Getting Enterprise-Wide Buy-In
for Your Marketing Initiatives
Getting clients and prospects to appreciate the value of the bank's services is an everyday challenge for bank marketers. But it's not wise to focus exclusively on this type of external selling. If you fail to sell the value of your marketing efforts to decision makers within your organization, you risk having funding for your most effective programs slashed or eliminated. Worse yet, senior managers might question the value that you and your team bring to the organization.
Eileen Zicchino, Managing Director and Chief Marketing Officer for J.P. Morgan Treasury Services, addressed these challenges at a recent Marketing Masters Luncheon sponsored by the Business Marketing Association of Chicago, and discussed how Marketing can achieve enterprise-wide buy-in and support for its programs.
Marketing is a discipline that some senior bank managers think they know how to do themselves, Zicchino says. No matter how difficult it might have been to complete a successful marketing campaign, senior bank management may assume it was easy. In part because of such assumptions, marketing executives find themselves constantly having to justify staffing levels and project budgets.
Laying a strong foundation
To successfully sell the value of your marketing programs to senior bank decision makers, Zicchino suggests that you lay a strong foundation by pursuing these five objectives:
- Ensure that marketing initiatives support the institution's business goals.
- Insist that marketing initiatives deliver measurable results.
- Make "under-promise and over-deliver" your department's motto.
- Test and measure results while seeking continuous program improvement.
- Thoroughly analyze and accurately interpret the results of your marketing campaigns.
Achieve the recognition you deserve
There are a number of additional strategies bank marketers can pursue to achieve appropriate recognition from senior management for the work they do and for their marketing programs. These include:
- Treat your internal audience as if they were your clients. Get a clear understanding of the goals, aspirations and concerns of the senior decision makers who fund your marketing group. Then ask yourself: "Is there anything I can do to help them?"
In addition, you want to make sure these decision makers are kept informed about all the specific program accomplishments of your marketing team. Developing an executive presentation highlighting each successful marketing outcome is one way to communicate to senior management your value as well as the value of a specific program. Such presentations are very effective in winning top-down support for your programs. Besides executive presentations, you can share your marketing success stories through internal channels such as employee newsletters and intranet postings.
- Keep communications to senior decision makers short and focused on outcomes. "How you tell this story is as important as the story itself," Zicchino notes. Whenever possible, share a client conversation that validates the effectiveness of your marketing program. "Referencing such conversations, anecdotes and stories brings your message to life. Readers relate to and remember these real-life stories," she adds.
- Show that you put the business first — especially in tough times. Most marketing departments have experienced severe budget cuts during the current economic downturn and such cuts are likely to continue. If you think you will be asked to make budget cuts, make a pre-emptive strike. Before being asked, volunteer ways you can trim your budget. "Though it may seem radical, suggesting cuts in your budget is a great way to demonstrate your commitment to the bank's greater good," Zicchino says.
Also, by volunteering budget cuts, you maintain more control over where those cuts are made.
Another way you can help out in tough times is to volunteer to take on a project that may not typically fall within the normal boundaries of marketing.
Get people talking
One final way bank marketers can gain recognition for their work and themselves is to get others to talk about the quality of their work, Zicchino says. This may involve soliciting comments, but such endorsements can be effective.
A good time to seek an endorsement is when your marketing program directly results in a new product sale or when a client compliments you on a marketing event. When a vendor compliments you on your efficiency, or a colleague praises your creativity, ask them to elaborate and then turn each comment into a testimonial that you ultimately share with senior management decision makers, she advises.