Partners & Simons’ chief financial officer, Trudy Almquist, has written an article, “Selling to your CFO,” at CMO magazine, giving advice to chief marketing officers (CMOs) on how to get more money for the marketing budget.
Her first advice is to meet on common ground with the chief financial officer (CFO), which is to “increase revenue, do more with less and increase profits.”
Next to this, Almquist has four other recommendations:
? Know Your Audience
? Know the Lingo
? Know Your Allies
? Know Your Pitch
Your audience is your CFO who, according to the author, is “logical, analytical, protective and sometimes suspicious,” and would demand clear and concise data on costs and revenue to be generated. You need to quantify and justify everything that needs budget funds.
Justification needs to be in terms meaningful to the CFO, adds Almquist, and what he or she wants is output that “will provide good decision-making information for your company.”
Marketing data will also be seen as valuable, she says, if it can influence the value of key intangible assets that up a company’s stock market valuation. Among such intangibles are customer lists, customer relationships or customer satisfaction, and trademark or brand recognition.
Before making the pitch, Almquist further suggests making allies of your own marketing department, as well as key executives in operations and finance.
She encourages self-endorsement of the marketing department, emphasizing its impact on company growth and profitability.
Alliance with operations will validate marketing costs, the author says, because CFOs “see most operating costs as necessary spending, which ultimately yields returns.”
Alliance with finance, on the other hand, can, according to Almquist, yield assistance in making a five-year marketing plan budget showing both the long-term benefits of the marketing strategy and the long-term negative impact of any budget cuts.
In finally making the budget pitch to the CFO, the author advises:
? Supporting your statements with customer data;
? Showing successful historical results;
? Showing that current funds have been maximized by replacing moderately effective efforts with more promising initiatives;
? Presenting metrics from recent successful initiatives;
? Identifying and discussing criteria for measuring the new programs; and
? Having specific answers.
If, despite everything, your budget is still cut, Almquist recommends you do the cutting yourself to ensure that all your most important goals are still met.
Establishing a marketing culture that is not only creative but also accountable, with a marketing pitch delivered in financial lingo supported by customer data and key executives, are, according to the author, among the criteria for measuring a CMO’s professional success in an organization.
Basically, it all boils down again to accountability and effective communication.