Adam T. Sutton

Staying the Budget Axe

March 27th, 2009

When times are tight, every marketing campaign and employee’s performance is checked. And when you’re holding the budget axe, everything can look like a tree. But try to stifle your inner lumberjack. A few tweaks can turn a busted campaign into a boon, and a few suggestions can turn a struggling worker into a solid performer.

I talked with Kelley Quain Troia, Senior Director, Marketing Operations, Wal-Mart, earlier this month about accountability in marketing. She described a few of the challenges to setting up a smooth accountability system.

Later in the conversation, we touched on what marketers and managers should do when campaigns or people aren’t meeting expectations. The immediate reaction may be to swing the axe, but Troia says you should first look for something that could be holding back the under-performer.

For campaigns that aren’t meeting set KPIs, try a few tweaks in the copy. Or look for underlying infrastructure problems, such as poorly rendering emails or a dysfunctional landing page.

For struggling employees, sometimes a few suggestions or even peer pressure can help, Troia says.

“You can use the pressure of others to help raise the bar with folks that might not be meeting their KPIs. And it’s not always saying ‘why can’t you be more like this person?’ But it’s trying to gently push them. ‘Here’s what these guys are up to. You might want to leverage some of the ways that they’re working to help get yourself at their level.’”

You can also encourage collaboration between strong teams and weaker teams to help bring them up to speed, Troia says.

Confusion in the organization–such as a disjointed hierarchy or poor reporting methods–can also hold people back. Be sure to take a second look at a person or campaign’s situation before letting the axe fall.

Adam T. Sutton

About Adam T. Sutton

Adam T. Sutton, Senior Reporter, MarketingSherpa
Adam generates content for MarketingSherpa's Email and Inbound Marketing newsletters. His years of experience in interviewing marketers and conveying their insights has spanned topics such as search marketing, social media marketing, ecommerce, email and more. Adam previously powered the content behind MarketingSherpa's Search and Consumer-marketing newsletters and carries that experience into his new role. Today, in addition to writing articles, he contributes content to the MarketingExperiments and MarketingSherpa blogs, as well as MECLABS webinars, workshops and summits.

Prior to joining MarketingSherpa, Adam was the Managing Editor at the Mequoda group. There he created content and promotions for the company's daily email newsletter and managed its schedule.

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