How to Secure Budget Approval from the Board for your Next Marketing Project
by Marije Schreur, on Oct 26, 2020 6:06:14 PM
As a marketing leader, you naturally strive to make results-focused decisions in your marketing project; decisions that may not generate instantaneous benefits but which work to drive your team forward towards its ultimate goal: bringing in a greater number of high quality leads.
With a strong inbound marketing strategy, you’ll have proven results to put to the board further down the line. But what do you have right now? That’s the problem. Without evidence of success, getting budgets approved for your next marketing project can be tricky. In fact, HubSpot reports that securing enough budget is one of the biggest challenges facing today’s marketing leaders. And a common mistake that’s made here is that marketers try to rush campaigns through to try and form this evidence.
Rush campaigns don’t work. Racing through marketing tasks can significantly reduce quality of work, and leave your team feeling negative, demotivated, and dispassionate about what they do. All of which can make it even more difficult to secure your budget! So what tactics DO work? What are the best ways to present to the board?
- Quick Win Campaigns
While rush campaigns don’t work, quick win campaigns do. These types of campaigns aren’t designed to draw in thousands of leads, but are intended to kick start new inbound strategies and deliver rapid bursts of small successes that give you something tangible to present to the board. These campaigns can be a highly effective way to demonstrate anticipated return on investment for your next marketing project, which is one of the main aspects the board will want to consider. HubSpot reports that marketing teams that calculate ROI typically experience higher budget approvals.
- Prove the Importance of Your Team
Although the board will undoubtedly understand the importance of the marketing function, leaders can increase the chance of having their budgets approved by providing further evidence of their team’s value, particularly in terms of the ‘bigger picture’. Rather than focusing on the features of the campaigns, marketing leaders should be looking to promote the company-wide value behind the projects, highlighting how building a successful marketing team impacts the core business. Right now, only a little over 50% of marketers are ‘very confident’ they’re investing in revenue-generating activities.
- Internal Team Buy-In
Nobody said you have to do this alone. In fact, insights firm McKinsey believes that buy-in from internal ‘unifiers’ - collaborative c-level forces from other departments such as sales - can be instrumental in appealing to the board. Why? Because, as McKinsey notes, these unifiers don’t speak ‘marketing’; they speak a globalised language focused on broad metrics such as customer lifetime value and ROI, making it easier to build support for the marketing agenda from non-marketing executives. Having the backing of associated teams and departments helps with the ‘big picture’ concept.
- External Team Insight
Having internal teams supporting your strategies is important. However, it can also be beneficial to have the backing of external industry professionals, too. By choosing the right agency and partnering with the right inbound marketing experts and demonstrating a strong commitment to designing and developing strategies supported by experienced inbound leaders, it can be easier for the board to understand your vision for success and your reasoning behind your plans. Finding the right partner for you is key, as it’s essential that any external support works to drive your team forward in the direction that you’re planning to take.
- Data-Driven Presentations
Although you may not have solid evidence of success just yet, what you do have is an almost unlimited amount of accurate and authentic data about your customer journey. The inbound methodology is rooted in understanding the customer, with a critical need to collate data from all potential touchpoints to generate highly valuable insight into needs, expectations, and preferences. Using data when reporting on results can be useful for garnering support. It can also be used to back the decisions you’ve made about your project and give the board confidence in your strategy, allowing them to see why you’ve chosen that approach.
- Acknowledgement of Risk
While data can go a long way towards mitigating risk, one of the most pressing questions that the board is likely to have is how much risk is involved in the new project. As a marketing leader, it’s essential to be realistic about your strategies, but it’s also important to demonstrate that actions have been taken to reduce the likelihood of things going wrong. For example, by conducting a historical analysis and current systems checkup, you can show the board that you’ve taken measures to bridge any gaps and improve vulnerabilities at team level to optimise your strategy for success.
Planning for your Next Board Meeting
The way that you present to the board is vital, and now is the time to really begin honing your communication, empathy, inspirational, and persuasion skills. However, how you present to the board isn’t as critical as what you present. Securing the necessary budget to take your marketing ideas from concept to reality isn’t always easy, but you can increase your chances by following advice from the Shock team.