In this week’s In-Ear Insights, we answer a question from Janine about budgeting for a marketing strategy. She asked at a recent webinar who asked how to persuade decision-makers to invest in a more comprehensive marketing program. We talk through some conceptual frameworks to help marketers and executives understand different levels of investment needed to make marketing succeed holistically – and when you can’t cut corners. Tune in to find out more!
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What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for listening to the episode.
Christopher Penn 0:02
This is In-Ear Insights, the Trust Insights podcast.
In this week’s In-Ear Insights are talking about all things, budgeting and planning.
And I got this question from a recent webinar we are on that we didn’t have time to go to in the webinar.
But Janine asks, every customer wants to spend on only what converts and just do little tests, which means that these companies and that we’re speaking more about larger enterprises here, want to spend very little money up front, which is unrealistic in a business where we are building an entire funnel? How do we address this and get stakeholders to allocate a bigger budget to really get a yield? I think this is a really interesting question, because it is very much a stakeholder thing at a larger enterprise.
And that yeah, there are some things where you have to have a larger investment up front to get any return later on, because you can’t undo it or go back in time.
analytics is the classic example.
You can’t ever go back in time and get data that you weren’t collecting to begin with.
So if you didn’t do the upfront work, you can’t get the return later on the yield later on.
So Katie, when you hear this question, what does it bring to mind? How do you convince somebody to say like, yeah, we’re, you’re going to need to spend a lot more money up front, to get the results you want.
Katie Robbert 1:23
Unfortunately, there’s not like, Okay, do this thing.
And bam, you’re gonna get buckets of money for what you want.
It’s, it’s you’re playing the long game, there’s an educational component that goes into this.
And so if you are the person or looking for the money, and you need to, like convince your stakeholders that they need to invest in this, you need to give them concrete information as to why.
So you really need to help them understand the customer journey, you need them to understand sort of the the full picture in terms of okay, if we are at the awareness stage, this is what happens if we’re at the engagement stage, this is what happens if we’re at the conversion stage.
This is what happens.
And so to your point, Chris, everybody wants to invest in the conversion, which makes sense, everybody wants to win, they want the dollar, they want the customer, but not doing the other things not doing the awareness not doing the engagement means that you likely won’t get to the conversion stage.
And so your job as the marketer is to help educate the stakeholders, the decision makers on what that means.
And so, you know, you might have to do some of your own homework of like, well, what does the funnel look like, if I bring in this many people to the website, how many people stick around, and then how many people convert and so sort of outlining those bits and pieces so that you can do that demo, essentially, that business case that proof of concept, whatever you want to call it, to demonstrate, here’s what happens if we don’t invest? And so you might even be playing out the scenarios of, okay, maybe you can’t invest everything in it, maybe here’s what happens.
If you invest a lot, here’s a little and here’s none, so that they can just kind of understand what that means.
Christopher Penn 3:15
I think a lot about this, like supply chain, almost actually, you know, it’s a really good example is, like you you just baked a really, really nice sourdough loaf recently, right?
Katie Robbert 3:23
I did, I was very impressed by it.
It was I don’t know if I can replicate that.
But it came out amazing.
Christopher Penn 3:30
And so what this is essentially saying is that, you know, a stakeholder is saying, no, no, I just want to eat the really good bread, like I just want you to bake the loaf and eat and it’s ignoring the nine year old starter, right? It’s ignoring the buying the flowers, ignoring the process of, you know, kneading the dough and rising it and letting it rest and all these things.
So it’s like you’re trying to Skip the boring unsexy part of the recipe where you don’t see results, right? You can’t, you shouldn’t eat raw dough.
Or you can, you should don’t do to get to just this little part here at the end, which is when you when you pull the loaf out of the oven, you’re like, Aha, here is the final product.
And that mindset of I’m going to skip all this other stuff, you know, this lengthy, boring process that shows no results, just to get to the part is, I think that’s the short sightedness.
