A Holistic Approach to Spend Management
The day to day management of marketing campaigns can be time consuming, and as a result, the average marketer tends to have their “blinders” on, which prevent them from taking a step back and looking at their place in the marketing organization from a 30,000 foot view. The overall enterprise’s health and well being greatly affects the budgets and roles in marketing organizations, and those marketing organizations that don’t align their plans to the corporate standards feel the squeeze the most when the organization’s health declines, and budget cuts begin.
Marketers are stereotyped as “creatives” who traditionally have a clouded view of the numbers. Sadly, when viewed by upper management, marketing activities can seem like wasted time, squandered money, and lacking in credibility.
However, fear not, as there is a solution. Marketing can help themselves solve many of these challenges by introducing budget visibility through a holistic approach to spend management.
Graphical and interactive, and part of the marketing operations (MOPS) stack, marketing performance management (MPM) systems & dashboards standardize marketing budgets and align them to corporate standards. These systems give Marketers, Finance, and IT stakeholders visibility and clarity into performance data that was heretofore unheard of—without spending weeks compiling disparate spreadsheets for a contrived, inaccurate analysis.
The benefits of technology-supported transparent budgeting are many. Here are just a few of the most compelling ways it can bolster your marketing operation:
Real-time budget clarity lends proactive decision-making power
An MPM system not only comprehensively tracks budgets and expenses, connecting with finance, it also make it easy to allocate money to specific marketing campaigns and operations, then determine ROI (both of individual efforts and overall marketing operations goals) as programs develop.
This contributes to efficiency and productivity in two ways: 1) the MPM system automates analysis and calculations, and 2) real-time results provide clarity that allows marketers to make better, more proactive, decisions when it counts most. It eliminates surprises and reduces wasted effort.
Budget visibility supports efficient iteration of standard marketing processes
Whether campaign-based or operations-based, marketing processes should continually be evaluated and tweaked for efficiency and effectiveness. A transparent budget and financial results allow marketers to determine costs and reasonable expected results of defined processes.
If you know what to expect, it’s easier to predict potential results of future marketing efforts that use the same products, processes, channels and marketing conditions.
Through each iteration of a marketing process you are tweaking, the numbers provide information—and confirmation—that help you make confident decisions for future processes.
Transparent, comprehensive budget data transforms KPIs into dependable guides
Even without an MPM system, the data is there somewhere. You can track how many sales you’ve realized as a result of direct marketing efforts, for example. But going deeper or comparing various KPIs requires such a heroic effort, it’s often just not done.
You can set up the dashboard of an MPM system to keep KPIs at the forefront, with analysis going on behind the scenes while you do more important things.
Suddenly, when you are able to access all the numbers through automatic number-crunching apps, it opens your eyes to the effects of your marketing efforts and operations initiatives. KPIs become more dependable because you know they are based on solid data and it’s easier to relate to other metrics to provide deeper insight.
Budget visibility reduces stress, creates confidence
As with many human activities, one of our biggest obstacles is ourselves. We sometimes lack confidence, clarity of thinking and even a positive attitude that can derail or at least slow down our efforts. Second-guessing in the world of marketing largely happens because we aren’t sure of things. We don’t know what to expect (even if we do have some good educated guesses). We don’t know how our efforts are truly affecting our business. So we make decisions that amount to guessing based on incomplete data. We often either press on through a process with false confidence and then wait to see what happens, or we pull back at the wrong time and waste the time and money we’ve already spent.
Clear, well-defined, thoroughly evaluated budget and expenditure data eliminates all of that hesitation. It allows us to be more efficient and more effective. It can affect everything from program expenses, to pride in our work, and the ability to confidently participate in C-suite-level discussions.
Want to learn more about how you can take your organization’s marketing technology to the next level? If you have any questions or thoughts around this topic, let’s connect.
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