From zero-based budgeting to hero-based budgeting - Sonder
Here are the eight steps to becoming a marketing budget hero and creating a self-sufficient funding program.
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From zero-based budgeting to hero-based budgeting

From zero-based budgeting to hero-based budgeting

There’s always more to be done – innovation, creativity, new ideas… these things all require constant investment. The pressure on marketing budgets, highlighted by the global focus on zero-based budgeting (ZBB) by the likes of Unilever, Diageo and P&G, is one way to address the need for more strategic budgeting.

However, ZBB  is currently only used by a handful of (albeit large) companies.  Plus, it still doesn’t help marketers who aren’t self-sufficient when it comes to creating their budgets.  Budgets, ultimately, tend to be dictated by the CFO – based on expected performance (ZBB) or what they spent last year. But, what if a marketer could self-fund their own budgets?  There have been vain attempts to prove Marketing ROI and to turn marketing into a profit centre… But then there are strong alternative views to say that marketing is a cost centre – and should only be viewed as such.

Marketers can rise above the academic debate and now earn part, or even all, of their marketing budget; by unlocking the media assets the business already owns.  This is not a new strategy, in fact, it’s a proven approach in industries such as Retail, Telco, Airline and FMCG.  But, the reality is, now, any business can get involved and create new revenue streams from their owned media. 

So what’s the secret code to unlocking your owned assets?  The below steps aren’t definitive, but they’re a good start:

  1.     Understand the attractiveness of your audience
  2.     Value your media assets
  3.     Determine which assets you’re prepared to share
  4.     Decide which brands to invite into your ecosystem
  5.     Ensure that the customer experience is enhanced
  6.     Develop compelling engagement solutions for these brands
  7.     Take it to market
  8.     Deliver results for the brands


Get these steps right and you’re on your way to creating a powerful owned media solution that will start to contribute positively to the company’s bottom-line, customer experience and fund innovative, creative, new marketing activities.  Just like Cooper from the movie Interstellar, it won’t necessarily be easy, but the rewards are worth it… a sure-fire way to be a budgeting hero!