Marketing: You Need It!
Calling all creatives, online marketers, event planners, party throwers, guerrilla street team hustlers! It’s time to shine a big spotlight on something you may not like thinking about – your allowance, A.K.A your marketing budget.
We’ve all heard the old adage, “it takes money to make money”. This is at least half true, although I’ve seen $10,000 per month cash flow businesses built with only a few hundred dollars and a lot of hard work. The tightwad in me has to concede to the fact that with a little bit of money spent on some well planned marketing, we have seen conversions in our business, so I’m not going to discount this idea at all.
What I will do is challenge you to adopt a few other good bits of advice into your bank-o-business-knowledge. “A penny saved is a penny earned” is a good one to keep in mind. What I take from this one is the discipline of saving and watching your money pays dividends down the line.
There seems to be a constant struggle between the marketing people and the accounting people, from my experience. The marketers are the dreamers, the big picture people, they see what can be. My tribe, the accountants, are steeped in the details. Things are a little more black and white in our world – and I mean that literally. Right now I have 4 tabs open with google docs spreadsheets, my Xero partner edition, this WordPress blog applet, and on my other screen I have an Excel sheet open (Yep. 2 screens. Whats up?). The only color I see is the light blue of Xero’s branding. Other than that it’s a grid of greyscale and numbers. Also, by the very nature of our function, accountants rely on the ghost of data past – we see what has been.
Why is this important? Because there has to be a control on big idea spending. We have to be there to reign in your dreams, marketing! My job is to make sure your office has electricity after the awesome concert event you put together. It’s my job to ensure you can make payroll after you’ve printed 100,000 high gloss full color flyers.
The fundamental difference here is that new marketing ideas are not as proven to make returns like your company’s core competency is. If I’m looking at your books and see you have $10,000 to spend on cost of services on a proven profit center, or $10,000 to wrap your fleet of vehicles with high design advertisements, I’m probably going to suggest that you stick with what we know works.
“Isn’t that a little short sighted? Don’t you know we must always be looking for new customers?” I get it. It is a sliding scale though. It is not an either/or scenario. If you do your budgeting process correctly, you should already have some earmarked funds for your marketing plan. In fact, to even do a proper budget, accountants need to get sales projections from the marketing team in order to see how much money is going to be available for projected expenses (including marketing expenses). You guys have to be involved.
In the same way, when you are sitting in your meetings coming up with your ideas, it helps to have your accountant in on the conversation. While she may put some restrictions on how much money you can spend on a particular project, this barrier can actually make you become much more creative. Let’s be real – paying for billboard space takes close to zero creative juice. Poaching customers from your competition on social media with some well thought out hashtags is pretty clever. It’s also almost free :).
The moral of the story is make sure that your budgeting process is tight and sets a reasonable budget for marketing activities, stick to it, and involve your accountant in your brainstorm sessions. You could save a bunch of money, and come up with some really original marketing campaigns in the process.
What are some original and relatively inexpensive marketing ideas that you or your team have developed? Post a comment below. We’d love to hear from you!