While March marks the official beginning of spring in the Northern Hemisphere, for millions and millions what’s more exciting is the arrival of the annual NCAA basketball tournament – and of course, basketball brackets.
Between predicting which teams will win, reconciling those predictions, and forecasting who will take home the trophy, it’s no wonder brackets become so top-of-mind for so many (and CEOs everywhere freak out about all that lost productivity).
We always have marketing budgets on the brain, so for us, bracket mania sounds an awful lot like the work marketers face managing a marketing budget. Who says basketball brackets have to mean lost productivity? Here are three lessons we can learn about managing a marketing budget from managing a basketball bracket.
It’s All About Flexibility
In the weeks leading up to the tournament tip-off, end-of-season games and conference championships take their toll on players. Sometimes, that means injuries. And there’s always the element of surprise when an underdog is selected to the tourney. It takes a lot of flexibility to process all of that information on the fly and complete your bracket before the games begin.
Staying on top of your marketing budget requires flexibility too.
Just like your bracket, you make a budget forecast based on current insight, but information is constantly changing and updating. As soon as a change in timing or an increased cost for a marketing activity comes to light, stay flexible and make your budget updates quickly. The term “set it and forget” just doesn’t apply to marketing budgets.
Streamline the Steps
Basketball brackets used to mean a bunch of paper print-outs and color-coded pens marking wins and losses. Thankfully, today most basketball fans manage their brackets digitally, in one of the many apps created just for that purpose. Now, it’s a snap to stay up-to-date after every game. And we all know who wins bragging rights as soon as the final game is over.
Same goes for managing marketing budget workflow. New budgeting tools and collaborative spaces, including the one Allocadia provides, save dramatic amounts of time for teams and streamline the steps. Marketers can work on the same budget without worrying about version control issues, formula errors or other spreadsheet headaches.
Reallocate as Needed
If you’re like President Obama and hope to see Kansas and North Carolina square off in your bracket, you might have to switch some of your selections in earlier games.
This process of “reallocating” – meaning you change winning selections or sacrifice teams for the greater good – is important for good budget workflow, too.
Since many marketers face “use it or lose it” policies, reallocating funds within the budget is a big part of every marketing team’s daily workflow. Whether you’re simply moving money between activities, or shifting amounts between quarters in the same spreadsheet (or better yet, in Allocadia), keep an audit trail of every move, change, addition or deletion to your budget.
Be sure to bookmark Improving Your Daily Marketing Budget Workflow for other quick budget tips.
Looking for a detailed playbook on the rest of the instructions your marketing budget should have come with, but didn’t? Download the full Your Marketing Budget: An Owners’ Manual.
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