It’s nerve-wracking going to your executive board and asking for more budget to play with. You don’t want to be there (sweating away) wondering whether you’re getting your point across. What you need is a rock-solid business case.
Business cases justify marketing expenses by proving that the company will see some positive returns. Compiling impressive benefits, backed up with indisputable marketing statistics, will show that upping your budget is the right thing to do.
So, how do you write a business case that’s sure to persuade your higher-ups to part with their cash? Well, don’t fret. We’ve got you covered. Below, we’ve put together a plain-English template that you can edit to suit your needs. But first, let's talk about how to pitch your business case in a persuasive way.
How to pitch your marketing budget
Use persuasive language
First of all, use persuasive language. We highly recommend the book 'Persuasion: the art of influencing people' by James Borg.
As he says, persuasion is a process, and it can be learned. He has a few key tips, such as being a good listener, and not interrupting someone or finishing their sentences to dive in with your own advice.
Read your audience and try to determine the best way to tailor your pitch to be most persuasive to them specifically. For example, a CEO would respond best to some more aspirational, goal-oriented language, but the CFO might want the hard facts up front.
Do your research
Be prepared to answer questions like "What are our competitors spending on marketing?" We've included some useful statistics in the copy below to help you with this particular section. Oh and, by the way, the majority of businesses spend about 10 percent of revenue on marketing, according to Gartner.
Showcase the ROI
Return on investment, or 'ROI', is one of the main measures of your marketing success. If you can prove that investing now will lead to longer-term gains, then you'll have the CFO on board right off the bat.
Have a clear roadmap
The marketing budget isn't your strategy, but it should be closely tied to said strategy. Refer back to key activities in your broader plan and why these require a certain allocation of funds. Put together a high-level roadmap to show these activities as part of a whole. In this way, it can be easier for your audience to see why a big scary number might actually be the right amount after all.
Discuss resourcing and utilisation
Put some thought into your resourcing strategy, such as how much you're doing in-house, whether you're hiring any consultants or if you need to outsource some of your operations to a third-party agency. Consider your utilisation rate and how well that marries with your ambitions and extrapolate budget requirements from there. Provide options and show how these might change costs or outcomes.
OK, now that you're prepared to deliver your pitch, take the template copy below and use it as part of your own business case:
Your business case for a marketing budget [template]
The latest statistics don’t lie - investing in marketing creates business opportunities. Levelling up the marketing budget opens doors to more leads, quality content that’s published regularly, and a crowd of new website visitors.
Here are the top reasons increasing the marketing budget will benefit the company:
Increasing the marketing budget for talented strategists and copywriters will result in unique and enticing content. That content drives traffic and the opportunity to connect with potential leads. More budget, more content, more leads.
It doesn’t just bring in new customers either; it connects with current ones. Sixty percent of marketers also say that content helps build loyalty with existing clients.
Upping the marketing budget allows investment into CRM and more efficient marketing automation tools.
This can exponentially increase the marketing outreach. Automation takes the strain off marketers (and means you won’t need to hire more), provides in-depth reporting and creates lead scoring. Overall, it’s much more efficient and scalable.
SEO drives visitors
Higher budgets allow for more research into the latest SEO trends, resulting in impressive web traffic. As SEO is an ever-evolving aspect of marketing, it needs constant research and attention to garner results.
Fifty-seven percent of B2B marketers are saying that SEO generates more leads than any other marketing initiative. So, it’s a clear-cut case - investing in SEO is valuable and sure to result in a high return on investment.
Old websites don’t appeal to new prospects. Outdated, eyesore websites aren’t going to pass muster compared to competitors.
Not only can a website redesign result in improved site performance and SEO, but it’ll also increase sales and conversions. If new customers aren’t able to find what they need because of a hard-to-navigate site, they’ll probably search elsewhere. Working on UX and functionality will highlight any complicated areas to work on. Attractive websites delight customers and make competitors jealous.
Thought-leadership content creates a premium
Forty-two percent of B2B decision-makers are willing to pay a premium to companies that produce thought leadership content as compared to those that do not.
Creating well-researched and innovative thought-leadership content positions the company among trusted experts in the field. Content of that calibre requires more time and resources, which won’t happen without a budget increase.
Secure that marketing budget
We hope these stats and trends help bring your boss around the idea that now’s the time for a bigger marketing budget.
Remember, relating these impressive stats to your own business goals is very persuasive. It’s all about solving the problems in the mind of the person you’re pitching to. Bring along your reports to highlight where this shiny new budget can help.