Brand marketing is never easy. It’s a field that is part science, part art form, and part luck. It can also be one of the most capital-intensive parts of a business. That’s a big reason that you tend to see so many articles and strategies that revolve around marketing ROI – because marketing failures can be so expensive.
Much of the discussion, though, is about the campaign side of the equation, and how brands can plan and execute successful strategies. That leaves the other side of the equation – financing – as the 800-pound gorilla in the room during every marketing meeting. Since the reluctance to deal with financing marketing campaigns usually comes from outside of the marketing infrastructure, here’s what CMOs should do to successfully lobby financial controllers to support their plans.
Leave No Stone Unturned
When preparing a marketing plan, the costs involved usually aren’t considered with any specificity. Unfortunately, that lack of detail is a great way to encourage resistance to the plan. It’s important to remember that financial decision makers within a business are going to be more concerned with a cost/benefit analysis then they will be with the color scheme of marketing materials and the reach of the media outlets you’re planning to use. To make your case, create a line-item expense report that lays out what costs are involved, and what they’re for. If possible, break the costs up into phases, so you can demonstrate how much of the budget represents upfront costs and how much can be spread out over the duration of the marketing plan.
Unless you’re working with a very large company (in which case financing should be less of an obstacle), it’s a good idea to consider doing as much of the legwork as possible before submitting a funding request. To that end, it’s vital to work out the expected MROI for the project in advance, so you can demonstrate the value of the project. It’s also a good idea to provide detail about the value of the specific customers the marketing plan is targeting since that can bolster the case for your marketing spend request.
Provide Supporting Research
The last, and most important part of securing the support of a business’s financial officers for a marketing plan, is to provide as many supporting research materials as possible. As creatives, marketing professionals don’t always consider the fact that financial decisions are data-driven affairs, often drawing from information that may seem tangential at best. When preparing to make your case, make sure that you find appropriate case studies and real-world examples that demonstrate the clear business purpose of your specific plan. A clear-headed analysis will always work better than an impassioned pitch, so keep the whole presentation direct, and to the point.
Execute As Planned
In the end, your best efforts to sell a marketing plan to financial controllers can be undone by a poor performance. If you’ve gone through the trouble of creating a presentation in support of your plan, but then fail to meet the goals you’ve set, you’re not likely to win anyone’s support again. That’s why it’s critical to execute every strategy efficiently and effectively, as they will be your best advertisement for your future plans. In fact, wherever possible, it’s best to follow the age-old tactic of under-promising and over-delivering, so you’ll make sure to impress decision makers company-wide. In short, don’t aim too high or you might suffer a fall that’s difficult to recover from.