I know; “steal” is such an ugly word. But if you have big goals for 2016 and lack the marketing budget to make it all happen yourself, you have to do something to get things done.
Think about it. Marketing touches every part of your organization, so why not steal (okay, let’s say “borrow”) funds from other departments? Here are some tips on where to find extra dollars and how to convince other areas that “sharing” budgets can help achieve mutual goals.
Photo credit: Tartan Marketing
1. Synch with sales on new selling tools
It’s your job to support your sales organization in selling more effectively, but sales tools take money to create. The key to getting sales to chip in on the cost of development is to show them something new and intrigue them with how it will boost results. If you’re just pushing another sell sheet or PowerPoint presentation, don’t expect them to get excited about coughing up their fair share. Instead, partner with sales to develop more effective tools, like an interactive sales presentation, that enables them to tailor each sales conversation to the customer’s unique needs. Interactive tools go beyond just telling your marketing story and really engages customers. Take your sales tools to the next level and pump up your sales team to get as excited as you are about allocating resources to bring those tactics to life.
Big companies often have separate marketing teams with separate marketing goals and budgets. Look for opportunities to break down those silos and team up with other marketing managers to create joint programs that build synergy and stretch your resources further. We once had two different marketing teams from the same company approach us to launch two different products to the same audience on the same time schedule. By bringing them a co-marketing strategy, we empowered them to share creative costs for high-dollar tactics like microsites, landing pages and direct mail. Plus, each team was able reach more prospects with more tactics than either one could have accomplished alone—all within their limited budgets.
3. Connect with corporate communications
When it comes to corporate responsibility and public relations, your Corporate Communications department is probably running the show. Collaborate with them to see if you can align around common goals. If customers are asking to know more about how you’re reducing your environmental footprint, for example, why not convince Corporate Communications to create (and pay for) developing a sustainability report, so you don’t have to dedicate budget for it? If you can be part of the conversation, you can provide input into the materials Corporate Communications develops for investors and other stakeholders, to create tools that serve double-duty for your marketing needs.
4. Take what’s yours from IT
Even though marketing and technology are virtually inseparable, your Marketing and IT budgets often aren’t. Your website is one of your biggest marketing tools, so try tapping into IT’s budget to pay for the site build or ongoing maintenance. Lobby for them to pay for the technology, while you control the content—taking a costly portion of the project outside of your budget.
When it comes to stretching your marketing budget, it’s really less about stealing dollars from other departments and more about giving them sound reasons for how your cost-sharing plans can meet their objectives, too. You’re one company with common goals, and other departments are likely facing the same budget challenges you are. Work together and everyone will be richer for it.
About Jim MacLachlan
Jim MacLachlan is president of Tartan Marketing. His big thinking and big personality drive an agency culture built on strategic prowess and creative solutions. With more than 20 years of experience in marketing management, sales segmentation and strategic selling, Jim has provided the framework for highly successful programs for a variety of top B2B companies.