There are few things executives and managers love more than concrete data showing high ROI. Give your boss hard numbers indicating a measurable improvement for a tangible asset and you'll quickly find your team gaining more trust and bigger budgets.
The growth of tangible assets (which are things like inventory, cash, equipment, etc.) is obviously necessary for a business, but since tangible assets are perceived to have the greatest value, projects that directly grow them are often given the biggest budgets, while many "softer" projects constantly face the chopping block.
It's intangible assets like these that form the greatest differentiating factors for many of today's most influential brands.
Unfortunately, marketing KPIs often fall within the intangible category, meaning many marketing projects and teams subsequently miss out on executive advocacy, funding, and the freedom to experiment. So, how can you help your boss better understand intangible assets, to the benefit of both your marketing team and the company at large? Let's take a look at a few key arguments.
1. Marketing teams are at the forefront of big data. If big data isn't already on the minds of your marketing team, it should be, as it's a key way to prove the value of intangible assets. Big data marketing can help companies:
2. Marketing teams establish and grow brand identity and reputation. Many marketers struggle to demonstrate how many of the more artistic elements of branding, like a distinctive logo, tagline, voicing, and sometimes even entire campaigns, can directly create brand equity.
But if you take a look at the world's most successful businesses, you'll find one thing that separates them from the pack: a clear brand identity with a loyal following. Kleenex is so well-established, the brand is used colloquially as the product name. Apple's clean designs and intuitive interfaces distinguish the company in an otherwise crowded market to the tune of $156.5 billion in sales in 2012 alone. Coca-Cola is downright iconic, in business for 127 years and with brand recognition in over 200 countries. In fact, while most companies were struggling during the financial meltdown in 2008, the top 100 brands increased profits by 2 percent for a total of $2 trillion.
In short: branding matters, as it directly influences a customer's perception of a company as trustworthy, interesting, and worthy of her money and attention. This isn't news to the world's biggest companies that regularly conduct expensive mergers just to own a well-established brand, nor to those that spend billions on image research. The more your boss trusts and invests in your marketing team, the greater effect you'll have on capturing consumer attention in an otherwise flooded field, which, of course, can have a direct impact on your profitability.
3. Marketing teams positively contribute to company culture. The penultimate research on company culture was conducted in 1988 by John Kotter and James Heskett, who used the metrics of substance, strength, and adaptability to measure economic performance, stock price, and ROI. The duo found that company culture had a strong impact on a company's health - something that leading companies like
What does this have to do with the marketing team? In establishing and spreading the company brand, the marketing team strongly influences company culture. A thriving, growing marketing team not only directly increases revenue, it can be the cultural lifeblood of a company.
Big data analytics, branding, and company culture form the heart of a company's success, and it just so happens that's where marketing teams thrive. Bring these arguments and the data backing up the ROI of your marketing team's projects to your boss and show her that marketing teams have immeasurable value - and you should quickly have access to bigger budgets and greater amounts trust.
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Adria Saracino is the head of outreach at Distilled, a creative online marketing agency. When not consulting on content strategy or leading her team of outreach warriors, you can find her writing about style on her personal fashion blog, The Emerald Closet.
March 19, 2014