How do I stop my CEO treating my marketing budget like a slush fund?

Dear Aunty B,

I am head of our marketing department which, when I arrived, I thought was very well resourced with a nice budget.

The problem is my CEO. He treats it like a slush fund. Whenever we need money for something, often some new pet project he has just thought of, he rubs his hands like Fagan and says we’ll take it from marketing.

And so we never have any money even though I am always told that marketing is really well resourced and I should be hitting all my targets. When I point out that old Fagan has been at it again, everyone just rolls their eyes because they think I (marketing) get more money than them anyway!

How do I stop Fagan pinching my money?

Frustrated marketer


Dear Frustrated marketer,

What? You don’t think Aunty hasn’t had her hands fist deep in the marketing jar?

You don’t think every CEO in the land doesn’t park that little extra in marketing so that when the inevitable proverbial hits the fan, you can still hit your forecasts at the end of the year? Or dip in when that brilliant idea that comes to you on the treadmill needs a little cash splashed? And, yes, we have heard of the word abnormals, but half the time the things that happen are perfectly normal except we just hadn’t thought about it.

So, guilty!!! And that is what you would hear if every CEO in the country had to confess to putting their fingers in the marketing till at some stage in their lives.

But I shall cast aside my CEO hat and tell you what I would do to stop Fagan robbing you to help himself.

Actually it is quite simple. As our claw-like hands reach towards the hill, you slap them. Hard.

That money is spent, you say.






Yes. And unable to be unallocated. See?

Then you throw down your plan with costs allocated against the plan and then another page with the results you expect: You take this money then these are the results I can’t get.

Fight hard. Stand your ground as you fight them off. And remember to always have your ear to the ground. A raid may be organised while you are busy with your marketing and you might never even see them coming!

Be smart,

Your Aunty B

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