Advertisng, marketing, communications or whatever else you want to call it exists for the sake of creating disproportionate gains for a brand.
Budgeting, and all those excel spread sheets kepts way down in hard drive account men and at the finger tips of a finance director are becoming a problem.
Not because they exist, of course not, they must but they are starting to control us, nefariously and quietly. On cell at a time.
I am not talking about the drive for profitability or revenue growth. No, what is concerning is how excel documents are driving strategic decisions about how we communicate.
If you marketing budget is broken out specifically against media channels - TV, print, digtial, events, promotions, you have already strategically decided your creative solutions for the year. Biases have immediately set and the creative challenge is not to solve a business challenge but to fill buckets.
If you are a bit better and have an integrated budget and can shift between mediums based on the creative strategy and ideas that emerge - you may be better. But it can easily become pigs at the trogh, the first and most aggressive get the most food. Timelines are still often driven by film and they sure have a way of canabalizing everyone else's budgets. Nobody can spend like a production company, except maybe a small special breed of Sheiks. Hence, the center of gravity of a campagn/brand will be driven who gets the budget support.
Unfortunately, this all is where the massive swath of things called digital get crowded out. Not because it is not important but because more discipline is needed to define its role. Exactly what business problem you intend to solve for that specific brand with something that comes from the land of 11's and 00's.
Digital is nimble, flexible, scalable and all the other good things. But, brands, like the folks on Wall Street invest in certainty or at least clear risk reward. The nimbleness, flexibility and scalabilty of digital makes it a bit too ambiguous. A lot too ambiguous now that we are past the "if you don't go digital you will die" era of dogma that let the first decade of digitalness to happen.
It is too easy to sit in a room and move numbers up and down on a spreadsheet that then dictate what a brands strategy will be.
The brands that are doing great things are very good at knowing how to spend their money. A clear why and not because of a corporate model with decades of legacy or a formula announced in a press release by executives.
Deep down at the bottom of many great brands, the ones we all admire, are probably some smart folks with their hands on Excel charts with discipline and good information empowering strategic decisions with budgets, not driving them.