Convincing the Board that Marketing is a Strategic Asset
We know that marketing is basically the most important department in any company — of course, we’re marketers, so we’re not the most impartial group to be weighing in. In fact, marketing is often seen as a luxury by executives trying to shave a few extra dollars off their operating budgets, and that’s a mistake. If you’re trying to convince your higher-ups that marketing isn’t optional, here are a few places to start.
Marketing Isn’t a Quick Fix
To use one of our favorite metaphors, marketing is food, not medicine. Medicine is something you take when there’s a problem. When the problem goes away, you can stop taking the medicine and you’ll be fine.
Food is something you need every day from now until the end of time. You care how much you’re getting and whether it’s high-quality. Your marketing is the same way. You can’t just market for a little while until you see your sales numbers start going up, then stop, because those numbers will go right back down.
Look to the real juggernauts of the marketing world for proof. Coca-Cola is probably the most recognizable brand in the world and has been for decades. You wouldn’t think there was a soul on Earth who needed to be reminded to buy Coca-Cola products, and yet they spend $4 billion a year on advertising. Don’t you think the company would rather save that money and spend it on something else? Of course — but they can’t, because their market share would wither away. The Coca-Cola company is a big animal, and it needs a lot of food.
Marketing is the Only Path to New Business
Part of the reason people don’t think of marketing as essential is that they don’t really know how big the umbrella of marketing is. They see one particular campaign or product as a waste of money, then generalize that the rest of the department isn’t working well.
“Remember, marketing is the only way that anyone learns about your products or service. If they’re doing research online and stumble across your website, that’s SEO marketing. If they hear from a friend who had a great experience with you, that’s word-of-mouth marketing, which you can cultivate from within.”
Even companies like Tesla, famous for not spending money on marketing, are using extremely calculated strategies to stay in the spotlight in the news and on social media. That’s marketing, too.
Include Execs in the Process
If you really want to get the C-suite on board, they need to see what you’re doing from stage one. That doesn’t mean that the CEO is standing over your shoulder while you write blog posts, it just means that you keep them in the loop when it comes to establishing your goals, KPIs, and strategies.
If you can show the top-floor types not only what the company needs to do to succeed, but how to do it, how successful your efforts are, and where their money is going, you’ll present a far more compelling case for keeping your budget flowing.
It never hurts to put the case in terms of dollars and cents. After all, virtually all marketing goals can be traced back to sales, whether it’s direct lead generation or an increase in awareness that results in increased market share. Any time you can show that you’re bringing in more money than you’re spending, you’re making your case well.
Get Their Opinions
Just because they’re not marketers doesn’t mean the executives can’t weigh in. Set up a standing meeting, once a month or once per quarter, to get their thoughts on major aspects of your marketing strategy:
- Buyer personas: are you selling to the people you want to be selling to? Are there other personas worth targeting? Are there negative personas that aren’t worth your time?
- Brand initiatives: what’s the driving force behind why you do what you do? What do you want your company to be known for? Is that set of values and goals changing over time?
- Sales and marketing alignment: are there conflicts between the sales and marketing teams that can be ironed out? Are there other processes inside the company that can be more streamlined?
The more you take their input seriously, the more likely they are to see you as a valuable asset to the company.
Talk to the Experts
At Madison Taylor Marketing, we know how important marketing is because it’s all we do. But we also know that marketing is more complicated than simply putting a few dozen posts on Facebook every month. If you’re ready to take a comprehensive look at your marketing and start taking strategy seriously, get in touch today.