You understand that marketing is critical to driving awareness of your brand and increasing sales. You’re also keenly aware that its importance isn't as clear to your CEO, CFO, CIO, CTO and the other members of your C-suite.
If you're like most marketers at financial and professional services firms, you probably find it challenging to get the budget dollars and attention you need to run your marketing programs effectively.
Here are six things you can do to change that dynamic and get full executive-level support for marketing your company’s products and services.
1. Think like an executive. Marketers tend to be creative thinkers. Executives may not be. They're generally data-driven people. The best way to make the case for new marketing initiatives to C-suite leaders is by using data. Present the marketing problem or issue you're addressing and use facts and figures to clearly explain how the program or campaign you're proposing will solve it.
Develop a cost / benefit analysis that makes it clear how an investment in marketing will pay off. Show how the program will drive significantly more dollars to your company’s bottom line than it will cost. In most cases, this will result from increased sales or service engagements.
While it can be challenging to project the impact marketing will have on sales results (the connection is often indirect, through things like increased brand awareness or transactions completed by intermediaries), the effort is worth it. If you can use numbers to make the case for a new marketing initiative, the program is more likely to be approved by the executives who have responsibility for a company’s bottom line.
2. Know your place. From your perspective, marketing is THE number one priority. And that's the way it should be. However, corporate spending is limited, and dollars must be distributed across countless company priorities, including tech development, training, infrastructure, customer service, innovation and more. If your project doesn’t make the cut, be respectful of the decision. Demonstrating that you understand and support executive choices about your firm's priorities shows that you're a team player. This will make it more likely that your projects will make the cut next time.
3. Keep it simple. Marketers are details people, responsible for thinking through every aspect of their programs and campaigns.
People in the C-suite generally don't always need to know details. They're hit with a barrage of information day in and day out. Share too much in a presentation, and they will likely tune out. The best way to connect with senior executives is to keep messages clear and simple and include only the facts needed to build understanding and to support the decision-making process.
Take time prior to meeting with executives to think through the case you're making. Turn it into a simple and compelling narrative. Edit out unnecessary information. Being able to tell a clear story will go a long way toward getting your proposals approved.
4. Keep background information handy. While it's important to stick to key facts when presenting to C-suite executives, you should also have detailed information readily available so you're prepared to answer any questions they might ask you.
One reason people in the C-suite are successful is because they're curious. Being prepared to respond to questions in a meeting with them will go a long way toward proving you know your stuff. It can also help avoid delays in getting your projects approved. Nothing slows momentum like having to get back to leaders with additional information after a meeting.
5. Never go radio silent. Once a marketing project is approved, provide regular updates to your executive committee members. It will keep your initiative top-of-mind and demonstrate progress toward meeting goals. When it comes time to cut budgets (which happens often today), executives are more likely to eliminate programs they're unaware of or haven't heard about in a long time.
6. Report success. Create a clear and comprehensive results report when your campaign is over. Document successes along with opportunities for improvement in future marketing initiatives. Share the information with your executive committee. It will provide a solid foundation for the next time you request sponsorship and budget dollars for a marketing project.
Need help developing marketing plans and proposals that will get approved? Carpenter Group has helped countless financial and professional services firms develop successful ones for more than thirty years. Contact us to find out how we can help.