How To Conquer The Age-Old Marketing Buy-In Challenge
Why getting the rest of your marketing team on board can be your Ace in the hole
We’ve all been there. We have the big idea. We are sure that if we just created it and launched it, this marketing campaign could make a huge difference for the company. We’ve done the research, we’ve built the spec, and we’ve got the rest of the marketing team stoked to give it a try. No easy feat, for sure.
But then the rest of the company hears about it. Eyebrows rise. Arms cross. People get worried and — BAM — bye, bye big idea.
It happens all too often, particularly for those marketers trying to shake things up. The bigger the wave you hope to make, the more critical it is that you fine-tune your skills for creating buy-in cross-company. But, it’s hard. For years, I’ve struggled with this. How do I get the lead of that team on board? How do I sell the vision? How do I get the resources to see it come to fruition?
Tough stuff, for sure. But there are things you can be doing. There are ways to seed buy-in early and get other teams on board with marketing before you even need their support. Let’s cover some of the big ones!
Meet Often — Outside Of A Meeting
Say what? Meetings are for work. Meeting outside of a scheduled meeting can go a long way in creating respect between you and other teams. Stop by their desk and ask them to lunch, walk by and see if you can grab them for coffee. Never underestimate the value of walking up to a person and inviting them to chat for the sake of chatting.
It shows a different level of respect than that shown in meetings when you are talking mutual work goals. This shows personal investment, and goes a long way when trying to cultivate support internally.
Be A Resource
I mean this in every sense of the word. When other teams need extra help, jump in when you can. Marketers are known for our ability to edit copy, give feedback, design fast, and advocate. Use all of those skills not just for your companies but for the teams inside those companies. Offer to read over emails for sales. Offer to give feedback on job postings. If you see a great article come through social that might be helpful or relevant to them then pass it on.
Keeping the needs of your neighboring teams front and center is a great way of extending that olive branch. When it comes time to need resources for a marketing initiative you’ll be surprised what is offered up.
Spotlight The Overlap
One of the biggest things you can do to get others on board with marketing is show how much value it brings to their team’s goals. What is the overlap in business objectives? What’s that saying – a rising tide lifts all boats! So show off how marketing can help raise the tide for other teams at your company.
Some great examples would be to help the product team collect feedback by helping create and promote a customer survey. You can also help the customer service team by using your social efforts to promote educational material and react to customer needs. What about sharing a competitive landscape with your sales and business development teams so they can better go after partnership opportunities?
The sky is the limit when it comes to leveraging marketing for hitting other team’s goals. You first need to spotlight the overlap and then brainstorm ways to work together to reach those goals.
Honesty Goes A Long Way
For those of you that have tried all of the above and it doesn’t seem to be getting you anywhere, I find an honest conversation around the lack of buy-in goes a long way. Many of us have faced that one team lead that simply doesn’t get what we are trying to do. I’m sure that same team lead feels the same way about you. So sit down and talk about it.
I find one honest question that always helps: “What can we be doing better to support each other?” Make it about the company succeeding, not specifically their team or yours. Make it about the greater good that comes from working better together and start there. Honesty around these challenges really is the best policy.
Thank Them For Their Support
Seems so obvious, but is almost always overlooked. Shoot them that email and thank them for supporting you in that meeting or in front of the team. Even better, thank them in front of the leadership team and call out specifically how they helped move the needle. I know we get busy, but if there is one thing that builds buy-in down the road it’s appreciation right now. So say thank you, authentically and often.
Getting buy-in is hard. Great marketing demands a lot of resources — design, development, data collection, support, etc. To execute on the big, bold marketing campaigns we hope to build we need help. No marketing team can do a company justice in a vacuum. Seeding those relationships now will return in spades down the road.
Then we will all be floating in one big happy boat on some high tide… or something like that.
Have a tip for getting cross-department buy-in for marketing? Let’s hear it in the comments below!
(Stock image via Shutterstock.com. Used under license.)
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