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How to Sell Marketing to the Business - five key learnings from Techweek 2017

Last week (May 6-14) Techweek happened around the world, with over 100 events happening across New Zealand alone, making it the biggest week New Zealand has ever seen or experienced in technology.

The contribution of the tech sector to the NZ economy is large but it could be much greater. There are over 28,000 companies, employing almost 100,000 people, or 5% of the workforce, in the sector and NZTech has found that every 4% growth in productivity within the tech sector generates 1% growth in GDP, equal to $2.7b. This means every dollar invested in growing tech sector productivity brings a $3 ROI.

As a country we are well connected, yet we could gain so much more if our businesses exploited technology further. Read the full report here.

An important (but often difficult to measure) contributor to this sector is the many tech marketers that influence the success of the industry. Ah, the point of the blog!

This week I attended one of the events, organised for this very group of influencers. Targeted to tech marketers, the event focused on how to sell marketing to the CEO.

This immediately resonated with me and no doubt resonates well with many a marketer, regardless of industry.

Here at Intergen we are fortunate that our CEO and leadership team are strong advocates for marketing and believe in the value and benefit marketing brings, but this does not mean we don’t face the daily challenge of justifying the investment in marketing (from a cost and time perspective) to the business in general.

When there is a large RFI to prepare or an important project sprint to meet, the last thing the business wants is to have the “colouring in department” push for activities that can seem of little value by comparison. So this event was a welcome opportunity to address these challenges and discuss tried and tested solutions with fellow tech marketers.

From the sharing of insights in the room, here are in five key takeaways:

  1. Join sales meetings whenever you can to get a better understanding of the buyer journey, language used and challenges faced. A very simple but effective way to speak the right language to sales on your marketing activities and align activities better to the business outcomes.
  2. Map the sales cycle and how marketing impacts each stage. It can be hard to prove marketing ROI especially when there is a long sales cycle and many touch points along the way. Illustrating how marketing influences each stage of the journey helps to map the marketing impact.
  3. Find advocates in the sales team. This is an area where Intergen is fortunate to have built up over the years and we have seen the benefits when rallying support for our activities.
  4. Raising the profile of your senior leadership team through marketing activities. While benefiting their personal profile and the business profile it is also a good way to illustrate the ROI these same activities can have when invested into the business profile.
  5. There was a very interesting discussion around data insights and finding the right balance of reporting. It is very easy to get carried away with all the great tools available to marketers now. One of the organisers recounted a time when she spent hours creating 17 slides of masterful data driven dashboards and charts proving ROI to share with the CEO, only to be asked to provide three succinct slides (insert *groan*). 

Although I believe these learning are relevant to majority of marketers regardless of sector, I can’t finish without giving the tech marketers group a plug. They are a special interest group under the NZTech umbrella and started up about six months ago. They will have a website and LinkedIn page soon, and as one of the steering group members explained to me – it is a place for tech marketers to coexist not compete. So I will be sending out invites to all the tech marketers I come across as I see a real benefit in networking together and collectively contributing to the NZ tech economy. After all, working in the “department of fluff” is all about the nice warm fuzzies, right?!

Posted by: Linda McConnell, Marketing Communications Specialist | 15 May 2017

Tags: Techweek

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