It is the beginning of the fiscal year, and the marketing budget is fully funded. Giddy with delight, you begin diligently signing contracts and distributing spend for marketing investments throughout the year.

And even though the company mantra is growth, growth, growth, you get the funny feeling that something—perhaps the cost-cutting chainsaw—is in the offing. Your worst fears are confirmed when, four months later, the CFO knocks on the office door and mentions the marketing budget has just been cut by 70%. Now what do you do?

Sounds like you are a candidate for "stressed out" marketing.

Stress is part of life. The human body is designed to handle a fair amount of stress for short periods of time. Situations arise in life where we lose a loved one, go through a divorce, or experience a harrowing event like a car accident.

It is fair to say marketing budget cuts of 70% qualify as a stressful and harrowing event. Unfortunately, it happens all too often. Sometimes the budget cuts are 25%, sometimes 50% and higher. Any marketer knows budget cuts happen, often two to three times a year.

However, just as the human body can capably handle stress for a brief span of time, there is the possibility to recover from this loss of budget and still meet key goals. Employing "stressed out" marketing techniques is one solution.

Dealing With Stress

To fully understand "stressed out" marketing, it is important to first study how the human body deals with stress.

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Paul A. Barsch directs the professional services marketing programs for one of the top 10 software companies in the United States and blogs about the intersection and impact of technology and marketing ( He can be contacted at paulbarsch(at)yahoo(dotcom).