We know how hard you work in your marketing role. Organizing campaigns, analyzing metrics, constantly creating awesome content. Marketing is an involved, complex process with a lot of moving parts.
According to HubSpot’s latest The State of Inbound report, 40% of the marketers interviewed said that their top marketing challenge was proving the ROI of marketing activities.
63% of them said generating traffic and leads was their top challenge.
Showing your boss the amazing work you’re accomplishing and expressing challenges can be difficult when it comes to campaign reporting. The top level leadership of a company simply does not have the time or energy to put into understanding the inner workings of a marketing strategy, and they definitely do not have the time to dive into the full workings of a newly developed inbound marketing strategy. Perhaps the occasional boss will want to sit down and chat with you about meta descriptions, but most won’t, and that’s to be expected.
The only problem with this is that bosses will still want to know how you’re doing and what the results are. And they will still want to know where their money is going. Because, as you have learned over the years, money is pretty important. Furthermore, if you want to implement a radical change into your marketing strategy, you’re going to need their buy-in to do it.
This is what you should do about it
So, how do you communicate successfully with your leadership about your progress? We’ve seen this knowledge/interest gap arise quite frequently between our clients and company leadership, and we’ve developed some knowledge over the years on the best way to get your boss the information they need to know without overwhelming (or worse, underwhelming) them.
Seek to understand – The first thing to keep in mind when reporting to your boss is that they will generally be focused on growing company revenues and increasing overall company value. This means that any marketing report to your boss should be primarily focused around the return on investment. It doesn’t matter if you’re submitting an end of a year report, or making an in-person presentation about why you need the newest marketing software. When you’re talking to your boss, make sure you’re constantly detailing how much went into each effort, and how much you got out of it. While you’re at it, keep the conversation money based. Your boss probably won’t be as interested in hearing that you got 10,000 new clicks unless you also mention that those clicks converted into $100/day worth of new sales.
Stay out of the weeds – You also need to remember that your boss isn’t going to be able to dive too far into specific details. If you’re trying to get a point across, the best thing to do is decide on the necessary data to show them, and then build a complete picture around the data to convey what you’re trying to say. You will confuse your boss if you start discussing the “struggles of targeting a buyer persona in the decision stage.” Make it easier to understand by providing the context of a) why you’re targeting that customer, and b) what targeting them will accomplish.
Set clear expectations – Another big source of miscommunication between our clients and leadership is giving a timeline for investments to pay off. It can be difficult to explain to a boss that a newly created blog series will bring in more sales in the long run, when the numbers have not gone up yet. This is one time where it might be best to dive into the process a little bit. It will be important for them to understand that it may take several months for a marketing strategy to pay off. Assure them that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Well, we weren’t there. But we assume it wasn’t.
Educate them – Focus on the people outside the office: your customers and your competition. These groups are two aspects of inbound marketing that will get your boss's attention and help show the value of what you do. Showing your boss the way that the competition is benefiting from their inbound marketing strategy is a great way to motivate him or her to take the plunge on a new idea, especially if you have a boss who is reluctant to embrace inbound marketing.
At the end of the day, your boss is just another buyer persona! Keeping them happy really comes down to understanding their wants, needs, and challenges so that you can provide them with the content and reports they will find educational and useful. And if you think surprising them with a fresh baked cupcake will help to further understand their wants, needs, and challenges, we say go for it.
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