Every year, submitting and defending your marketing budget becomes a more time- and labor-intensive process. For many, it’s a significant strain. But with the right perspective and partnerships, you can successfully protect your budget and state your case.
Departmental priorities. Competitive pressures. Ever changing business goals. Field team relationships and supply chain issues. As a Brand Manager, you have multiple priorities to juggle. While it’s clear to you how important it is to invest in marketing, your key executive stakeholders with other priorities may think differently.
If you’re like most marketing professionals, you’re faced with a leadership team that expects direct accountability, tangible metrics, and a commitment to success before they approve or finalize a budget. As they should. In this environment, how can you avoid fighting over limited resources, and position your budget as a vital, strategic investment in your company’s future?
It’s up to you to remind leadership that marketing is an investment rather than an expense — and to demonstrate the critical role your team plays in the organizational ecosystem.
The surest way to secure your budget is to clearly and unarguably demonstrate the ROI your marketing budget provides. The ability to tie your argument to the bottom line is imperative. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, there are definite steps every marketing team should take:
- Demonstrate a clear journey: Re-outline business objectives and visually showcase how those translate to marketing objectives and, subsequently, your proposed budgets. In this area, the marketing funnel is your best friend.
- Highlight the competition: Show how the competition is using marketing strategies to their advantage — and how your organization could benefit from adopting similar tactics. Present case studies of successful marketing initiatives from other healthcare organizations that have generated significant results.
- Predict challenges: Anticipate potential pushback from stakeholders, and address them proactively. Be prepared to answer questions about budget allocation, and have data points and statistics on hand to show how investing in marketing can improve operational efficiency and market share.
- Leverage your partnerships: Your agency partners and outside collaborators are your allies in advocating for marketing spend. Work with them to maximize your budgets, deliver strategic insights, and develop tangible goals that will bolster your pitch. There are very few arguments these partners haven’t heard; use their experience to strengthen your case.
- Circle back: Provide regular and meaningful updates on the success garnered from the budgets you already have approved. Be succinct but clear in how your team is supporting the organization’s goals. When possible, present your updates in person; by doing this, you maintain a constant and regular presence with your decision makers, so asking for future dollars becomes more seamless.
Above all, remember that numbers are your friend — and they usually don’t lie. Preparation towards an objective, data-driven pitch can help loosen the ever-tightening grip stakeholders have on budgets. A strong and well-thought out position, rooted in a financial rationale, instills confidence in leadership.
At Schaefer, we understand both the importance and the complexity of managing an effective omni-channel plan in the healthcare industry. It can be cumbersome if you are facing it alone. Our healthcare team brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. We are committed to delivering results and staying at the forefront of industry trends and technologies to help drive your business — and your marketing priorities — forward.