It’s not uncommon to hear stories of marketing departments struggling to demonstrate their value to the wider business, especially when it comes to gaining the attention of board members. This isn’t because marketing doesn’t add value but about proof. Without clear proof points, it can be difficult to achieve a true representation of how marketing directly funnels into sales, and delivers against the business bottom line. With that in mind, how can marketing teams ensure they’re providing a complete overview of just how influential their activity is? Gaining approval from senior members of the business in the process.

Reduced budget but better customer engagement

Last year produced various surprise results which continue to cast uncertainty for businesses across the UK (Brexit, President Trump and the continued currency fluctuation). This has made it more important than ever before for companies to place revenue front of mind, especially when making budget decisions. Everything must count, make an impact and ultimately convert sales. The driving force behind this, as it always has been, is results.

For a business looking to expand and thrive, especially in times of financial uncertainty, the key lies with solid customer relationships. This is where an integrated, agile and forward-thinking marketing plan comes into play. When done skillfully, you don’t need a vast marketing spend to attract the attention of customers and communicate your organisation’s messaging. You just need to do it in the way that speaks to your target audience.

It is essential you conduct research into not only what prospect customers are looking for from their products and services, but also how they like to interact with companies. Combining this with a clear understanding of what your competition is doing should help you better define your strategy for developing customer advocates. If marketing teams can prove to the board that they are pushing loyalty, it goes a long way to showcasing their value.

Integrate and collaborate

Today’s businesses have said goodbye to the siloed workforce. Although departmentalisation is still very much obvious within companies (especially the larger ones), the collaboration, development and movement of ideas amongst teams is becoming the norm.

While this may seem daunting to some and exciting to others, those that choose to embrace this organisational shift will reap the benefits. Marketing is about growing profits for the wider company and being a key part of funnelling prospects to the right area of the business. Taking this approach should lead to better, more informed decisions being made by all.

Marketing’s primary function is to create awareness and drive interest. Yet, ultimately it is a business discipline just like the many other departments within a company structure.

In a year where every single department is facing potential budget cuts and is under higher pressure to perform, it’s essential for marketing teams to make sure they hold their own and not only attract, but maintain buy-in from the board. While profit remains key, customers still seek authenticity in their business relationships and won’t just turn a blind eye to out-of-place activity or engagement. As brands and marketers face greater challenges, both internally and externally, now is the time to act swiftly and focus on the value of lifetime customers, all the while working to create a solid business offering.

 

By Heidi Myers, marketing director EMEA at Meltwater


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