A New Mentality – It’s Time for Agency Partners to Embrace 2018 Budget Season
Marketing can be lots of fun— budgeting season is not. With crisp fall weather as a reminder that fourth quarter is around the bend, companies that hire creative and media agencies will soon begin the ritual of annual budgeting and planning.
Effective marketing leaders will partner closely with their agencies now to better define their 2018 scope of marketing work. If you want to see your projects approved in the 2018 budget, get ready to define deliverables, plan expenses and anticipate returns.
CMOs view resource orchestration as part of their job responsibilities. With multiple teams of people and suppliers to impact their marketing success, they have lots of talent to leverage and mobilize. Yet if they perceive lack of transparency, capability gaps, or simple don’t get quality answers to their budget and scope planning questions, they will look in-market to competitively source added bench strength to the roster to better prepare for next year.
Agencies that sync up to the budgeting process (and appreciate the stress) can become their client’s BFF. They become architects of their own future revenue as together they craft goals, strategies and plans for the coming year! Thoughtful, menu-based and competitively priced SOWs that meet CMO information needs will win the day.
Are you Ready? Three Questions CMOs will Ask Ad Agencies
1. How Can I Evolve the Strategic Framework for My Brand in 2018?
Approaching budgeting within a strategic brand framework is a smart model. Doing so recognizes multiple brand targets and channel opportunities, setting the stage for flexible distribution of resources once budgets are approved. It also allows the CMO to use the budgeting process to validate within the company if her/his own contributions are to be enterprise-wide, strategic or more downstream and commercial.
-Future work that is positioned to evolve a current brand strategy is politically smart. It builds upon prior success as the basis for requesting more resources. The mindset of evolution quiets critics as it acknowledges that there is always room improvement.
-Buyer beware: proposed initiatives that aggressively change or overhaul current company marketing strategies are viewed as expensive and risky propositions. And funding for developmental blue sky ideas with no context, as interesting as they may be, are not likely to stand up to the scrutiny of the budget review process.
2. How should I optimize my investment in media?
Every marketer wants to smartly answer this question at the C-Suite level. As digital media spend grows to account for now 25% of global ad spend, marketing leaders wrestle with several budgeting issues that require agency industry expertise.
At the heart of the issue remains the mass vs digital media mix decision, with the growing expectation that more definitive ROI measures will increase the company confidence in specific media spending levels and channel strategies.
The solutions and strategies will vary by advertiser, but the common denominator for companies is the opportunity for their agencies is to design a wickedly smart media test and optimization plan for 2018. The company will likely green light the SOW that includes fees for agency leadership to navigate this hot topic. 2018 Budgets will favor a well-designed media plan complete with test scenarios and data measurements identified.
3. How can I prepare and participate in social media more effectively?
Closely related is the expected expense required to manage social media messaging and brand content creation. Companies today assess what social skills it makes sense to hire for internally and those that should be outsourced – and to whom at what cost.
Agencies can anticipate this question and illustrate their value proposition as the more qualified and proficient provider of social content for brand engagement.
How Will Agencies Get the Job Done in 2018?
- Turn-key processes to create and deploy digital assets across social channels
- Experienced community managers directing subcontractors (niche tech providers)
- Placing dedicated personnel inside company teams
Clients’ 2018 marketing budgets will include a resource strategy for social. Conversations regarding the model, the level of risk for fluid social content and its associated costs should produce SOWs and budgets that can be easily vetted and approved this fall.
More Than Numbers
Planning and budgeting effectively in fourth quarter working closely with agency partners lays the groundwork for a great year to come. Yet producing numbers is only part of the objective. Implementation will require that the proposed scope, resource solutions and costs be socialized in coming months. An outside partner like ROJEK can manage important resource planning strategies with objectivity so client-agency teams are prepared to hit the ground running in 2018.
The 2018 budget process is not drudgery but opportunity. Referring to perhaps the most arduous and complex budget known, the Former United States Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew said, “The Budget is not just a collection of numbers but an expression of our values and aspirations.”
Shall we begin?