Hot Takes

Why is marketing the first and deepest budget cut in a downturn?


Are marketers their own worst enemy? 

Thankfully it’s been a while since we’ve dealt with a sustained recession.  Since our memories tend to be short we likely forget that budgets get cut during downtimes and especially marketing budgets according to Harvard Business Review. 

I’ve had the hard conversations, in good times and bad, justifying marketing strategy, staff, and budget with leaders who just don’t “buy it”. 

I have an interesting theory as to one of the reasons why and it’s related to the following list:

  • ABM to ABX 
  • Cross-channel, omnichannel, 360
  • Conversational Marketing
  • CX
  • Etc…

The list above is familiar to anyone in the marketing or marketing adjacent world and they undoubtedly have utility as short-hand among practitioners. 

The problem is: they have a large “BS” baffles brains factor. 

They are really a re-branding exercise of core marketing/sales/business principles in many cases strictly to assist in the sale of services or new technology. 

ABM is probably the most egregious example! 

Many probably remember the term “Named Account”, and while admittedly this was a concept siloed in the sales organization for far too many years and far too many companies — the best of the best realized that a coordinated effort was the best strategy to win these Named Accounts.

How about this idea?

Instead of marketing QBRs being a shifting sand of constantly rebranded acronyms that no executive leader can really get a hold of for enough time to appreciate, how about focusing it all back to revenue using plain terms?

Bet that will create a healthier and more pragmatic internal conversation for the good and the bad times.