How to lead with less: marketing plans that work

Marketing budget cuts are never really a surprise. Along the way, there were signs. Missed sales goals. New data analysis and lead generation projects. Reactive decision-making. Unrest among the leadership team. Requests for spending updates. Calls to buckle down for now, whether now is the rest of the quarter or the year.

When a temporary cut becomes the new normal for your marketing plans and budget, it’s an opportunity—an opportunity for you to demonstrate your marketing leadership in a challenging business environment

Prepare now to use that heightened fiscal focus to your advantage. Here are three behaviors you need to lead and succeed:

Be proactive

  1. Ask the hard questions before others do
  2. Review yesterday’s plan in light of today
  3. Ensure your strategy is aligned with sales

Be decisive

  1. Evaluate your executions using the right KPIs
  2. Value outcomes over activity
  3. Practice ruthless exclusion

Be bold

  1. First prove, then improve
  2. Go where you know the why
  3. Identify risks worth taking

Once you’ve mastered these three behaviors, talk about the marketing results you’re seeing in a concise and compelling way. In the boardroom and the break room, connect the dots for people. Help them see marketing’s impact on the revenue steam, tailoring the message to your audience. This will increase your credibility throughout the organization and position marketing as an important investment going forward.

Even though you’re working with a smaller marketing budget today, it’s a cycle. The business will turn around and additional resources will free up. And that will present a new challenge—another one we’d be happy to help you with.


This post first appeared on the Elevation blog at