A recent global survey found that 76% of marketers feel the industry has changed more in the past two years than in the previous five. With this array of options to build a brand presence, marketers need resources to test new tools and channels and, if proven, implement them.
Given this, marketing executives must draw upon a ‘marketing 101’ skill – persuasion – to convince executive teams or Boards to release more budget to the marketing department.
Although the bottom line for the Board is a return for shareholders – and it certainly pays to demonstrate this in clear terms when you hit the Board for more budget – there are some simple strategies you can adopt to help you secure the budget you need.
Before you hit the Board with a big budget request, make sure they are familiar with the tool or strategy that the budget will be used for. Use Board meetings to educate and inspire the Board about the rapid evolution of marketing – so that, when the time comes to request additional budget, they aren’t asked to sign off on an unknown entity.
Speak the same language
The Board wants to know about the value of the investment in terms of ROI, share price, profitability or revenue growth. While metrics like cost per acquisition or click through rates are meaningful to your team, they won’t have the same selling power as bottom line results. Remember, don’t overpromise on results – always be realistic.
Ensure you have best-in-class analytics
With sophisticated goal tracking and attribution modelling in place, you will have richer and more accurate analysis on the end-to-end consumer journey and sales funnel. This will lead to strategic insights on ROI and which marketing channels deliver better results and deserve more investment.
Power of data
Leverage industry research and competitive intelligence to demonstrate the opportunity your proposed activity presents. Demonstrate whether it’s an attack marketing strategy – what can you achieve for your business by doing it, or a defence strategy – what negative impact could the brand experience if you don’t do this.
Sell value vs cost
Go in with a clear pitch on the value of the program before you start talking about the cost. You can demonstrate value through case studies, third party research reports or previous years’ results. Your agencies should readily be able to supply case studies or research to support your campaign.
Leverage agency support
Whether you seek budget for a new tool or strategy – for example, conversion rate optimisation (CRO) or content marketing – or simply seek to increase the scope of an existing channel, it pays to enlist the support of your agency to add credibility to your campaign.
Context is everything
Ensure the Board understands the place of digital, and its ROI, compared to other marketing channels. Your argument will be made easier if you go in prepared with good comparable data.
Create internal buzz
Seek out internal advocates from outside marketing. The more people within the organisation that are talking about a new tool or strategy – for example, Twitter or Paid Social – then the harder it is for the Board to bypass your proposal. Likewise, you can get buy-in from key people before a Board meeting.
If you seek budget to trial something completely new, start small. Request a trial campaign budget, or a six-month budget instead of an ongoing budget. Once you’ve got proof of the tools or campaign’s success, you’ll be on the front foot and should be able to secure more funding.
Provide regular updates
Once you’ve secured budget for a new marketing strategy, keep the Board informed of your work on an on-going basis. By sharing the results early and often, you’ll instil confidence and pave the way for more budget approvals in the future.
With these strategies in mind, you’ll place your marketing team in a strong position to secure the funding needed to stay ahead of the rapidly evolving digital curve.