Your Marketing Budget: Asking for an increase

Getting a marketing budget increased? It may sound like something out of an episode of Mission: Impossible. But it can be done, even in a tough economy.

You’ve heard it before: Marketing is an investment, not an expense. If you’ve spent wisely in the current fiscal year and can show beneficial results, you’re in a much better position. If you can demonstrate strong competitive pressures that can be addressed through additional marketing spend, all the better.

Here are five steps to kick-start that all-important request for additional funding.

1. Know the facts

Take a good, hard look at what you’ve spent so far — and what additional funding you need. What circumstances dictate a greater marketing spend?

  • Your brand has advanced, but your communications have not.
  • Your campaigns are limited to a single channel, and you’re missing opportunities.
  • Your competitors have launched new products and new campaigns, and you’re feeling the effects.
  • Your originally approved budget is simply inadequate.

You may only get one chance to ask for extra funding. Be prepared.

2. Examine your resources

First, take an honest look at your company’s current financial situation. Determine how reasonable your request will seem to decision-makers. Be sure you understand the overall context of your request. Then, get creative with resource allocation. Are there areas in your current budget that can be trimmed or reassigned to create better distribution across more channels? Offering well thought-out solutions may make your request more palatable.

3. Create clear success metrics

Construct a strategic plan that’s designed to deliver the most results for the dollars you hope to spend. Outline the specific circumstances that have prompted you to submit a request for an increase. Again, refer to competitors’ work to drive your point home.

Be clear about the objectives you plan to achieve and the tactics you intend to use. How will your organization know when you’ve achieved success? How do you intend to demonstrate ROI?

4. Present with confidence

Just as you market products and services, market your budget proposal by presenting its distinctive benefits.

  • Start by presenting the facts on how you’ve responsibly managed the current budget.
  • Demonstrate that your current marketing efforts are closely linked to your company’s success and deliver measurable ROI.
  • Underscore how marketing supports your organization’s overall goals and initiatives.
  • Outline the downside of no additional spend. Opportunities missed are the most expensive.

Don’t go into the boardroom until you’re 100 percent behind your proposal.

5. Defend, but don’t be defensive 

Be prepared to defend your proposal, but don’t be defensive. You may face tough questions:

  • Is now the right time to be spending money on marketing?
  • Why can’t you work with the budget that’s already been approved?
  • How soon can we expect a return on our investment?
  • Is this a permanent expense we’ll face every year?”

Getting a larger budget can be challenging. But if you’ve assessed the competition, constructed a realistic plan, considered your company’s resources, and demonstrated your ability to measure ROI, your request has a stronger chance of being accepted.

When that happens, be sure to deliver excellence.