So how do you help somebody overcome that to help them realize no, you cannot just make loaves of bread appear out of magic, you actually do have to invest time and money and effort, all this stuff so that you can eventually pull that loaf of bourbon.
Katie Robbert 4:39
You know, it’s interesting, it makes me think, you know, we as humans are always looking for shortcuts and the quick wins and I’ve certainly looked for, you know, the two hour sourdough or the one hour you know, bread recipe and they exist, but the quality at least in my experience just isn’t as good as And what they also don’t tell you is the amount of time maybe even years that somebody put into experimenting to come up with that, you know, quick solution, you know, and so the recipe that I’ve been using, you know, is a solid 24 hour recipe, like I have to plan ahead, make the dough the day before, let it rise, you know, take it out, let it rise again, like, you know, you’re right, there’s a lot of steps that go into it.
And so, but that’s not the, that’s not the part that we show, we just show the end result, and wow, doesn’t that look easy? You know, and it’s not the first loaf of bread I’ve ever made.
And so this is, you know, well over, at least for myself a year of trying and failing, and tweaking and coming up with different techniques, and you know, temperatures and those kinds of things.
And so it’s the exact same thing, just sort of the exact same concept, when you’re talking about your marketing.
And so if we’re all just trying to go towards that, like, end result that output or if you’re seeing somebody say, we have the fast solution, we can get you all of those customers, just like that, in a snap, like, there’s some big omissions of information that are happening.
And so even if you’re going for that quick solution, you still have to do your due diligence and help your stakeholders understand, here’s all the stuff we’re not doing.
So when this inevitably doesn’t work, here’s what we have to go back to.
And so really, I am sort of taking the hard and fast position of it’s an educational process, and you need to help them understand every piece of your customer journey and every piece of your funnel, even if you’re not the person who has control over those pieces, so that you can help them understand how they all fit together.
Christopher Penn 6:54
But how do you deal with that? That stakeholder who’s like, no, no, just give me the results.
Just gonna, I don’t want to get bogged down in the details.
You know, I’m a big picture, Vision guy.
And you’re like,
Katie Robbert 7:08
lots of data from
Christopher Penn 7:11
we know people like that, who would like you know, there’s the big picture strategy, so whatever.
And then they’re like, you’re like, Well, no, you can’t ignore this process and or in the even more unpleasant situations, when you have external stakeholders who like say, a board of directors, or a CEO says, this is the number we gotta hit the number.
And they’re like, No, this is when you got to hit by I don’t care how you do it, you just got to do it.
And you know, it’s like saying, we’re having a dinner party in two hours, and you better have a loaf of bread on the table.
I don’t care how you do it.
But there’s got to be a hot loaf of bread on the table in two hours.
How do you deal with situations like that, where like, yeah, you know, what? You, there are situations where even even with a lot of budget, you can’t buy your way out of the corner you’ve painted yourself into.
Katie Robbert 8:02
So that’s when short cuts happen.
And that’s one quality suffers.
And so in that scenario, someone gives me two hours to get a hot loaf of bread on the table, guess what, I’m going to the store, I’m buying a loaf of bread off the shelf, and I’m sticking in the oven for like, you know, 10 minutes to warm it up isn’t going to be as good probably not, but too bad.
That’s what you asked for.
So this is what you get, in the short amount of time, it is no longer homemade.
You know, it is no longer you know, a 24 hour loaf of sourdough bread.
It’s something I got off the shelf, because you said you wanted it right now.
And so that’s what ends up happening.
And so again, sort of as the person being asked, even if your stakeholder isn’t hearing you if they’re not listening, going through the process of documenting and explaining, here’s what happens when we take shortcuts.
Here’s what happens when we don’t follow.
You know, the process, or here’s what happens when we ignore two major stages of our sales funnel.
You’ve at least documented it.
I hate to say it, but it’s almost for your own.
You know, coverage is almost for your own protection.
Because then when they come back and say what happened, you can say I gave you all of this information.
