We’ve talked about the importance of research during discovery and its necessity when building a marketing strategy, but it turns out that doing the research is half the battle. In fact, it’s probably a fourth of the battle. What’s next?
Having the research isn’t enough; not all research is equal and some might be contradictory. Only once you’ve curated and processed your research can you build a strategy.
And that’s not even the last step — the last, and arguably most difficult step of building a strategy is getting buy-in. How do you convince others that your strategy is the best option?
Sometimes presenting the strategy is the hardest part. There are resources online that help you build a captivating presentation, but how and what you present is going to depend on your audience, so here are some things to consider before presenting a marketing strategy to clients or stakeholders who may not necessarily be as marketing-savvy as you are.
Know Your Audience
One of the most important things to consider when building and presenting a strategy, is the nature of your audience. You need to first ask yourself the following:
- What are my audience’s expectations?
- What is the level of my audience’s marketing knowledge?
- What does my audience really care about?
As a digital marketing strategist, I’m presenting strategies to both clients and internal executives and the style is drastically different depending on the audience to whom I’m presenting.
When presenting a marketing strategy to a client, their expertise and knowledge within the marketing space can differ depending on their role within the company. For instance, if you’re presenting to the owner of a mom and pop shop, they most likely don’t have the level of expertise that you possess, which is why they’ve hired you in the first place. If you’re presenting to a Director of Marketing, they will obviously have a better understanding of marketing and its role within the company
I like to start the presentation with a few probing questions to gauge their digital marketing knowledge. In order to avoid coming off as condescending, I constantly remind my clients that they’re the expert in their business, and my team and I are the experts in digital marketing. It’s also always a good idea to take periodic pauses to gauge the interest of your audience.
There have been times when I’ve taken an extra pause to gauge the interest of my audience and I’ve seen that glazed over look in their eyes. It’s a reminder to pull back the details a little. If your client isn’t very technical, skip the technical details. If they don’t care about the fluff, jump straight to the numbers.
Presenting to executives or stakeholders within your company can differ from clients, primarily because you should already know this audience fairly well. You can skip the probing questions and focus on the bottom line. Executives want to see that your strategy is in line with the overall vision of the company.
Make sure you know their expectations, knowledge level and goals ahead of time, and speak to those right off the bat.
Build a Case Backed by Data
There’s nothing that proves your case better than hard numbers. If you’re presenting to a group of people who don’t fully understand the point or value of your marketing strategy, backing it up with data offers irrefutable evidence that there will be an ROI (hint: the data should prove ROI potential). Resources like Hubspot offer a whole collection of useful digital marketing statistics that cannot only help you build your strategy, but also help back up that strategy.
For instance, Hubspot tells us that businesses with websites of 401-1000 pages get 6X more leads than sites with 51-100 pages. This statistic might help you prove your case to build out more pages, blog more, etc. If you want to allocate more budget towards SEO, you can utilize Search Engine Journal’s statistic that SEO leads have a 14.6% close rate, where outbound leads have a 1.7% close rate.
If you have company historical data, those numbers may be your biggest ally when proving your case. Through your research, you should have uncovered the marketing tactics that have worked in the past, those that haven’t and those that have not yet been tried. This historical data should have shaped your marketing strategy and can definitely aid in building your case.
Lead with the Most Important Information & Focus on What Matters
According to the Statistic Brain Research Institute, the average human attention span in 2015 is 8.25 seconds. Of course you can’t present an entire strategy in under 10 seconds, but it illustrates the point that you need to grab your audience’s attention right away. If you lead with the most important information, you have the best shot of capturing their attention right away. It also won’t be catastrophic if you run out of time at the end of your presentation.
It’s easy to get lost in a sea of details, especially if you’ve spent a lot of your time thinking about them. You probably have a limited time with your audience, so focus on what matters. Your client or executive probably cares about seeing a return on their investment, so show them how you’re going to take their investment and positively impact their bottom line. This doesn’t mean promising unrealistic results; in fact, setting aggressive, but realistic goals for the campaign is a must when presenting to clients and executives.
Keep the presentation high level, focusing on what they will receive on a regular basis and what the probable outcomes will be.
Educate, While Keeping the Information High Level
The line between educating your audience and not overloading them with information is very fine, but finding it is crucial to getting your point across. There will always be a need for some education when you’re trying to show the value of an idea or strategy to someone who doesn’t 100% understand what you’re talking about, but you also don’t want to get too bogged down with the details and you definitely don’t want to spend your entire presentation educating.
With my clients, I like to stay pretty high level, while educating the points that help make my case. It’s also a great way to show you really do know what you’re talking about.
When presenting a marketing strategy to non-marketers, remember that you’re presenting to someone or a team of people who just want the campaign to be successful. As long as you do the necessary research, speak to your audience and show how your strategy is going to lead to successful outcomes, you should be well on your way to getting that ever-important buy-in.
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