HomeBlog CMOs: Cut Costs, Ask for Less Budget and Become More Effective… Really?

CMOs: Cut Costs, Ask for Less Budget and Become More Effective… Really?

October 27, 2015 | By Alan Gonsenhauser

  • Discover an approach that can expand your credibility as a marketing leader and general manager
  • Consider how often you have you shown ways to cut marketing spending and become more effective
  • Reducing costs enhances the marketing leader's relationship with the CFO and CEO

You know the expression “less is more”? Allow me to recommend something that may seem counterintuitive to marketing leaders. Having been through more planning and budgeting cycles than I’d care to count, I’ll share an approach that can expand your credibility as a marketing leader and general manager.

Today, marketing is becoming more of a house of processes and a profit center than a traditional cost center. But historically, CEOs and CFOs have viewed marketing as a cost center and slush fund with discretionary budget dollars available to cut when needed as performance and priorities change. Sound familiar?

Countless marketing leaders have reinforced that view, frequently asking for more budget without also demonstrating a facile corporate stewardship of the budget dollars to which they were entrusted. How often have you shown ways to cut marketing spending and become more effective? There are a number of situations where you can do this:

  • Among SiriusDecisions clients, we have seen a tremendous amount of wasted content. We estimate that 70 percent of all content created is wasted, either because it’s ineffective with customers and sales, or because it cannot be accessed when needed. As a CMO, I have actually lived this reality. We deployed a content usage study and reduced the number of content pieces in play from 149 to 39, creating customer-centric content that was far more effective with customers and sales. We saved more than $500,000 annually in printing, postage, and shipping. We improved access to the content and enjoyed consistent communication of the brand and explanations of how the products fit into customers’ needs and eased their pain points.
  • As a new CMO, look at how many agencies are used across the company. How many have mixed messages or inconsistent articulation of the brand? Find areas where customers are bombarded with communications across multiple divisions. Examine areas where staff competencies are not leveraged across the organization or are duplicated across multiple divisions in silos. Reducing the number of agencies allows the organization to cut costs and become more effective.

As you see, there are real opportunities to cut costs, expand profitability and make marketing more effective. Reducing costs enhances your relationship with the CFO and CEO. It shows you are a real business partner and demonstrates your command of marketing as a general manager. It also can lesson historical perceptions of marketing as a cost center.

Try the “less is more” approach. Surprise folks with the unexpected, and you may surprise yourself with the results.

Please comment about your personal experiences with this approach. We would love to hear from you!

Alan Gonsenhauser

Alan Gonsenhauser is a Research Director of CMO and Marketing Executive Strategies at SiriusDecisions. He is passionate about accelerating growth, driving innovations and leading business transformations. At SiriusDecisions, he works closely with global chief marketing officers and sales and product leaders to drive positive organizational change and cross-functional alignment, benchmark against peers, and mobilize deployment of new marketing methods to accelerate innovation and growth. Follow Alan on Twitter @agonsenhauser.

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