Five Ways to Get Board Backing for Your Marketing Campaign

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Launching a new marketing campaign can be a tough sell even before you take your ideas to an external audience. Many marketers will tell you that one of the biggest challenges they face in their role is securing buy-in—and, crucially, budget—from their own board-level stakeholders.

Part of the challenge is that marketing is nearly always a speculative endeavor, making return on investment hard to predict. That’s why it’s sometimes viewed with considerable cynicism by those from financially minded disciplines.

Particularly in the case of marketing departments at business-to-business (B2B) firms, Sales often has a much heavier influence on decision-making than Marketing, our research has found.

So how can marketers exert more influence and ensure their ideas are given due attention? The solution lies in the key skills that any good marketer will have at their disposal.

At its most basic, marketing is about understanding how to play to people’s needs and satisfy them. By applying that mentality to an internal audience, marketing teams should have more success in persuading financially minded colleagues to buy into their campaigns.

Here are five tactics that marketers can use to unlock budgets and put their plans into practice.

1. Involve them early

Marketers tend to invest a lot of time coming up with ideas before presenting to decision-makers. By that point, they can be completely absorbed in a project that may have already been through several signoff stages, making it all the more frustrating if these ideas are then by financial restrictions.

If Management were involved from the earliest possible stage, they would likely be more engaged with the presented ideas and more understanding of the merits of the campaign. More important, they’d also be able to spot any financial snags from the beginning and suggest a change of course in the initial stages.

Though getting everyone in the same room at the same time may not be easy, make sure that your time and energy are not wasted: Keep decision-makers informed from the beginning.

2. Plan meticulously

A great deal of marketing is based on inspiration, hunches, and acts of faith. Although experimentation is second nature to a marketer, it’s not natural practice for those from financial disciplines, who are likely to want to see reasoned arguments with sound planning rather than your gut instinct. Don’t assume that everyone in your organization knows the lay of the land. Set the scene and explain how a new marketing campaign will deliver results in a wider business context and why it’s important. A well-thought-out plan will help to justify necessary investment.

3. Provide get-out clauses and alternatives

Accountants love safety nets, so it’s good practice for all marketing development programs to have a cut-off point, or a get-out clause. Determine that progress will be reviewed at set points throughout the campaign and that you are open to changing tack if things aren’t going the way they should.

By dividing the budget into separate pots on either side of these review points, you can ensure the project isn’t seen as “all or nothing,” as well as making them feel as though they are in the driving seat. To add to that sense of control, marketers should offer their financial colleagues choices—in the form of either a back-up plan or some built-in flexibility to the proposal.

Options will ensure that the nerves of the most anxious finance officer are calmed, making them feel as if they will make the ultimate decision on what the budget is being spent on.

4. Predict the ROI

Whether marketing professionals like it or not, every project will be looked at with a financial appraisal in mind. Your board might be looking for a quick return, whereas you may be looking at a two- or three-year horizon for the benefits to start to appear.

Demonstrating some sort of early payback, along with your longer-term forecast, will undoubtedly help your bid. How easy it is to exhibit return on investment is dependent on the campaign, but analytics, sales figures, and social media statistics can help to back up how successful a campaign is.

Give them the information they need to make a well-thought-out decision.

5. Tell a story

You shouldn’t skimp on presentation just because you’re talking to your co-workers. Knowing how to tell a good story, and presenting it in an engaging way, is what marketers do. It’s an important part of pitching… so don’t forget that just because you are presenting in-house. Use your skills to engage, argue your case, and sell your ideas to your colleagues.

MarketingProfs All In One

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There's No Excuse for Not Backing Up Your Computer. Do It Now.

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There's No Excuse for Not Backing Up Your Computer. Do It Now.S

At least once a month, some friend or family member asks me how to recover data from a failed hard drive. I help them as best I can, but in my head, my answer is always the same: “go back in time and back up your computer like you know you should’ve.”

When your computer’s hard drive fails, it can be gut-wrenching. At best, mayb e you lost a really important presentation you were working on. At worst, maybe you’ve lost every photo of your kid’s childhood. Sometimes, you can recover that data yourself—but often, it’s gone forever (unless you want to pay a lot of money to get it back). Every hard drive fails one day. Backup service Backblaze says 50% fail after only four years. Save yourself the trouble and start backing up your computer now.

One Day, Your Hard Drive Will Fail

There's No Excuse for Not Backing Up Your Computer. Do It Now.S

It’s my firm belief that everyone will experience this at least once in their life. Maybe you accidentally erase your data beyond saving, maybe you lose your computer, or maybe your hard drive just dies one day. It’s inevitable: one day you will lose all of your data. Many of you have probably already experienced this once. And those of you that haven’t…well, you just haven’t yet.

It’s a scary thought, but it doesn’t have to be. I’ve experienced at least three catastrophic data losses in the past few years, but none of them were particularly stressful, because I was able to restore from a backup and keep on going.

Backing Up Isn’t Just for Tech Geeks Anymore

There's No Excuse for Not Backing Up Your Computer. Do It Now.

What shocks me the most about these hard drive failures is that every single person I talk to—everyone—knows they should be backing up their data. They just don’t. They know what backup means, and they even know what an external hard drive is. They just seem to think they can “do it tomorrow” and keep pushing it back forever and ever until one day, their hard drive inevitably craps out. (If you’ve never heard of backups before, then I apologize for the slightly bitter and condescending tone of this rant. However, you should still heed these warnings.)

Everyone has something to lose. Maybe it’s family photos, maybe it’s important work materials, maybe it’s your finely crafted resume you worked so hard on. Backing up isn’t just for computer geeks with lots of data—it’s something each and every one of us needs.

Backing Up Is Easy: Just Set It and Forget It

There's No Excuse for Not Backing Up Your Computer. Do It Now.

So now you know you should back up—all that’s left is to actually do it. Luckily, we’ve got guides just for you.

You generally have two choices when it comes to backup. You can:

Check out the guides linked above for instructions on how to set up each method. Heck, it’s even a good idea to have multiple backups if you really want to keep that data safe. But at least have one.

Do It Today

There's No Excuse for Not Backing Up Your Computer. Do It Now.S

Convinced yet? If so, stop whatever you’re doing right now and put it on your to-do list. Got a free hour tonight? Do it tonight. Got a bit of free time this weekend? Skip the movies and set up your backup. The movies will still be there next weekend. This is not something you can afford to keep pushing back.

Most importantly, pass it on. If you already have a backup—or if you’re officially planning to do it soon—let your friends know what you learned about how important it is and how easy it is. If you don’t, you’ll have to hear about it the next time they lose something important.

Images by Pixel Embargo (Shutterstock), Storozhenko (Shutterstock), Picsfive (Shutterstock), wonderferret and Keith Williamson.

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