“Empire” Season 2 returns this week, and there’s no telling what drama will be in store for the Lyons and their hip-hop music and entertainment company, Empire Enterprises. But it’s a pretty good guess that tensions will still run high between ousted CEO Lucious and his ex-wife Cookie. Even if you haven’t binge-watched the fall season, it’s no surprise the two have always had a notoriously bumpy relationship.
While not as volatile and heated as the exchanges between Cookie and Lucious, marketers may sometimes feel they have a similar push-and-pull relationship – with the finance department.
Marketing is often seen as a free-spending cost center, while finance is often regarded for their frugality. For those operating a marketing budget, it’s a critical to achieve harmony with the finance department.
Cookie and Lucious, take note. These tips can help marketers and their finance counterparts see eye-to-eye – and even soothe a Lyon.
While Cookie served 17 years in prison from drug dealing gone bad, Lucious didn’t exactly keep open channels of communication. He became distant and rarely visited her in prison – and the two eventually divorced.
Avoiding discussions with finance or surprising them with a huge invoice can be a recipe for disaster for marketers too. Keep friction to a minimum by communicating the status of marketing activities.
Our advice? Let finance know about two important intermediary steps: Committed and Occurred. When you’ve signed an ad contract or sent a deposit for trade show booth space, tell finance that the money is slated (committed) to be spent. And once the event has taken place, keep finance up to date that the activity has happened (occurred), even if the invoice hasn’t arrived yet.
Keeping communication lines open helps finance manage cash flow efficiently – which makes them happy. And when finance is happy, everyone else is too.
Stay on Target
When Lucious finds out Cookie has partnered with one of her sons to form Lyon Dynasty as a rival to Empire Enterprises, he quickly sets off to dismantle the new label.
No one – including Lucious Lyon – likes surprises, especially when money is on the table.
Same for corporate finance. After you’ve spent time creating a budget plan and target, stay closely on target with those numbers. Remember, finance isn’t just tracking your budget dollars. They’re responsible for managing money across the entire organization. If you’re overspending against your targets, it stresses them out to figure out how to account for those dollars.
Share the Success
Both Cookie and Lucious are fiercely competitive in their quest to groom the heir to the Empire throne. They frequently pit their talented sons against each other and rarely come together to celebrate Jamal and Hakeem’s musical achievements.
Marketers may find themselves in a similar situation. Part of the reason finance views marketers as big spenders is because all they see are invoices coming across their desk. Finance rarely gets insights into the outcomes from marketing’s spending.
Smart marketers improve the finance-marketing relationship by copying select finance team members on their marketing performance reports. Seeing and sharing results achieved from dollars spent goes a long way to improving the relationship between spenders and savers.