who engage regularly and spend often. In fact, one Gartner statistic explained that by 2018, organizations who have invested in personalization will outsell those who have not. The key is for brands to understand how to segment their data and effectively activate personalization at a one-to-one level, while respecting global privacy laws. On the flip side, as analyst Jennifer Polk pointed out, sometimes personalization is about knowing when to remain quiet to avoid offending or over-engaging with a consumer.

2. Identify Gaps in Mobile and Social Measurement: We continually hear that mobile is on the rise. In fact, in one presentation by Gartner analysts’ Julie Hopkins and Mike McGuire, they pointed out that 30% of Facebook’s users are mobile only. The first step is to understand how to connect your mobile and social investments to your objectives by defining your strategy. In turn, this gives mobile and social a specific purpose to work in tandem by exceeding your corporate marketing goals. By tying direct ROI back to social and mobile, marketers can justify to upper management the monetary value and in turn continue to receive more budget as needed for these rapidly growing areas.

3. Innovation is Your Competitive Advantage: One of the most fascinating presentations was by Jon Bridges, the CMO of Chick-fil-A, and Jake Sorofman with Gartner on innovation. The presentation opened by posing the question to the audience, “have you ever used another company’s name to describe what you do?” This made me chuckle a bit as I reflected on the various jobs I’ve held where I compared the company to another to help friends and family understand. The idea here is to forge your own path instead of comparing yourself to others. We can win by leading the pack. However, my favorite idea presented is utilizing your workspace as an innovation center; a place where ideas are crafted to further the business and drive change for challenging business objectives. In turn, this can be applied to digital strategy as workers begin to solve everyday challenges and best meet the demands of their users by having the freedom to explore, create, develop and solve.

Being the first digital marketing conference hosted by Gartner, I was exceptionally impressed at the content, execution and speakers. I am proud to have sponsored the event this year and am excited for its anticipated growth based on the reviews it has received.

IgnitionOne Wins 2015 Hubbies Award for Most Innovative Integrated Marketing Suite

IgnitionOne is excited to announce it has won the 2015 Hubbies Award for Most Innovative Integrated Marketing Suite for its Digital Marketing Suite (DMS). The Hubbies celebrate breakthrough digital campaigns and the platforms that enable them, and recognized IgnitionOne for its technology innovation, noting how the DMS helps set the standard for what marketing platforms can achieve.

Winning technologies honored by The Hubbies are bold, relevant, and demonstrably effective – measured by level of innovation, digital analytics, consumer engagement, and business impact.

“IgnitionOne was the first to introduce an integrated marketing suite in 2011, well before the ‘clouds’ rolled in,” said Will Margiloff, CEO of IgnitionOne. “We’re honored to be presented this award from The Hubbies and I congratulate our teams who have worked so hard on our technology and to help our clients succeed.”

Introducing the Quick Wins Handbook

When it comes to data management platforms, the faster they start working for you, the better. Using a DMP can provide unique strategic opportunities, along with the kind of high-value market insights that allow for a better ROI. But the truth is, very few marketers are truly leveraging the value a DMP can provide.

So, how can you start taking full advantage of your DMP right out of the gate? It comes down to understanding the actionable data you have, and utilizing it in a way that maximizes the value it has to offer. Once you learn how to effectively work with what you have, you’ll be able to explore new opportunities more deeply.

IgnitionOne has created a valuable, fresh new book that provides insight and inspiration to help you get more out of your DMP from the start. “The Quick Wins Handbook” delivers 12 fast, actionable ideas to maximize your ROI and minimize the time spent waiting for the right data.

The Quick Wins Handbook is ready to help you:

  • Get the most out of your DMP
  • Act on easy connections
  • Target location
  • Time communications
  • Avoid potential road blocks

And more!

You can learn more and download the 18-page guide here.

quick wins