Within companies that have a bustling sales department and a sophisticated technology stack, marketing is often the ugly stepchild. In some organizations, marketing lies at the bottom of the corporate food chain because the firm’s executives believe a marketing department is more a luxury than it is a necessity, unlike accounting, human resources and legal.
Unfair as it may be, this is a common misperception held by non-marketing professionals.
But few businesses achieve hyper-growth without marketing, and your firm probably won’t be one of those storied exceptions. Therefore, if you are a company executive, department head or marketer, you will want to make a case for prioritizing marketing alongside engineering, product and sales initiatives. Here is a three-step process for how you can do it:
1. Identify marketing’s contribution to long-term goals.
Before you do anything, spend time documenting why marketing is important for your firm. Quantify marketing’s recent and historical impact on brand affinity and awareness, customer happiness and loyalty, and sales growth. If, for example, a select marketing campaign helped increase average order value among buyers, you can demonstrate how your team’s efforts directly generated additional revenue.
Dive deep into your analytics to uncover data that provides you with the right ammo to show marketing’s effectiveness in supporting company growth. “In fact, 58 percent of highly effective and efficient companies (as defined by the Lenskold Group) are using marketing ROI measures to justify marketing spend, versus 34 percent for their lower-performing peers,” wrote Dave Kart in a blog post for advertising and media news publication Adotas.
Once you have an intimate understanding of how marketing has made a difference within your firm, you will be prepared to share that information with managers, directors and executives.
2. Get key stakeholders involved.
To make marketing a company-wide priority, Silverpop evangelist Ellen Valentine encourages marketers to develop leadership buy-in and educate non-marketing colleagues on the benefits of a well-executed, integrated marketing strategy.
Using the information you gathered after analyzing the impact of marketing on the overall business, you can excite your team members about the results you have driven. Highlight marketing’s past successes and benchmark performance against how well your competitors do with the same tactics. The confidence you earn creates optimism about marketing’s potential as a major long-term customer acquisition and retention system.
An important thing to remember is to speak the same language as your colleagues and highlight facts they will care more about. Avoid talking broadly about website traffic, average session page views and bounce rate. Otherwise, non-marketers will get lost among the marketing jargon or ignore you entirely. Focus on details such as the number of new clients marketing brought inbound and the additional sales produced through various campaigns.
3. Invest more and optimize the results.
Management takes notice when a department spends a relatively large amount of budget – and still manages to produce positive ROI. Whenever marketers can make spending money a productive and profitable activity, businesses will happily supply more resources to repeat proven strategies over and over again.
As you replicate and scale successful marketing programs, prune marketing channels which consistently offer negative return-on-investment. Within due time, executives will view marketing as less a luxury and more a necessity.
In fact, marketing will be indispensable.