Firstly, most people dread the annual budgeting cycle, crafting the annual operating plan (AOP) and programmes to spend the budget. But what if your budget was not guaranteed? Zero-based budgeting (ZBB) is a method of budgeting that starts from zero. All expenditure is logged, justified and approved before boots hit the ground or e-mails fly.
Sounds easy, right? Well, not for all departments. If you are solely a cost centre with headcount, this might have minimal impact. If much of your budget is incremental to headcount, it might be a culture shock.
McKinsey , the global consulting and insight business, point out that a zero-based budget is more than starting from zero. The cultural shift towards cost management means that unproductive cost or low marketing return on investment (MROI) is stripped out. Ultimately, this leaves a leaner business with savings taken to profit or invested in other areas (e.g. sales commission or new products) with higher returns.
What if you have no marketing budget or your marketing budget is cut?
Zero-based budgeting is a real possibility for marketing departments. Yes, you have your marketing team but your spend needs justifying and activities put through governance for approval. At best, this slows down marketing activity until marketers are familiar with the process. At worst, marketing campaigns and activity grind to a halt because of a lack of data and an inability to demonstrate ROI.
Thinking about your marketing spend, how much return can you reliably demonstrate? Do you have experts in marketing science analysing data to produce KPIs, metrics and dashboards to share with senior management? Can you articulate the ROI of campaigns to the CFO/FD, CEO or owners? Can you link social media posts, e-mails and events to increased sales leads and conversion rate?
Why you need a marketing expert focused on ROI for zero-based budgeting
Our chartered marketers focus on partnership, using the science of marketing to increase ROI. Based in Wilmslow in Cheshire, we work with you to put marketing at the heart of business strategy.
The CFO won’t really take away our marketing budget, will they?
Yes, they will. Accenture’s whitepaper , Getting Ahead by Cutting Back, recommends cost structures based on what is needed now, not looking back at what you had before.
The rationale for creating a zero-based budget is compelling. Here are some of the reasons it has gained increased traction in the last few years:
- A volatile (Brexit?) and changing landscape (trade wars)
- Reducing complexity
- Defending from takeover threats
- Re-investing proceeds from cost saving exercises
- Detailed and transparent forecasts
ZBB is key to sustainable competitiveness and embedding cost savings for the long-term. Furthermore, with companies like McKinsey and Accenture driving adoption, marketing may have to adapt quickly.
Is your marketing strategy and marketing goals aligned to business strategy?
Every business should have a marketing strategy, yet nearly one third of B2B businesses have no formal marketing plan. Additionally, nearly one fifth believe their documented strategy is ineffective.
The marketing strategy is the marketing logic to achieve your marketing goals. A fully-formed strategy has a marketing plan. This outlines the activities, costs and metrics to evaluate success. If you do not have a marketing plan that works or marketing at the boardroom table, zero-based budgeting could be detrimental to the organisation.
Think Beyond gets you ready for zero-based budgeting
The benefits of business consultation are clear and SMEs are reaching out to specialists in greater numbers. Think Beyond have the support they need to accelerate sales into orbit. We operate from Cheshire with clients across Lancashire, Manchester, Derbyshire and beyond. Our chartered marketers help you get the most out of your marketing spend.
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