I read a study a few months ago about how hard it is to sell the CEO of a company on the business value of marketing. As someone who has been in the marketing industry for over 15 years now, my initial reaction was “absolutely – I can understand that!”. Those of us in the industry are always passionate about branding, awareness, market position, etc. But at the end of the day – it’s always hard to put a hard value on those things. When the CEO or CFO of a company is reviewing the budget for the upcoming year – they can easily look at production departments and compare what they spend to how much is produced. This is ROI – and these three little letters will get the attention of a company leader faster than just about anything! Marketing ROI is the missing piece of the puzzle to get your leaders excited about marketing and willing to divert more budget to the marketing department.
Inbound Marketing Makes Heroes Out Of Marketing Professionals
It is hard, as a marketer, to know truly how important your job is while also knowing that to the top decision makers – you are basically a necessary evil. Your department produces nothing, can prove nothing, and costs quite a bit of money! In the business community – most leaders know that they need marketing, and they are scared to do away with it. However, they are not convinced that it really makes all that much of a difference.
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Why Can’t My CEO Get Excited About Marketing?
This is the universal problem we all face as marketing professionals. You just spent $2500 on a display ad in the local business journal, or $7500 on a local television campaign. When your boss or manager asks if the ad was successful, what do you say? Most likely your response has something to do with circulation, viewership, or something along those lines. To the person managing the budget, this isn’t good enough. They don’t care how many people SAW the ad, they care about how that ad directly affected sales. Unfortunately, with the vast majority of traditional marketing outlets, this is just the way it is. We deal with potentials and probabilities. If a mailer is delivered to 10,000 households and is opened by roughly 10% of the audience (1,000) and then 2% of those that opened it pick up the phone and call (20) and the sales staff can close 5% of those that call (1) then you “might” gain 1 customer out of your 10,000 piece mailing that probably cost you $1500 to produce, print and mail.
Show Marketing ROI and Be a Hero!
What if for your next budget meeting, you walked in and delivered a report to your CEO that stated exactly how much you spent on marketing, exactly how many phone calls it produced, exactly how much it cost, and exactly how many sales directly resulted from it. Not only would you have the CEO’s attention, but you would be a hero! Not only would the CEO be happy with the work you and your marketing staff did that year, but assuming the ROI was positive – they would likely want to increase the marketing budget for the following years!
The Moral Of The Story
We all know that inbound marketing increases traffic, generates leads and results in more sales. That is fantastic for the bottom line. However, I am talking to other marketing professionals here. You know what you face, day in and day out, fighting for your existence and knowing that other department heads all think your department costs too much and produces too little. Well, let’s forget business growth for a minute and consider the other fantastic effect inbound marketing has. It turns mild-mannered marketing professionals into super heros! So take off those Clark Kent glasses and don the colored tights. You might just end up being the CEOs favorite department after all!
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