MYPRODUCT2 Do Budgets Today, Think Strategically Tomorrow

1.Situation

My first job in the advertising industry was at Graffiti / BBDO, at that time a real university for novices who were keen to work in this industry. As a Junior I had the chance that my direct manager Jennifer Dougherty (Schaeffer), an American who became my professional mentor and to whom I still express a deeply respect, supervised me on all the communication projects that the team I was part of developed for Cosmorom, the “mobile” Romtelecom at that time. An extremely attractive and demanding client in terms of the complexity of the projects being carried out.  Similar to Orange or Vodafone in terms of investments and communication projects.

2.Task

In this context, beyond the other activities I was directly involved in, Jennifer has “mandated” me with the responsibility to request, track, check and present to Cosmorom all the costs of the projects developed by the agency. Although it was not the most attractive task because it involved work with figures, excel, spending reports, budgets, Jennifer told me that this task would help me professionally. I did not quite understand how, but obviously I went to work.

3.Action

So I became the financial node of the agency for Cosmorom client, managing hundreds of costs and budgets. Budget for the production of POSM (leaflets, posters, etc.)? No problem, Mugur has to provide the production department  with all the technical details for the finished products (dimensions, number of colours, number of pages, special colours, etc.), to receive the costs, to centralize them, to ensure that all the requirements are respected and to present them to the customer, including agency fees.
Budget for making radio, TV spots? I had to check the agreed concept, the TV story board or the radio script, ask for costs at the responsible departments or agencies, centralize, make sure they are ok and send them to the customer.
Budget for BTL activities? With hundreds of lines related to locations, people, materials, agency fees.
Media TV Plans? With tens or hundreds of national and local publications, TV stations, outdoor locations. Hundreds of excel sheets with numbers each with his significance.

4.Results

The cost making responsibility has forced me to learn all the details of the projects because in the Cosmorom team there were key persons responsible for checking all the budgets and costs. And they were asking me:
-why the studio cost of the radio spot is different from the radio spot produced one year ago?
-how come the cost per piece for the production of 100,000 flyers is higher than when we produced 70,000 pcs?
-why is the agency’s fee for the summer BTL project different from the winter BTL project?
And I was supposed to have answers to all these questions, answers that I constantly gave, with arguments, which placed me as a valuable member of the team even if I was a junior.

5.Key Learnings

All this work as an accountant I did for years on Cosmorom account and later on other accounts. Doing costs implies the following: you are required to know very well all the details regarding these costs, because every detail from the budget line has a corresponding aspect in real project.
I later understood and thanked Jeniffer for appointing me as cost responsible because this developed my budgeting skills. Today with a certain margin error I can appreciate the total budget of a marketing-communication project, a key element useful in thinking strategic macro plans business, annual marketing budgets and activities.
If you are at the beginning of your professional trajectory ask for making budgets and costs! Even if you do not realize the benefits now, they will later become very valuable and useful to you!

Notification: MYPRODUCT reflects my real professional experience and expertise as well as my subjectivity. I do have a profound respect for all the companies I collaborated to and for all the people I worked with. It is not my intention to approach any sensitive, confidential or offending information related to companies, projects or people. If you the reader deduct or recognise companies, projects or people in my examples, I kindly ask you to respect MYPRODUCT and my professional and ethic approach and to not share any detail, information, situation, name, company.