Over the last year, the economy has been forced to slow down. Businesses have had to close, and lockdowns have severely impacted global spending habits, with the World Bank predicting economic output to remain 5% lower in 2021 than it was before the pandemic.
With all this doom and gloom, it’s no wonder marketing budgets are getting tighter, as businesses become more stringent about the ways they choose to spend their money.
So, how can you convince stakeholders to take a bet on your brand in this new world, when marketing budgets are rapidly slimming down?
The importance of ‘brand’
Let’s go back to the purpose of a brand. Brands are commercial assets, after all, as great brands can convince people to pay more for specific products. Take Dove, for example. In essence their product isn’t largely different to other soaps existing in the market. But what they’ve created is an empathetic, inclusive brand identity, that people really believe in. And because of that, Dove is able to sell their products at a premium price point.
Investing in a brand may be the riskiest thing you can do, but also the smartest. Marketing is the only action a business can take which has the potential to bring in a disproportionate amount of value into the company. You could spend that money on talent and resource, but each person is only capable of doing so much. You could invest in smart sales tools, but these will only maximize your potential to a certain point.
With a brand, there’s no upper ceiling. If your brand takes off, every aspect of your business will grow. Your product will take off, your sales will be boosted, and the motivation levels within your team will be higher than ever.
Despite there being a huge commercial motive behind a brand, there’s still a constant debate between marketing and leadership teams, as investing in marketing feels like a gamble and it’s often tough to map the impact of marketing back to sales. It’s difficult for marketers to show, before they’ve executed their actions, whether their moves will pay off and to what extent they will pay off.
To secure more money for your brand, proof is your golden ticket. Prove to stakeholders why they need to invest in your plan by focusing on the benefit your strategy will bring to the company. Stay close to the numbers, showing how your strategy will lead to more incremental sales for the company. But to do so, you’ll first need tangible evidence to prove your marketing actions will generate more commercial growth for your business.
How to acquire trustworthy data to prove the worth of your marketing
When asking for marketing investment from stakeholders, there’s historically been no certainty that the money provided will lead to the intended result. There’s millions of ways to invest in a brand, from building up a strong proposition to focusing on new product innovations or developing a flashy awareness-driving campaign. With so many different paths to go down and no real understanding of ROI, it’s no wonder stakeholders struggle to decide how best to allocate marketing budget.
To assuage doubt and prove the worth of your actions, focus on your previous performance. Show stakeholders what you’ve done in the past and communicate how these actions positively benefited the company at the time. If you can show a direct correlation between your strategy and the company’s commercial growth, you’re golden.
Draw on sales data or on social metrics. You can use sales growth as a justification for why you need more budget, as stronger brands merit more investment to sustain growth. Alternatively, you could use a sales decline to convince stakeholders why they need to invest more in your brand, as declining brands also need more help to turn it around. Social Media data, rating and reviews are great for showing stakeholders how people are responding to a specific campaign or product. If it’s either highly successful or in need of more assistance, you can use this to your advantage to get more investment to boost your executions.
The more confident stakeholders feel about your marketing plans and their return on investment back to the company, the more likely you are to get the budget you’ve requested. Stakeholders are more likely to invest in your brand if they feel confident the brand will return value back into the business.
One way of instilling confidence in stakeholders is through ProQuo AI’s CreativeLab. On CreativeLab you can understand, in a matter of hours, the impact of any idea, at any stage of development, whether that be a mood board, digital asset or tv campaign. CreativeLab allows you to tweak and adapt assets before you go live so you can be certain the ideas you’re forking out on are worth the bucks.
Creative optimizers, like CreativeLab, will help show how your ideas will land in market. Creative optimizers are so valuable when proving marketing worth, as they allow you to try out ideas before you execute them in market, to see how real people will respond to them. This enables you to tweak any aspects that aren’t working so your campaign, when launched, will be guaranteed to land with a bang. With CreativeLab, you can upload ideas, concepts and marketing assets, gaining real consumer feedback in hours so you can optimize as you go. This will provide you with rich data to use in your business case to stakeholders, helping you to prove the value of your marketing actions and giving stakeholders the confidence they need to invest in your marketing plans.
Your secret weapon?
If you want to give your brand the best chance for growth, you’ll need a way to monitor the progress of your marketing plans in real-time to give you certainty your brand strategy is hitting your commercial goals. ProQuo’s Brand Management Platform, BrandManager, allows you to do just this. ProQuo’s AI looks your brand, monitoring how it’s performing, live, versus any number of your competitors and category. You can even upload commercial metrics into the platform to prove how changes in your brand’s strength correlate to increases in revenue, market share, penetration and more.
Having a holistic ongoing picture of how your brand drives sales, will be invaluable when proving your business case to stakeholders. Being able to see the instant impact of your marketing activities, live, is a game changer because it means you can ensure that every action taken is delivering positive momentum in your brand and your commercial business results. This certainty is sure to make stakeholders feel more at ease when allocating budget to your strategies. They’ll know you’re in the driver’s seat, with complete control over your brand, ensuring every action taken and every penny spent is delivered back to the business.
And to add more certainty to your business case, why not make the most of CreativeLab to test creative ideas before you send them out into market? Nothing will make stakeholders happier than having assurance, before you go to market, that your ideas will resonate with your target audience.
See how challenger brand, Miso Tasty, proved the return of their marketing spend to stakeholders, using ProQuo AI's live brand monitoring.