Along with long school holidays and allergies, summer means budget season for many marketers. Regardless of the time of year, budgets should never be far from your thoughts – blindingly obvious as it is, marketing budgets are the key to delivering your marketing strategies. Your primary objective should be setting and managing budgets that deliver the highest possible yield for the business.

Thoughts of budgets have been largely positive of late – they’re on the rise, evidenced by several years of Gartner’s CMO Spend Survey data (subscription required), with marketing budgets now sitting at a handsome 12% of company revenue. Averages are great for the big picture stuff, but they can mask underlying trends. Digging into the data we see some interesting trends, with an increasing number of marketers expecting their budgets to flatline, or indeed fall across 2017.

And even where budgets have increased, so too have the demands being made of marketers. Long story short, you’re now in a position where you’re being asked to do a lot more with a little more budget, from martech to analytics to innovation and customer experience.

This means that you need to get good at marketing cost optimization, and quick. What do we mean by cost optimization? We mean squeezing the best possible ROI from marketing budgets. As a starting point, this means being able to answer the following questions:

  • How can I best align my marketing budgets with business goals?
  • How can I ensure my budgets are informed by what’s happening in the marketing environment?
  • How do I deliver short-term cost efficiency, enabling me to trim extraneous costs without harming longer-term marketing programs?
  • How can I Identify longer-term cost efficiencies that deliver sustained benefits to the business?
  • How can I build a data-driven, cost conscious culture in the marketing organization that embeds costs efficiency KPIs and metrics across the team?

To support you in your cost optimization efforts, we’ve developed a range of tools and research, digging into how you can deliver cost efficiency across your campaigns, your people, your technology, your partners and your processes.

As a starting point, take a look at our marketing leader’s guide to cost optimization (subscription required). Use this document to navigate through the suite of Gartner marketing cost optimization research.

So, whether you’re benefiting from budget increases, or expecting a spending squeeze, spend the summer equipping you and your team with the capability to better manage your marketing costs.

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