Marketers are inundated with software that can streamline everything from sending an email to tracking leads, yet there’s a dearth of support when it comes to setting goals, refining plans, managing budgets, and tracking success – especially in terms of ROI.
“If you look at most of the solutions out there, they’re in place to help you be more efficient, but the measurement isn’t equal across different channels and different campaigns,” says Scott Todaro, co-founder and CMO for Plannuh, a leading, cloud-based platform for operational marketing. “Marketers are reporting on numbers, but the numbers don’t line up because we are using all these different measurements with no way to calculate the true business value.”
A 30-year professional marketer who has held leadership positions with seven companies, Todaro joined ITWC CMO Fawn Annan in January 2022 for Managing the Marketing Budget, an installment of CMO Talks, a podcast series designed by ITWC to showcase strategies for gaining a competitive edge through the intersection of marketing and technology. Their 30-minute discussion focused on how to apply strategic marketing principles in order to reach a new level of operational excellence.
Using Technology to Make Better decisions
“Sadly, there are a lot of marketing teams out there that do not have a plan,” says Todaro, who co-authored the book The Next CMO – A Guide to Operational Marketing Excellence. “They may have some metrics that they’re looking to achieve, but there’s no real strategy. We need to take technology and use it in ways that will help us make better decisions.”
The best course of action, in his opinion, is to combine the art and science of marketing to set logical goals and build solid plans. The next step is utilizing technology to measure success. “At the end of the day, in order to achieve excellence, you need to be able to see everything working together so you can make better decisions,” he says.
Arriving at True Business Value
According to Todaro, the operational component and execution comes down to a level of diligence and the ability to understand and measure goals. That leads to a better understanding of how best to allocate financial resources. “The only way to make sure that you’re allocating the budget correctly is to have a plan that is built out so that you are allocating the budget to that plan,” he says.
Todaro says there is power in sharing ROI numbers with the executive team, but only if the numbers are shared in a way they understand. This is where Plannuh distinguishes itself by using metrics to calculate the ROI on every single campaign clients run, and calculating the business value based on what was spent and the return from a profit standpoint. The end result is true business value expressed in a way that allows easy comparisons across all marketing activities.
Tips for Marketing Budget Management
Although Todaro is quick to champion the impact of technology in his line of work, he believes there is more to modern marketing than technology. “Marketers need to be marketers first,” he says. “The technology tools should be there as supplements to help them do their job or provide visibility or efficiency.”
When asked by Annan to share recommendations for evolving one’s role in marketing budget management, Todaro suggests getting ahead of the budget by building a plan that supports the need for budget requests. He also advises asking for 20 per cent more than is needed to compensate for the likelihood of having the CFO cut 20 per cent from budget requests. Beyond budget considerations, he advocates pushing the limits, staying informed, focusing on the customer, and making the most of marketing dollars.
“And if you do, you’ll find that marketing will get a lot easier for you,” he says.