You’ve made a list and checked it twice. We’re not talking holiday gifts here; we’re talking 2019 marketing budgets. Marketing budgets shrank for the first time in three years in 2017, according to Gartner findings, but there are ways to get the most out of your money and even grow your share of the pie. It comes down to streamlining your tech stack in a way that gives consistent visibility into marketing-sales alignment, which in turn can prove your department’s worth in gold. Persado CMO-in-residence Van Diamandakis shared tips to getting your goal 2019 marketing budget.
Though AI and machine learning have become must-haves, with brands like Adorama and Gap using these technologies to engage customers with personalized, emotionally-relevant marketing language and messaging, it’s still a new phenomenon in marketing. AI that generates more engaging direct response marketing copy than humans? Yes, it’s true. But if you’re not using it in 2019, your competition is out marketing you. Think of it this way as you prepare to pitch it to a boss: Your competition is likely leveraging AI. “You see it in terms of chatbots on websites, or things like voice activation,” Diamandakis said. “Persado has AI for language. If brands are not using AI are part of their stack, they are going to get left behind.” At some point, if a brand wants to survive, they’ll need to invest in AI. The good news is that it’s already built-in with popular ESPs and marketing automation tools, such as Salesforce, Adobe, Oracle, Emarsys, Cheetah and Movable Ink. “It’s just a matter of getting started. Try it and see the massive difference in conversation rate and ROI. The results are significant and immediate. After you run a pilot digital marketing campaign, you’ll be hooked and will want to use AI to optimize all of your digital marketing content.”
Avoid Shiny New Object Syndrome
It’s easy to get distracted by every trending tool that hits the headlines. But the result, Diamandakis said, is often a “Frankenstein system. There’s a lot of duplication.” Before finalizing and discussing plans with your CEO, it’s important to take a hard look at your current tech stack and any vendor pitches you’ve received. Ask: “Do I already have a tool doing this? How will having this help us get more transparency into our KPIs and, if I get this, should I get rid of another tool I already have?” Then, shift the focus to whether the tool will help meet business and sales goals and seek to “bake those into the marketing and sales process.” Show the CEO that these investments will allow for full visibility into ROI on marketing programs, as well as end-to-end integration from campaigns and impressions inquiries, marketing qualified leads and sales accepted leads. If s/he isn’t convinced, prove your point with case studies from a vendor’s site or references from other companies.
Grow the Marketing Budget in 2019 and Beyond
It’s often been said that it’s tough for marketing teams to prove their value and attribute business success to their programs. Not so, argued Diamandakis. “Ironically, it’s really easy to grow your marketing budget.” To do this, the business needs a finely-tuned and integrated MarTech stack, which leverages AI to automate everything possible and gives visibility into everything the department is doing including KPIs (which means it must to work hand-in-hand with sales operations). “If teams are doing everything right, for every dollar we put into the marketing machine, they should be able to get $15-25 out. If CMOs can prove that to a Chief Sales Officer, CFO and CEO over time, they’ll beg you to take more money.”
Bottom Line: There doesn’t need to be a dark cloud hanging over marketing budget meetings. A smart, streamlined tech stack that provides visibility into marketing sales activities will better align the organization and show the impact of each program. And once business and sales leaders see the impact of marketing, it’s easier to get more budget.