More and more is being demanded of marketing departments and teams every year from a production and ROI perspective. But those higher expectations aren’t always matched with corresponding raises in budgets and headcount. Your current staff is already busy and worked to capacity as-is; so where can you turn to get the additional resources you need to hit your rising targets?
This is a challenge marketing leaders across the country are faced with every year. Marketing budgets overall are growing–but marketers are also taking on lots of big, brand new responsibilities: customer experience, technology decisions, consumer analytics, digital transformation and more. Even with more butter to work with, things still end up getting spread too thin. And when something falls through the cracks or fails, we all know who gets the blame.
One thing we’ve noticed as a provider of marketing staff augmentation services is that many marketing executives and managers aren’t aware of some of the creative ways they can get access to extra production capacity and sorely needed expertise. In reality, there is often a variety of underused or little-known budgets within a given business that can potentially be redirected to bring in contract marketing experts, interim marketing executives, skilled marketing consultants and more. Even funds that weren’t originally intended for the marketing department have the potential to be applied toward this interim expertise when you need it most. You’ll almost always be able to tap into project budgets through a “Time and Materials” Statement of Work for staffing–but odds are good that you’re not fully aware of other budgets that can be pulled from.
It makes sense that many of these budgeting options would go unnoticed by a senior marketer; after all, most of us would rather be focused on our strategy and day-to-day work than probing through corporate budgets and dealing with any bureaucracy and politics that might come along with it. However, finding and accessing these resources probably isn’t as difficult as you might think, and could be just what you need to give your team a little extra firepower and scale up to meet your goals. Unsure where to start? Consider checking out these budgets that can frequently be pulled from to improve the flexibility of your marketing workforce:
The Operating Budget
It’s not uncommon for businesses to have a little wiggle room left in their operating budget for employee compensation that goes underutilized because headcount is capped and there’s no room for additional full time employees. These funds are earmarked for talent acquisition–but no more talent can be acquired due to limits on hiring and team size.
You can make use of this resource by diverting it to a non-permanent talent pool like contract marketing staffing. These professionals work right in house alongside the rest of your team, following your direction and executing projects as you see fit. But because they’re not your employees and don’t add to your payroll, you’ll often find more leeway in bringing them in with the Operating Budget than you would when adding full time staff. Additionally, you’ll typically have the option to bring a contractor on full-time once headcount opens up if you find a particular professional that you simply can’t do without.
Many organizations with substantial marketing and advertising operations will have several agency partners that they rely on for support. Agencies can be a great way to manage campaigns and develop big-picture strategy–but from a cost perspective, they’re not a very efficient solution for your day-to-day internal marketing needs.
Despite substantial markups, many businesses who find themselves in need of extra marketing execution will simply outsource it to their agencies–even when it’s relatively mundane work like updating an image on a home page or changing the language of an email CTA. It might be an effective solution–but it’s also expensive, and sometimes a little slower than you’d like. Good agencies don’t come cheap, and they’ll typically charge the same hourly rate for simple execution work that they would for advanced, sophisticated production.
If you find yourself pushing off relatively straightforward marketing work to your agency because you simply don’t have the time or manpower to do it yourself, that’s a perfect opportunity to start diverting that budget to an insourced alternative. Interim marketing contractors can be found to do comparable work for you in-house, often for about a third less than what you’re paying your agencies
End of Year / “Use It or Lose It” Budgets
You might sometimes come across a pool of funds that is available at your discretion–but only for a limited amount of time. Perhaps the calendar or fiscal year is about to roll over and those dollars will be swallowed back up into the bigger corporate budget. Maybe a campaign didn’t cost quite as much as you anticipated and you have some leftover resources than can be invested elsewhere, or your senior leadership has decided to divert some extra funds your way to help with a mission-critical initiative.
Whatever the case, these time-sensitive pools are temporary, meaning you can’t rely on their availability in the future. That rules out adding new full-time employees, so most marketing leaders will usually funnel these budgets into new technology and infrastructure.
But with a little creativity, you can leverage these resources into contract marketing staffing to bolster your workforce, too. Any experienced marketing staffing firm will be able to work with you to find a way to transform your short-term access to additional funds into long-term contracted assistance, all while keeping the accounting department happy.