You know your marketing approach needs to be modern, advanced and digitally mature. Here’s how to make sure your ideas get listened to - and acted on.
Sometimes, getting the ear of the board can feel like appearing on Dragons’ Den. Getting approval for changes - and the necessary budget - is hard. So when you see the need to move to more digitally mature marketing methods, just how do you pitch your ideas?
First, you need to base your proposals on what's going wrong - or where opportunities are being missed. Digital maturity is about much more than buying the latest piece of software; it's about changing the ways your organisation works.
"Most large firms... are using technologies like social media, mobile, analytics and embedded devices to change their customer engagement, internal operations and even their business models. But few firms have positioned themselves to capture the real business benefits."
When you start drafting your proposals, you'll need to focus on your organisation's overall strategic goals. Avoid talking about features; talk about results instead. Advanced analytics will mean marketing can be targeted more effectively, communications can be personalised and sales prospects can be qualified more effectively - all of which will make existing activities more effective and improve the bottom line.
Point out that you can't afford to be less digitally mature than the competition: according to a recent report from ExactTarget, two-thirds of organisations plan to increase their spending on digital marketing this year, mainly in data and advanced analytics, marketing automation, social media marketing and content management. Your organisation can't afford to be left behind.
Your proposal needs to be:
- Detailed, with a fully-costed plan for implementation of each individual element.
- Have a clear, concise summary to catch attention and sum up your plans.
- Convincing and well-written - get it checked and re-checked!
- Fully aligned with the organisation's mission statement and business policies.
- Backed up by facts and figures you can defend.
- Contrasted with the effects of continuing with the status quo.
Show how your plan can be used to leverage existing assets, for example by using analytics to advance the customer data you already have.
Next, you need a sponsor at a high level who will champion your ideas and take the proposal - and its implementation - through its various stages. Ideally, this person will be thoroughly supportive of your ideas, easily accessible and well-connected - as well as eloquent and well-informed.
And then the feedback will start to arrive. Take it on board and respond to questions and criticisms: ask for specifics. And at the end of each meeting, make sure you get approval for the next stage of the process, such as obtaining proposals, so that the project's never left in limbo.
And when you get the go-ahead, start using your new digital maturity to present the evidence of your success. Show just how much more successful marketing campaigns have become, or how many more customers are being retained. After all, one of the biggest boons of advanced marketing analytics is the detailed reporting: use it to crow about your achievements.