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How to Present Marketing Value to Senior Leadership

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marketing value

8 actionable tips for demonstrating the value of marketing up the chain

Every seasoned marketer knows the feeling of presenting a campaign report to an audience who just doesn’t care.

The glazed eyes. The not-so-subtle checking of emails. The folded arms and shuffling in chairs. Anyone would rather be grilled with tough questions than met with silence.

It’s not that the marketer is doing a poor job of presenting the results. They might just be focusing on the wrong metrics.

Demonstrating the value of marketing to senior leadership requires you to shift your thinking from the practitioner’s perspective to that of a CEO or Senior Manager. 

From the most impactful metrics to the structure of the marketing campaign report, here are 8 actionable tips for proving marketing ROI.

1. Link to business goals

The #1 way to prove the value of any marketing strategy is by linking campaign outcomes to the company’s strategic goals.

If you only take one thing away from this guide, let it be the importance of making this connection. 

For agencies

Tying marketing results to long-term growth goals demonstrates that you understand the client’s challenges, ambitions, and needs. Senior leaders will appreciate an honest contribution more than the same glossy marketing campaign report their previous agency provided.

For in-house marketers

Perceptions of marketing are changing from ‘the creative team’ to ‘customer-facing revenue generators’. It’s up to marketers to catalyze the shift by linking marketing outcomes to business goals.

Report on metrics that demonstrate how marketing contributes to the company’s growth. Use the same language senior leaders use in memos and annual reports. Align marketing KPIs to business goals. 

In short, meet the C-suite on their turf.

2. Connect marketing to customer value

Senior leaders might not know a good marketing result when they see it, but they will understand customer value metrics:

  • Customer lifetime value (CLV)
  • New qualified leads
  • Customer acquisition cost
  • Spend per customer
  • Loyalty rates
  • Engagement with target accounts

As more companies focus on increasing CLV and deepening customer engagement, demonstrating value in these terms achieves that all-important alignment between marketing and business goals.

3. Focus on results, not activities

Senior leaders don’t want to know how you fill your day. They want to know their agency or marketing team is delivering value

Results Activities
Customer lifetime value increased by 5% Sent 396 emails to 132 customers
52 sales-accepted leads in progress Created an eBook to bring in leads
Customer acquisition cost fell to $3.25 Stopped low-performing LinkedIn ads to increase ROAS
Spend per customer rose to $43 Ran targeted ads promoting seasonal offers
Subscriber retention rose to 84% Segmented email lists to provide relevant content
Converted 2 target accounts Automated LinkedIn messaging to target key accounts

Although the stakes are slightly different for in-house teams and agencies, senior leaders in both cases want to see productivity. 

Furthermore, results build trust. If you consistently prove your methods add value, you may get more freedom or budget to experiment in the next campaign. 

4. Provide context 

Results without context are just numbers. Campaign reports should compare outcomes to goals so the CLV figure and those new leads have weight and meaning. 

Centralizing campaign data into a hub enables Mediatool users to:

These marketing dashboard metrics enable brands and agencies to contextualize campaign results. 

The hard work of collating and comparing multi-channel campaign data is already done. Your job is to filter and segment the data to reflect the company’s current view. 

5. Tell a compelling story

Before going into the presentation, decide what your overarching narrative needs to be. In most cases, the business’ high-level goals will shape the story; your role is to add depth, color, and texture.

How?

You guessed it – linking marketing outcomes to business goals.

Marketing plays a mission-critical function in the growth of any firm. Whether you’re presenting a marketing plan for consideration or answering the ROI question after a campaign, maintain a consistent thread.

And be honest. Make sure your report tells the whole truth, including the marketing dashboard metrics that fall short of expectations.

6. Keep it concise

Although conciseness and telling a complete story might seem at odds, they’re not.

Ask one simple question before including any metric in a report:

So what?

It’s a simple test that weeds out background information from ROI data. 

If you can envision the CEO challenging any metric in your marketing report with a “so what?”, either prepare an answer that adds to the narrative or, preferably, leave it out.

Add the data to an appendix, so you’re prepared for follow-up questions after the presentation.

7. Leave out vanity metrics

Don’t succumb to temptation by adding vanity metrics to your reporting. These are results that far exceed expectations or outstrip industry benchmarks but ultimately don’t add value.

For example:

  • High email open rates with low or average conversions
  • Millions of impressions in a conversion-focused campaign
  • High click rates when the lead pipeline is stagnating

Any activity metric also falls into this category.

Vanity metrics dilute your message and erode confidence in the value of marketing. 

8. Look for long-term trends

Trend data adds weight to marketing presentations. Senior leaders are typically long-term thinkers, so it’ll help them understand how results are trending over time.

  • Compare year-on-year results
  • Focus on a few high-level metrics
  • Link campaign KPIs to long-term trends

Another way to link long-term trends to company growth is by forecasting results. Use historical data to predict future performance.

Mediatool’s holistic campaign management dashboards provide the insight and flexibility to act on trends. You can filter data to find hidden trends, compare performance across channels, and spot insights you would miss looking at siloed data.

We haven’t built a crystal ball (yet), but historical data provides everything you need to make more informed business decisions.

How Mediatool powers value-adding marketing strategies

Mediatool is the end-to-end platform agencies and brands use to plan, measure, evaluate, and improve marketing campaigns.

From collaborative planning to great-looking marketing reports, Mediatool has all the capabilities you need to demonstrate value.

  • Target tracking
  • Third-party data integrations 
  • User-friendly campaign dashboards
  • Flexible reporting
  • Client and brand management tools

Book a tour today or discover how Mediatool can streamline your workflows.

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