The Best Way to Squeeze Every Last Drop of Marketing Value from Your 2016 Budgets

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With less than two months left until the end of the calendar year, it’s time to take stock of what resources you have left.

By this point most holiday planning and expenditures have already been made. Depending on how their years have gone, many marketing leaders will find themselves with a little margin left over in certain budgets. If you’re one of them, how can you make the most of the various pockets of cash lingering in your marketing department’s balance sheet?

One of the most reliable ways to get consistent productivity from spare budget space is, without a doubt, contract marketing staffing solutions. It’s an excellent way to bring in extra production capacity and expertise to work on a pet project, overhaul outdated systems, or give your hard working full-time team a little breathing room.

Use It or Lose It

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Depending on your business, your fiscal year may end on December 31st or at some other time. Regardless, after that point any unused funds you had available throughout the year will typically be removed by that time.

Unanticipated wiggle room in the budget can appear all the time, for a variety of reasons. Perhaps a big campaign you planned earlier in the year ended up being a little cheaper than originally projected. Maybe the heads of the businesses opted to divert extra funds your way for a big last-minute push.

It may be appropriate for some parts of the business to aim to operate under budget whenever possible. Marketing is usually not one of them. Unused funds are missed opportunities for better ROI and short or long-term growth.

Of course, that’s not to say that you should spend extra cash frivolously. But if there’s a consistent, smart place to invest them then, you should take advantage of it. And fortunately for marketing leaders, there’s one sure bet that reliably drives returns in almost any situation: talent.

Marketing Staffing Solutions: The Sure Bet

The wisest investment you can ever make in marketing is into talent. But when you’re dealing with temporary budget surpluses, you can’t count on those funds being available in the future.

That usually closes the door to full-time hires. You don’t want to bring someone new in if you’re unsure where their salary will come from next year.

But there are still plenty of talent resources out there to pull from that don’t require an indefinite commitment. Interim marketing consultants, contract marketing staffing, freelancers and more can all add experience, expertise and production capacity to a marketing department that’s been stretched thin throughout the year.

Perhaps best of all, that temporary expertise doesn’t have to end at midnight on January 31st (or whenever your fiscal year ends). A good marketing staffing agency can work with you to pull from existing time-sensitive budget space and structure a contract that makes marketing talent available well into the future.

Where to Look for Budget Leeway

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The way I’ve been talking, you’d almost think that most marketing leaders just have piles of cash laying around ready to be used at their discretion. The reality, of course, is that most of your marketing budgets will typically get used up more or less as expected throughout the year. It’s not like marketing departments are just overflowing with money.

That said, you may be able to pull from more budget buffer space than you realize. There are the typical marketing department budgets, of course—campaign and special project funds, technology and IT budgets, vendor accounts, etc.

But don’t forget to look at agency budgets, reserves set aside for consultants, and the general operating budget. These are places that senior marketers who get wrapped up in the day-today rigors of marketing might not consider. But with a little creativity and an experienced staffing partner, any extra space found in these cash pools can be translated into more experienced marketers working alongside your team.

Ideas for Making the Most of Your Staffing

Most senior marketing managers have a million things on their plates. There’s no shortage of directions they’d love to divert more hands and brains. But if you’re lucky enough to find yourself with some spare budget and wondering whether to put it towards a flexible talent resource, here is some inspiration:

  • Knock out that pet project you’ve been sitting on. You know the one I’m talking about. Every high-powered marketing executive has a vision that they’ve never been able to execute due to lack of capacity. Bring in just the right expertise for the job through an interim workforce to get your idea off the ground. You can even try something crazy you’re not 100% sure will work.
  • Get a systems audit. Sure, your marketing operations are performing well enough. But are they the best they could be? Bring in a growth hacker or other interim marketing consultant to evaluate your internal processes, tools, and systems to identify obvious problems that you might not have noticed.
  • Modernize outdated assets. Got some old creative assets that look like they’re from the 90’s (because they are)? What about clunky site pages and legacy code that are killing your SEO and customer experience? Use your marketing staffing solutions to bring the archaic parts of your business into the modern era.
  • Reinforce your team during extended absences. Are you expecting a member of your marketing department to be on extended leave due to vacation, maternity, sabbatical or something else entirely? Find a contractor with the right skills to fill the gap while they’re gone and minimize the disruption of their absence.

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