How to get the marketing buy-in you need from managementOct 09, 2019
Samantha Reid | Gallery Design Studio Editor + Copywriter
Most marketing managers know that investing in marketing is key to success--now more than ever. However, educating executive management on the ROI of marketing can be difficult.
There are typically three questions management can have when being asked to invest time and money in marketing.
- What does marketing do?
- What resources are needed?
- How much time is needed?
Below we break down how to answer these questions so you are prepared to communicate with people who may not understand the reasoning or logistics of marketing.
To better explain how marketing managers can affect large-scale change within their company, let’s use an example: Dove, the well-known personal care brand. In 2006, Stacie Bright, a marketing manager at Dove learned her school-age daughter had low self-esteem after seeing advertising in which the company used models considered stereotypically “beautiful”.
1. Clarify Your Intent
As far as question #1 about the function of marketing--it was immediately clear to marketing director Bright that Dove’s marketing was negatively affecting the intended audience’s self-perception. However, before she brought this issue to the attention of management, Bright made a mock-up ad using pictures of daughters of company employees with text that listed the physical features girls wished they could change: eye color, hair color, size, shape, weight, etc.
2. Know Your Audience
Before going to management with a prepared visual, Bright tailored the visual to have maximum impact on her particular audience of executives. The use of her own daughter’s photo alongside pictures of other employee’s daughters underscored Bright’s concerns about the personal impact of their marketing.
In addition to creating a visual that spoke directly to her singular audience and clearly illuminated her concerns about the function of their marketing, Bright asked management for additional resources and time in order to rewrite Dove’s marketing strategy. She knew that the radical change she was looking for would not happen overnight, and that it would be an ongoing process.
3. Align With Company Vision
Although the changes Bright proposed were indeed drastic, they still aligned with the overall intent of the Dove brand. Dove had long prided itself on being a product for the everyday consumer. So, when Bright came to management with her new marketing plan, she was able to communicate how, despite the large changes, her plan still, and perhaps better than before, matched the company’s mission.
To this day, Dove’s marketing campaigns reflect their attempt to be inclusive and diverse with their models.
So, once you’ve clarified the intent of your proposed marketing scheme, ensured that your presentation to management speaks directly to your management team, and aligned your presentation with the company’s overall vision, what else can you do to sell your idea to the folks who have to pay for it?
Getting other team members on board before your official presentation to management is another key to successfully communicating about marketing with your management team. There’s a variety of ways to involve other team members. It can be as simple as speaking about your idea with colleagues so that you are not the only advocate for the plan in your meeting or in your department. If you want to take it a step further, ask these colleagues if they can contribute to your presentation.
You can arm yourself with detailed numbers from accounting, specific deliverable examples from a creative partner, or invite your colleagues to speak about their area of expertise during your presentation. For example, instead of waiting a week after the marketing meeting for management to gather P&L statements that demonstrate the viability of your marketing plan, bring them to the initial meeting.
All of these steps help create a clearer communication to management about what marketing can accomplish, and how it can do it. Take the guesswork out of marketing for management, and anticipate their questions and concerns as much as you can.
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About the Writer
Samantha is a copywriter at Gallery Design Studio. Samantha is passionate about using precise and evocative messaging to connect with clients. She has written for journals, online publications and blogs.