If you’re reading this blog post, congrats – you’re probably already an innovator at your company. Whether you’re an internal marketer there or just someone with a desire to initiate positive change, your company needs more people like you. But enough gushing – let’s get at it.
I’ll venture to guess that you’re the constant learner type – actively reading blogs and publications that help you generate ideas to do your job better. You probably seek information online and exchange ideas with likeminded innovators. And because this is a part of who you are, you possess valuable knowledge. You see opportunity for your company to grow. And in this case, perhaps you envision some of that growth coming through more efficient, smarter marketing.
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But what if your boss is the roadblock? Maybe none of these characteristics described above accurately depict his or her mindset the way they do yours. Believe me, you’re not alone. I’ve seen it many, many times. When this is true, enacting change can be very difficult. So how do you build a case for a marketing overhaul that your boss will actually listen to?
A few quick notes
1. You possess a powerful tool
It’s first worth mentioning that you have something no outside marketing agency has: established credibility within your company. Your motivation will not be questioned as that of a third party consultant might. Your objectives are to make your company better. And your boss trusts you or he/she wouldn’t have hired you in the first place. Use this established trust to your advantage.
2. You need to come prepared
Your boss’ time is probably limited. So when you get in front of him/her, you want to have your ducks in a row. Preparation is key.
How to sell the marketing overhaul
Focus on the desired results – not the tactics
Think results from the get go. Don’t walk in and state that you need a new website, want to start a company blog or would like to try a new email marketing software. When you do this, the earmuffs go on. All your boss hears is “I want to spend more company money”. Start the conversation that way and you’ve already lost your battle.
Instead, state your objectives in his/her language – the language of desired results. If it’s a new website that you think your company needs, fantastic. But he/she doesn’t care about that right now, so save it for later. Focus instead on the what would happen to your business if that new website were actually built.
Begin your conversation by saying with confidence, “I see an opportunity for this company…” Focus on opportunities like establishing better awareness among a key target audience, generating more physical leads with real names and phone numbers attached to them, and converting more of your leads into paying customers. When you talk this way, those earmuffs stay in the closet.
Suggest without bashing
Once you’ve captured the attention of your decision maker, it’s time to start presenting your case. But be careful. You can walk a fine line between being seen as a source of valuable ideas and a know-it-all. Be sensitive to not insult or downplay whatever marketing infrastructure your boss may have already built up over the years. “I think attending trade shows and running print ads once a month is a waste of money” is probably not the right way to kick things off.
Pose thought-provoking questions instead. Do we know how effective our trade shows have been at producing leads over the past few years? Are we able to trace revenue and actual customer acquisition to our investment in print ads? Suggest there may be some more effective, innovative and measurable ways to attract the right prospects and turn them into leads and customers.
Start broad so you don’t overwhelm
Remember that you’re the expert here. You’re the one who has done the research and learned enough to present your case. If your boss is the type that needs convincing in the first place, you probably know more about the subject than he or she does. So don’t lose your boss in the technical details of online marketing. Instead introduce the bird’s eye concept of moving some of the marketing spend online.
Bring supporting data
It’s no secret that online marking drives results. So bring facts and statistics to the table that will strengthen and add credibility to your argument. Stats about the effectiveness of online marketing abound. Here are a few to get your started.
- Businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6x more leads than those with 51-100 pages
- 75% of users never scroll past the first page of search results.
- 79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.
Add more stats to your arsenal by exploring this page by marketing software company Hubsopt.
Demonstrate the opportunity at hand
Now it’s time to get a bit more specific. At this point you’ll want to introduce some tangible examples to tell a story about the opportunity being missed. USE VISUALS. While the concepts you’re about to demonstrate are familiar ones for you, they’re not for your boss. Visuals will paint a picture and frame your pitch in a way that’s relatable to the state of your own company.
Here’s an example of how you might tell that story.
Our client, The Korte Company, is a design-build construction firm that happens to be great at building medical facilities like hospitals and outpatient clinics. So they target potential clients looking to build or renovate hospitals by attracting them through search engines and social media channels with smart, keyword-driven content like these blog posts.
- Healthcare construction 101: Medical clinic design recommendations
- Building smarter healthcare through better healthcare interior design
When targeted visitors arrive on their site, this content helps them learn about hospital construction and identifies The Korte Company an expert and potential partner. Calls-to-action like those you see at the bottom of these blog posts drive visitors to lead capture pages where more in-depth case studies or white papers are exchanged for names and email addresses of these prospects. That data is dropped into a marketing database for lead nurturing via email campaigns. Simultaneously, their sales professionals are alerted that a new lead has entered the system.
Go ahead and use that example. Or better yet, find a competitor in your own industry that has taken a similar and equally innovative approach. Nothing will light a fire under you boss more than the idea that someone else in your space has jumped ahead of the curve.
Present your solution
You’ve introduced the concept of online marketing, built a case for why it works and shown examples of how it works. Now it’s time to bring this back to your business. Don’t leave the meeting in limbo. Instead, have your proposed solution already laid out. That solution is up to you because you know your company. But be sure to cover all of the following:
- The desired outcomes of your plan (be as specific as possible)
- What specific tactics will be executed (ok, NOW you can talk about that shiny new website and email marketing software!)
- Who at your company will need to be involved
- What external resources will be needed (marketing strategy firm, web designer, copywriters/bloggers, etc.)
- What budget will be required (do your homework and learn about the costs involved with implementation)
- Where money can be saved (if you implement this plan, can you cut out your $4500/month print ad campaigns?)
- The timeline for completion (lay out some top level milestones to paint a picture and make sure the first one is soon so you don’t lose steam after this meeting)
- Next steps (DO NOT walk out of that room without clearly defined next steps in place, or this will get pushed to the wayside when the next fire arises at your company)
Build support from other innovators
The more people on board with your plan, the more influential you can be. Involve the sales or business development team from the beginning. Learn their challenges and incorporate those into your pitch. They already speak the language of lead generation and ROI well. And they’ll be your biggest advocates if you can help them generate more leads and sales opportunities.
Be confident – you’re the expert
Finally, remember throughout this process that you’re the educator here. It’s your time to teach. Obviously, you’ll use common sense in showing respect for your boss. But show confidence and be willing to make an argument for your case. You bring value to your company when you have a strong idea and can back it up. This is your chance to do just that, so don’t be passive.