Warning: This post has a self-serving promotional element, but I still think you’ll find it entertaining.
A strange thing happens to marketers in December, and it’s a phenomenon that is true for most companies in any industry. Marketers spent much of the year managing their budget tightly, asking about ROI, and squeezing vendors. Then in December they go on a “Wheel of Fortune”-like spending spree.
Why? Why does a marketer in December resemble a squirrel desperately burying nuts before winter? Why not feel great about saving money and take it as profit? Simple answer. Even marketers with P&L responsibility don’t get rewarded for ending the year with residual funds. In fact the Finance department punishes them almost as if they’d overspent their budget.
I’ll never forget my first agency gig when I got a call from our sales director just minutes after I was leaving for Christmas vacation. He asked me to generate three $99,000 statements of work and fax them to his client.
I was amazed. The client had an approval limit of $100K and leftover budget. He would be reprimanded for underspending so he instead “parked” the funds at our agency. Sure our CFO got irate, but I considered it a delightful interest-free loan.
This doesn’t work anymore due to Sarbanes Oxley. When I was at Johnson & Johnson, I had a giant order of custom Kleenex boxes being produced in China. We were required to take receipt of the shipment by December 31, or we couldn’t fund them with that year’s budget. But Kleenex boxes ride on slow boats from China. So I had them delivered to a random J&J warehouse in China by December 31, and then shipped them to the U.S. for delivery later.
Now for the transparent agenda to this post. If you’re one of those marketers who promised yourself you’d do a viral video pilot in 2007 and now have leftover funds, shoot me an e-mail at kevinnalts at gmail dot com. I’ve got time off for the holidays and, as always, will work for food. Faster than a squirrel burying a nut.