You’re a newly minted chief marketing officer and you’re facing the daunting challenge of gaining approval of your first marketing budget. How do you convince your c-suite colleagues to have confidence in your marketing plan and, importantly, the budget you’ve proposed?
Money: You’re asking for too much money. According to Deloitte, tech, software and biotech companies spend approximately 15 percent of total sales on marketing. Benchmark your budget against industry research and competitive analysis to determine the right amount for your business. Ask yourself, “how can we afford not to do this.”
Complacency: “This is how we’ve always done it,” isn’t good enough. Have confidence in your plan, rooted in sound strategic thinking and be able to back up your argument with strong supporting statements.
Authority: You’re the CMO now. That “C” carries weight. You’re a peer with the CFO, the CHRO and other officers. You may need to compromise, but be willing to stake your ground to fund the programs you believe in the most.
Need: You may be challenged by others as to the need for your programs. Seek the advice of a trusted advisor, such as a partner agency to help you build a messaging framework to support your plan.
Timing: You may hear, “We’re not ready to make this investment.” Take that in stride. If you’re new, it may take time for you to build the trust and confidence of your colleagues. You may also want to re-think your Super Bowl ad if your business can’t support the investment.
Alternatives: Think through some solid alternatives. I recently read The One-Page Proposal, by Patrick G. Riley and one of the things I like best about it is that it forces you to think critically about the most important elements of your proposal. If it’s on the page, it has to be important. If it doesn’t make the cut, you’ve surely thought through it thoroughly in such a way that you have a rationale for why you didn’t include it.
The most important advice I can offer is to listen to the objection. You may not like what you hear, but if you listen to understand, and by this, I mean seek to fully appreciate the other person’s perspectives and their motivation. If you do this, you’ll be able to aptly synthesize the above in a way that enables you to respond from a neutral position and work through the objections to gain the outcome you seek.