5 Steps to Makeover Your Marketing and Planning Budget

Debbi Qaqish
B-to-B Marketing
Current average rating    
Key Takeaways

​What? Marketing operations leaders must be involved in annual planning and budgeting at a strategic level. 

So what? Marketing organizations are undergoing a five-stage makeover to put in place a strategic planning, budgeting and management process to drive revenue. 

Now what? Use the makeover model to gain stature in your organization and put marketing in a position to drive growth and responsively adjust the budget.

​Aug. 15, 2017

A makeover can elevate marketing and set it up for growth and measurable success

It’s time to rethink the tired, ineffective and mired-in-the-past annual planning and budgeting process. It’s time to give it an update that is reflective of marketing’s new responsibilities for driving growth and running marketing like a business. It’s time to assign this makeover to the head of marketing operations. 

In companies where the head of marketing operations orchestrates this makeover, several unexpected benefits accrue:

  1. Planning and budgeting become more than a one-time event.

  2. Marketing becomes a partner in driving growth.

  3. New leadership opportunities are created for the head of marketing operations.

Five Stages of the Makeover Model

Remember the chaos of filling out spreadsheets, running to meetings to discuss and having changes come out of nowhere and for no apparent reason, only for the plan to sit on a shelf? Scratch all that. When the marketing operations leader assumes responsibility for the annual planning and budgeting process, a critical element is added to the role: managing. The new process is now described as the strategic planning, budgeting and management process or SPB&M. It is best explained in this simple model.

Across the top of the model there are two primary stages to the SPB&M process, planning and managing. Under the planning stage, there are three steps the marketing ops leader orchestrates:

  1. Facilitate alignment

  2. Mediate pro forma consensus

  3. Broker shared KPIs and publish plan

Step 1: Facilitate Alignment

In this step of the process, the marketing ops leader works within marketing and across other functional groups such as sales and finance to align the planning process. This begins with reviewing company goals and objectives and deciphering how marketing can help drive those goals. The same exercise occurs with sales and marketing. The result is an organization aligned on goals from top to bottom and a marketing department that understands how to achieve clearly defined goals.

What’s Different?

In this marketing ops-led model, marketing becomes an integral part of the company planning process. Rather than planning in a silo with little knowledge or alignment with other groups, marketing is an integral, active and respected partner throughout the process.

Step 2: Mediate Pro Forma Consensus

A pro forma is a financial statement of your revenues against expenses and is now a required element of any marketing plan and budget that drives accountability for revenue. Using pro formas based on benchmarked data and data on the prior year’s performance will give you a better chance of getting your budget approved and maintained.

In addition, using pro formas improves the perception of marketing credibility. The job of the marketing ops leader is to mediate and build to consensus all the marketing budgets while being able to make a strong case for the overall budget request, especially against requests from other departments.

What’s Different?

Marketing is assuming accountability and being run like a business. The company begins to see marketing as a partner in driving growth.

Step 3: Broker Shared KPIs and Publish Plan

A big difference in this new model is how the marketing ops leader reviews all KPIs (in and out of marketing) and ensures KPIs are aligned. This “brokering” of KPIs is an important activity because once they are established, they become the measure of success. It is this set of KPIs (in and out of marketing) that will be tracked, measured, adjusted and optimized, which will ensure marketing success. Taking the time to get these KPIs targeted and aligned is what positions the managing stage for success.

What’s Different?

KPIs become the visible and transparent measures for the next year. KPIs are not placed on a shelf and forgotten.

In the next stage, managing, the marketing ops leader executes two steps:

4. Track and measure

5. Adjust and optimize

Step 4: Track and Measure

Transitioning from planning to managing is a significant pivot. Everything done in the planning stage is now proactively managed by the marketing ops leader. It’s time to put theory into practice.

What’s Different?

Expertise and process are applied to track and measure. It is no longer a haphazard and uncoordinated set of activities.

Step 5: Adjust and Optimize

Because the marketing ops leader has the data and the systems to track and measure, she is also responsible for sharing that data to optimize the plan and the budget. In this sense, the marketing ops leader is like an investment advisor who manages a portfolio of investments. Those investments that perform poorly are defunded. Those investments that perform well receive more funding. By aligning to other groups and viewing the marketing portfolio as a set of investments, the marketing ops leader can responsively recommend adjustments and optimizations to ensure goal and KPI achievement.

What’s Different?

One person is constantly reviewing the overall performance of marketing to plan and budge in context of the other groups. This sets up an agile approach to making changes based on performance and market conditions. No more one-and-done budgets.

Define and Lead Change

Finally, define and lead change is a demarcated as a horizontal bar that extends across the bottom of the model to indicate this set of activities occur during every stage and every step.

The makeover model is a new way to plan, budget and manage and it may require substantial change in how marketing participates and interacts with other groups in the process, pivots to a financial view of the process and how it is viewed as a partner in the process. In this new world, the marketing ops leader will act as a mediator, counselor, advisor and project manager.

The makeover model brings credibility, confidence and control to marketing like it has never had before. It also creates an incredible career opportunity for the marketing ops leader. This role is highly visible and valuable in changing the perception of what marketing can do for a business. It changes the role of the marketing ops leader from that person who does the technology and execution to that person who can help build and sustain a scalable revenue growth machine for the business.


 Marketing Operations Webinar - The Pedowitz Group


Considering a marketing ops makeover? Download this white paper on “Rise of Marketing Operations.”

Recommended For You:
AMA PCM Digital Marketing Exam 3 Steps to Unify Sales and Marketing for Revenue Wins 3 Barriers CMOs Face in Becoming Chief Customer Officers

AMA PCM Digital Marketing Exam

3 Steps to Unify Sales and Marketing for Revenue Wins

3 Barriers CMOs Face in Becoming Chief Customer Officers


 Sign Up for Marketing News Weekly

Get the best marketing thought leadership delivered directly to your inbox!

Author Bio:

Debbi Qaqish
Debbie Qaqish is principal partner and chief strategy officer of <a href="http://www.pedowitzgroup.com/?utm_source=PR&utm_campaign=AMA%27s%20B2B%20Marketing%20newsletter&utm_medium=Bylined%20Article" target="_blank" >The Pedowitz Group</a>. She manages global client relationships and leads the firm’s thought leadership initiatives. She has been helping B-to-B companies drive revenue growth for over 35 years.
Add A Comment :

Become a Member
Access our innovative members-only resources and tools to further your marketing practice.