12 Reasons Why Marketers Don’t Get Their Budgets

Brad VanAuken The Blake ProjectNovember 13, 20153 min

Why do some marketers fail to get the marketing budgets they need? There are at least twelve reasons. Are any standing in your way?

1. Marketing is not as tangible as products nor as obvious in its impact as sales so it is underfunded because executives really don’t know if it is working or not.

2. Some industries do not spend much on marketing. They rely on sales. They have not experienced or seen the impact of strong brands so they cannot justify spending beyond what everyone else in their category is spending.

3. Marketers have not made a strong case for why they need more money. One of my bosses once told me that a marketing plan is a promise for a certain increase in sales in return for a certain investment in marketing. Many marketers are loathe to promise a certain increase in sales because they don’t know if their plan will achieve that.

4. Sometimes a business is in such desperate financial straights that it cannot afford investment in anything that has a longer-term impact, including marketing.

5. Financial markets and quarterly earnings reports force executives to make shorter-term decisions to “make their numbers” for the quarter. This may require under-funding activities that they know should be funded but whose impact is longer-term.

6. For some executives, typically those who have an operations focus but sometimes also those who have a financial focus, marketing is too much of a black box, “smoke and mirrors” or otherwise unfathomable in how it works or whether it is effective.

7. The marketing executive is not much of a salesperson. That is, he or she is not good at selling the importance of his or her function. He or she is not persuasive.

8. Executives are savvy about brand equity and realize that it is a pool that grows or is depleted over time. Sometimes, the executives make the conscious decision to deplete it for the sake of “making the numbers,” hoping that the company will be in a better position later to build it back up.

9. The marketing spend has been ineffective. The marketing has neither worked to boost sales nor to build brand equity and loyalty. It is a logical choice to decrease funding because it has not been a good investment.

10. Huge resources have been diverted to the big company project that promises to transform the company. It can be development of the “next big thing” or a major acquisition.

11. The executive team does not have confidence in the marketing person or department. Something in the past has turned them off to that person or department.

12. Marketing is both an art and a science and it has both a short-term and a long-term impact. Unless the marketer can adequately explain this, executives will just not know what they are getting for their money.

You can learn more on getting the marketing budget you need in Brand Aid, second edition, A Quick Reference Guide to Solving Your Branding Problems and Strengthening Your Market Position

Branding Strategy Insider is a service of The Blake Project: A strategic brand consultancy specializing in Brand Research, Brand Strategy, Brand Licensing and Brand Education

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Brad VanAuken The Blake Project

One comment

  • Jerome Conlon

    November 16, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    If marketing managers aren’t operating in a “Passion” category that is a high consumer interest, high consumer involvement category…where positioning plussing is going on continuously by competitors…it makes it harder to justify long term brand investments.

    It seems to me that today…direct marketing methods in the digital realm, because they have a feedback loop, are being used excessively as a panacea to driving sales campaigns.

    You can play with the image, text, offer price endlessly to see which pulls hardest. Every category is different. Every marketing organization has their own methods, tools, strategies…and learning curves. But, there is a big difference in defining L-T Strategies for brand building vs. S-T Tactics to drive sales.


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