"This is why a hyper growth company should never have a fixed marketing budget."
TLDR: To achieve hyper growth, one needs to have a fully opportunistic approach to performance marketing spend, i.e. no fixed budgets, which in turn can only be achieved by adopting a certain mindset – the cowboy mindset.
The nature of Performance marketing is that you can spend an unlimited budget provided the spend yields a decent return. This is easy, in theory.
As an ambitious growth company your strategy needs to be highly opportunistic, manifesting at its clearest within your performance marketing approach; constantly spending to keep the engines running, right on the brink of what you can afford, fuelling your business with revenues which in turn enables you to bring in further revenue and so forth.
The difficulty with this approach lies within attribution. Attribution is neither immediate nor perfect (especially post various privacy updates, e.g. iOS 14.5). If it were, you would have no issue calibrating your spend to the exact point you deem you can afford. As it is not, you instead need to adjust it based on continuous assumptions. What does my performance look like right now and where am I heading towards, is it time to increase spend or to hold back? The more you’ve worked on your attribution model the better, but it is also important that you know the game inside out, that you have ample experience and intel about the performance marketing industry. And perhaps most important of all – that your mindset allows you to have a cowboy approach.
You will be constantly dealing with unknowns. You will never have all the facts. But unless you dare to make bold moves, despite the uncertain nature of the game, you will never reach the maximum capacity for growth. No risk, no reward. Time to put your cowboy hat on.
This is why a hyper growth company should never have a fixed marketing budget. Deciding beforehand, even on a few days basis, what the exact spend should be, contradicts the nature of utilizing performance marketing to its fullest potential. And it would be even worse to lock down a certain spend months in advance; which by extension can lead to the vital assumption error that this is money that exists, that you may allocate elsewhere, that if performance is not there you can simply take your budget and invest it in a top funnel campaign, a tool, or more resources; do that and you can say bye bye to your bottom line.
The approach is short term, and it needs to be. Again, we’re dealing with money that actually isn’t yours, that only exists when it brings you enough in return. Stressful? Absolutely. Requiring constant calibration and adaptation? Most definitely. At risk of causing confusion across the organization as to what the exact goals are and how much we’re allowed to spend to get there? Oh yes indeed. And here we come back to mindset.
To thrive in a hyper growth company with a highly opportunistic performance marketing approach, one needs to adopt the cowboy mindset, to live it and to anchor it, ensuring that the whole business is along for the ride. This will shield the organization from becoming overly administrative, keeping unnecessary friction at bay and accepting the ups and downs whilst holding a steady gaze on the horizon.
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