Have you ever had your management team agree on something unanimously?
If I were a betting man, I’d say probably not. And, that’s just how things are – just imagine how dull the world would be if we were all in agreement all the time.
That’s why facing a challenge like implementing a new marketing strategy can be so tiring. Not only do you have to develop the strategy – which will definitely take up a fair amount of time and resources – you also have to get your management team to support the plan.
But, how exactly do you get your team to buy into a marketing strategy?
Understand Your Team and Organization
Before you get team members to buy into a specific marketing strategy, you need to understand who your audience is. Fusion Workshop states you should study and understand “the strategic aims of your organization.” In other words, what are the goals and objectives most important to the current, as well as future, state of your business?
Six common “strategic business goals are in the areas of market share, financial resources, physical resources, productivity, innovation, and action planning.” Being aware of this can help you “align your vision to the short and long-term goals of your organization.”
Besides understanding the goals of your organization, you need to also understand the team members “who will be working towards these aims.” When you know what motivates them, you can tap into these motivators to get them on board.
Sean Power has an interesting anecdote in an article he wrote for Content Marketing Institute. It’s about an employee who tried to get his boss on board with a content marketing strategy. The employee had prepared everything for a presentation – “research papers, cost-benefit analyses, case studies, potential solutions, and the pros and cons of several possible options.” What happened? The boss instead took advice from his “golf buddy” because he trusted him.
In the professional world, we listen to our peers we can trust, our confidants. If you want to sell team members on an idea, then make sure that you have an established working relationship. That doesn’t mean you have to play golf together every week, but you need some sort of rapport – whether that’s going to lunch once a week or sharing ideas – if you want them to be on your side.
And, who knows? That person could have a great relationship with another credible team member.
Let Team Members Share Their Knowledge
If you really want to team members to buy into your plan, then give them a chance to share their knowledge, experience, and ideas. John Hall gives an example at Forbes about how Centro got their engineers involved with a content marketing strategy. By letting the engineers create content, Centro not only boosted its credibility, it also improved team morale by getting everyone involved.
Hall also states that this can unify a company – even across departments. For example, “if engineers develop content showcasing their expertise, PR can also use it to draw positive attention to the company. PR can then work with the social media team or customer service to maximize its reach.”
In short, give your management team a chance to have some input into the formation of a marketing strategy. If they are a part of it from the beginning, it will be easier for them to buy into it since they helped create it.
Demonstrate the Strategy’s Value
To demonstrate the value of a strategy, you’re going to have to effectively communicate it to the other management team members. Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind. You should avoid jargon and always have an elevator pitch prepared that focuses on the benefits of the strategy. And, you may very well have to make a presentation.
Joe Griffin detailed an excellent format on Content Marketing Institute for an effective presentation. He recommends that your presentation format be as follows:
- State your intention
- State the current situation
- Define content marketing and its value
- Bridge the gap
- Define your action plan
- Make the ask
Griffin adds that you need to “be clear, friendly, and confident.” Make sure that you’re also prepared for questions and try to implement the Guy Kawasaki-championed “10/20/30 rule.”
Give it a Test Drive
If anything, you’ve at least gotten the interest of your management team if you’ve followed the suggestions from above. But, one of the best ways to get them sold on your strategy is by testing it out and reviewing results. Kapost suggests that you do this internally, but if you want to see what happens in the real-world, here are some deciding factors on how effective your strategy is:
- Immediate gains: Facebook likes, reTweets, LinkedIn shares, etc.
- Baseline everything: Use services different tools like Searchmetric’s SEO management software and Moz’s rank tracker to help track data and relevant keywords.
- Back-links: How many inbound links did you receive?
Leads/Sales: How many visitors and sales did you make following the release of your marketing strategy?
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