By Ed Pierce, Fleet Industry Marketer
For many companies, the Fall signals the start of another budgeting process that comprises a two-part challenge:
- Reviewing the success of this year’s marketing tactics and overall achievement of goals at both the tactical and strategic levels,
- Developing next year’s plan and appropriate budget by gathering pertinent facts from inside and outside the company — forthcoming promotional opportunities, (e.g., new products, strategic messaging), and external forces (e.g., the economy, the competitive landscape, and changing user needs)
It’s All about ROI
Of course, integral to these processes is conducting a detailed review of the associated expenses to determine ROI. While the Gartner Group reports that marketing budgets continue to increase, marketers still find it increasingly difficult to justify their marketing budget and to get approval for their initiatives. One thing that hasn’t changed: senior executives are reluctant to hand over any dollars without first seeing the value of their prior investment.
A HubSpot report points to the value of showing the quantifiable of the current year’s marketing investment. In fact, marketing organizations that can show ROI are more likely to get higher budgets. Here are some suggested steps recommended by Rebecca Lee White, digital marketing manager at TrackMaven:
- Know how much you should be spending.
Start by getting a handle on your marketing budget allocation by looking at what others in your industry are doing. Trade press advertising, trade shows, and common tactics like seminars, webinars, customer events, and so on are all easily estimated.
Once you better understand how much you should be spending in each area, begin to work on proving the value of your marketing efforts to senior management so you can get those numbers approved.
- Develop and track your key performance indicators (KPIs).
Yes, just as KPIs prove the value of fleet services, they prove marketing value, too. Define them at the beginning of the budget process so you can refer back to them at the end of the year to prove marketing ROI. Here are a few to get started — Customer Retention Rate, Customer Lifetime Value (LTV), Customer Acquisition Cost (CAC), and Sales Growth. Work with finance to jointly define the KPIs most important to demonstrating success.
- Make a strong case to senior management
With benchmarks and accomplishments in hand, it’s time to make your case to senior management. Armed with quantifiable proof of progress through the KPIs above, you are more likely to convince executives that the role of marketing is driving business.
As always, I welcome feedback, questions, suggestions, experiences and differing points of view from fleet product and service providers as well as from fleet managers, corporate buyers, consultants, trade association and media representatives. Just send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org