Caucasian hand holding a paper sign that says “budget” with scissors cutting the sign in half.

How to succeed after marketing budget cuts

You can succeed after marketing budget cuts.

Because so many companies see marketing as an expense, rather than contributing to revenue, marketing budgets are often the first to get cut. These cuts can happen at any time during the year.

Even though marketers know that what they do contributes to revenue, it’s often tough to prove the contributions and even tougher to stop the budget cuts. But there is hope.

Here are three tips to handle marketing budget cuts and still meet your goals:

  • Prioritize relentlessly
  • Be transparent
  • Get creative.

Prioritize relentlessly to handle budget cuts

When your marketing budget gets cut, you usually can’t do all the projects you planned for the year. So, you need to go through each one and determine whether to proceed with it.

When deciding which projects to cut, ask yourself these questions:

  • Does it align with our marketing strategy? A good marketing strategy helps you align your marketing goals with the overall business goals
  • Will it help further our organization’s success?
  • What current and similar projects are returning the best ROI (return on investment)?
  • Will anyone notice if we don’t do this project this year?
  • Do we have the staffing resources to keep this project going?
Road sign that read: Tough Decision Ahead
Prioritizing relentlessly can help you succeed after marketing budget cuts.

The answers to the above questions should help you prioritize your marketing projects to ensure the ones you proceed with will best benefit the organization. Make sure, for the projects you do keep, that you will be able to get data and analytics on their performance, so you can avoid future project cuts.

Be transparent

Due to economic ups and downs, much of the U.S. work culture has been trained in a “do-more-with-less” environment. While I’m all for working hard, this kind of environment can lead to burnout and even more budget cuts.

Why? Because if your marketing department performs at the same level even after budget cuts, executives will be tempted to keep cutting your budget.

Instead of overworking your marketing team and trying to do every project you had planned before the budget cut, be transparent with your leadership team.

Show them the ROI marketing projects bring to the organization. Ensure that key internal stakeholders understand the impact of budget cuts on marketing activities. Clearly communicate the revised strategies, goals, and expectations. Align everyone around the new priorities to maintain a cohesive approach and support from other teams.

When you set leadership’s expectations correctly, you can still get important work done without overworking your team or surprising anyone.

Get creative to succeed with marketing budget cuts

Marketing teams are full of creative people with innovative ideas. So, if your marketing budget gets cut, get even more creative.

For example, maybe there is someone on your team running a project that’s getting cut but has the skill set and desire to try something new. Maybe you have a full-time employee who wants the freedom and flexibility to be a contractor instead. Maybe you have two people who would be happy to go part-time and share a job. Or maybe you have someone with ideas on how to automate routine marketing tasks to free up your remaining staff to get needed projects completed.

It’s a pain to get your marketing budget cut. But with prioritization, transparency, and creativity, you can still meet your marketing goals.

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