And this is still the decision that you the decision maker made even with all of this information.
Well, I’ve never seen this before.
And this is all new to me.
Well, it’s not because here’s the date that I sent it to you on.
Here’s the conversation we had.
So a lot of it honestly is just documenting and detailing how you as the person trying to convince somebody has tried to convince them, you know, for lack of a better term.
So like you’ve done the research, you’ve shown them the research, you’ve played out the scenario you said, here’s what happens when you choose this scenario.
Here’s what happens when you choose this one and just making sure there’s that paper trail so But when they come back and say this didn’t work, or this was a terrible decision, why do we do it this way? You have that like the standard to say, because it’s the decision you made.
And here’s why you made it.
Christopher Penn 10:11
10 you participate in the great resignation? Well,
Katie Robbert 10:15
yeah, I mean, I really I hate playing it out that way.
But unfortunately, that is how it plays out is you have to protect yourself to a certain extent.
And a lot of that comes through your thorough analysis and documentation of, here’s what happens if we do nothing.
Here’s what happens if we do something.
And here’s what happens if we make the decision you want to make.
Christopher Penn 10:38
Does that run though, contrary to what Janine is trying to accomplish? Where she’s saying? How do we get people to give us a bigger budget? If you push back the the truthful illustration, like, Yeah, Mr.
Cmo, you made a bunch of crap decisions in a row, and this is the result you got? You want to do better next year.
And that person is not say self aware enough to recognize that they are, in fact, the problem? How do you navigate that? Because you I guarantee you won’t get the budget you want from that person, they’ll actually probably just fire you know, cuz like, that’s your fault, clearly.
Katie Robbert 11:15
Yeah, you know, there’s definitely an art to it.
And so it’s, you know, I want to be very clear that I’m not talking about manipulating the data or manipulating the person, but there is definitely an art to working with somebody have that kind of personality.
And so, you know, think about it from, like, you already know what the decision is, you know, what it needs to be? So, understanding what kinds of things that person reacts to you the best.
And so is it data is it, you know, understanding the customer, like, whatever the thing is, and so like, well, if we do this, we’re gonna have really great Google My Business reviews, or we’re gonna have really great Yelp reviews.
And so making sure that you are highlighting the things that that person cares about the most, even if that’s not the immediate thing that you’re doing, are there other side effects of you getting this money that will help them feel more comfortable with the decision they’re making? You know, is it a scientifically sound, you know, methodology that is going to help them write an academic paper that will get peer reviewed, and show off how smart they are? That those kinds of things.
So really just understanding the person that needs to make the decision, and making sure you’re highlighting the things that they care about, but also understanding the things that keep them up at night.
And so helping to say, Well, if we get more money to do these things, then, you know, we will be able to increase our revenue, and therefore you we will be able to hit your goals that the CEO was put on you or those kinds of things.
And so, again, it’s not that you’re manipulating the data of the conversation, you are just choosing the things to call out based on the audience.
Christopher Penn 13:11
How much of a role do third parties play in that? Do you think? You know, we’ve talked again, I think, a couple of weeks ago on one of the live streams about how, in a lot of cases, a consulting firm like McKinsey or Accenture, or somebody will actually be brought in to tell the exact same story that the internal stakeholder has been trying to tell like, yeah, you need to invest $2 million in this digital transformation effort or whatever.
And it really is, no, it’s not new information in any way, shape, or form, except this coming from an outside party saying you need to invest, you know, and soul transformation.
And oh, by the way, our consulting fees, a million dollars.
Katie Robbert 13:50
You know, it, unfortunately, that definitely plays a part in it.
There’s something about the authority of an outside consulting firm.
And so, you know, it’s, you know, Chris, you and I have experienced this before, like, sometimes you’ll tell me something, and I will just, you know, ignore it, or I’ll tell you something, and you’ll just ignore it.
But that’s, well, no, I mean, we both do it, because it just sort of like it when someone from the outside comes in then and says the exact same thing.
