Proving the value of marketing to stakeholders can be a challenge - especially if the understanding of campaigns is limited - but it is crucial for long-term success.
As with any area in business, it's vital that marketers are able to prove the value of their jobs to decision makers. This ensures that you secure budget for the year ahead and get the support of stakeholders in the future. One of the most difficult elements of achieving this is helping non-marketers understand the context of marketing campaigns without coming across as patronizing.
But how do you make sure the value of your marketing efforts are clear without offending your bosses?
Create trusting relationships
Ideally you want to create relationships with stakeholders that are based on trust and transparency. This can only be done over time, especially if an organization's decision makers are difficult to warm to, but will be worth it in the long run. By being open and honest with stakeholders, it's much more likely that they'll trust your ability to give insight on marketing campaigns. This means that even if there are poor results or you're asked a question about an area where you've underperformed, you need to be honest and transparent.
Focus on communication
Talking to the most influential people in a business can be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone, especially if they're trying to prove the value of something that others aren't convinced about. This will be a lot easier if you focus on clear communication. Before the meeting, ensure that you have a list of the key takeaways that you want each stakeholder to have at the end and build around it. Keep it straightforward and to the point but be prepared to get more in-depth if people ask questions. This allows them to guide the direction of the meeting, while ensuring you are able to give them the answers they need.
Vocalize your strategy
The key decision makers may not know the marketing strategy but going into great detail about it can come across as patronizing or self-involved. Instead, summarize it into a sentence or two and use this to kick-off your pitch. This immediately applies context to any of the data you present and should show them how marketing provides value to the wider business strategy. The summary should also communicate why what you're doing matters and why they should get behind it.
MarTech has made it much easier to prove the value of certain elements of a campaign, but be selective about which metrics you choose to present. It's important that you're able to apply context without being patronizing so that stakeholders understand what you're trying prove without having to look stupid. If possible, select metrics that relate back to business objectives or priorities. This, when communicated clearly, will ensure that each stakeholder understands the role marketing has in the wider organization.
Align it with other efforts
Marketing usually complements or works closely with at least one other area of business. To prove the true value of your efforts, and create a trusting relationship, you should be clear about what results can only be partly attributed to your marketing strategy. For example, if sales have increased their conversion rates then they're partly to thank for a period of strong performance even if consumers came from a marketing channel. This will earn you respect from stakeholders, show you can work collaboratively, and also prove that marketing is an intrinsic part of business, not a bonus.
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