You’re like, Oh, my God, that is the greatest idea that I’ve ever heard.
Why has nobody come up with this before? And then you and I, depending on zero, just kind of sitting there.
Like I literally said that exact same thing five minutes ago, what you need to do is take your ego out of it and say, it doesn’t matter where the information comes from, as long as it gets through.
Now, if it’s going to cost you an extra million dollars to do the thing that might be a bigger, you know, consideration.
But definitely, you know, again, sort of thinking through does the person I’m trying to convince, have enough respect in my experience in this particular situation, to Hear what I’m saying.
So it’s not respect for you as a person as a whole, it’s in this particular context with that experience? Or do you need to bring in someone who is seen as an expert in that arena, to maybe deliver the exact same information for it to be heard.
And that, again, it’s sort of that psychological piece of the puzzle where you just need to understand better the person that you’re talking to, and how they positively respond.
Christopher Penn 15:29
I wish people were more rational, or I could program them that way.
So from that perspective, then when someone’s trying to build for their entire funnel, and trying to get an allocated larger budget, how do you illustrate that to the stakeholder? Is it really like do but actually borrow the bread analogy? And say, like, yeah, here’s the the 80% of the process up front that you’re not going to get a result on that you want? Because you you’re focused on that last 5%.
But you need this first 80%? In order to make it happen is, are those analogies and frameworks effective? Or do you find the other frameworks even more effective to get somebody to go, oh, that’s why we need to invest a million bucks in this thing.
Katie Robbert 16:18
You know, it depends, I am sort of, of the mindset that there is no one perfect framework, it really depends on what you as the person putting it together is the most comfortable with.
Um, you know, and so, I think having an analogy to help sort of, okay, this is really what they’re trying to say, especially if it’s more of an abstract thing, or a brand new concept is helpful, but really having the data to demonstrate and backup, the points that you’re trying to make.
And so, you know, let’s say, you know, you use the bread analogy.
So then you want to make sure you can clearly tie it back to your own marketing in your own data, and sort of say, well, the preparation, and the proofing, you know, or the making of the dough is the awareness.
And the proofing is the engagement, and the baking is the output.
So what does that look like for your marketing.
And so if we decide to skip the dough making piece, nobody’s going to come to our website, so therefore, there’s nobody to engage with our stuff.
And therefore, there’s nobody to buy the thing.
And so making sure you’re tying it back to the actual data, and why it’s important at every step, and really just, you know, not trying to fancy it up and not trying to overcomplicate it, but really just saying, In plain terms, if we can’t drive awareness, which is how people come to our website and learn about us, nobody’s gonna buy anything, so we can’t skip that stage.
Christopher Penn 17:43
Think that’s really important.
That chain of evidence, you know, we call it like, I’ve actually called it marketing supply chain, where if the brand team is responsible for say, like the ingredients like flour, and you know, and water and stuff.
And then the the engagement team is the equivalent of you know, needing and proofing and stuff like that.
And then the sales team is responsible for the baking and the delivery.
From that perspective, in your supply chain, then yeah, if you skip or you under invest, like, here’s, here’s a nice pile of well, baked flour, it’s, it’s still a powder, it’s it looks nothing like a little red, because you didn’t invest in that middle stage, like you just either skipped over entirely, or you didn’t budget appropriately.
And I think that visual tells a story to somebody that maybe is easier for them to grok then understanding MQL and SQL is and you know, brand and all the stuff because a lot of the time in our work even you have a lot of these different metrics, and they’re not always necessarily intuitive to go, Okay, well, how does this relate to this? And you can do that too cool stuff like, you know, x g boost, and you know, gradient boosting and regression algorithms, but I know how about half the time, I’ll say those words, and you’re like,
Katie Robbert 18:59
well, and I think that’s exactly it.
I think that we try to it’s not that we’re trying to sound smarter than we are.
But if we I think there’s this idea that if we, you know, make it over complicated, then people just have to sign up for it.
Because, you know, they’re like, Well, I don’t fully understand it.
But I know it’s important, therefore, I need the thing.
I don’t subscribe to that at all I never have.
And so Chris, if you’re coming to me and saying we need to gradient boost and do this and do that.
I’m like, I don’t know what that is.
And until I do, you’re not getting any money.
We actually had this happened last week, where you were talking about, you know, emails going out in the Apache and this and that, and I think I responded like, you want to what now and you were like, it’s like traffic.
If I just change the cadence of the stoplights.
Then traffic will keep moving.
And I was like, oh, okay, now I understand what you’re saying.
Yeah, go ahead and spend time doing that thing.
And I think we need to not It’s not that you’re trying to dumb it down.
But you’re trying to make sure that you’re getting sort of the lowest common denominator and then working your way back up from there.
And so, you know, I, I totally agree, I don’t think you should be including terms like MQL, and SQL, and, you know, this, that the other just like, look, we need to get people coming to our website, because they need to know who the heck we are.
And once they’re on our website, we need them to stay there and interact with our stuff, because then they learn about us.
And once they learn about us, they’re like, Oh, my God, these guys are so cool.
These guys are so smart, I want to hire them.
And then just like really outlining it, obviously, it would be a little more professional than that I’m sort of doing it quickly for the sake of the podcast, but like, Don’t overcomplicate it, just explain exactly what it is and what the problem is.
Christopher Penn 20:44
I think you have a long blog post, right on the sourdough bread marketing operations framework, obviously, because there’s a lot of validity to that, and the you people are chasing after that result, and you there’s some stuff you just can’t shortcut, it’s like, it’s like, if you’re having a party, right, and you don’t have enough ice, you cannot, under normal circumstances, make ice faster, like you have to still put the trays in the freezer, and your only choice, you know, when 30 minutes before the party is to go to the store and buy 20 pounds of bagged ice for $12, which could have made it home for nearly free, if you would plan ahead and, and, and allocate the appropriate amount of time, but you didn’t.
So you got to go buy it somewhere else.
Katie Robbert 21:29
Well, in this, this goes back to that scenario planning.
Um, and so you can absolutely do something in an hour, you can have bread in an hour, you can have bread in five minutes, you know, you can have ice in five minutes, you have to be okay, you have to reset your expectations.
And you have to be okay with the associated costs that that comes with, and then you have to be okay with the quality of it as well.
And so if I want bread in five minutes, then I, I might be having it delivered, because I don’t have time to stop it I’m doing, you know, get to my car, go to the store, but I can have someone from, I don’t know, Uber Eats deliver me a loaf of bread, because I’m in my computer and I have an account already set up so I can have that you know, sent to me, you’ll just pay $32 for it.
But it’s gonna cost me a lot of money.
And the quality might not be good, and it might not be the exact thing that I wanted, because then it’s whatever they had in stock right that day, or for the cost of you know, two and a half cups of flour that I already have in my pantry, I can make a loaf of bread myself for less than $5.
And it’s going to be way better.
And I have control over the ingredients.
There’s no extra chemicals, there’s no you know, whatever in it, and it’s gonna taste really good.
And so that’s the thing is like, you can get the fast thing, but it’s gonna cost you and you have to be okay with what you’re getting.
So it’s really just making sure you’re resetting your expectations.
Christopher Penn 23:06
It goes back to the whole, you know, fast, cheap or good choose to.
And so if engineers question if, if you don’t want cheap, right, you have to take that off the table.
And then you have to choose between fast and good.
And presumably, you don’t want not good, right? So that really right? Pretty much by process of elimination rules out fast.
So if you want budget, you have to build out the process and demonstrate to people this is not going to be fast, right.
But it will be good.
And we’ll you know, it may or may not be inexpensive, but you know that quality is really what we’re after.
So I think it’s a good place to wrap up, I will say this, if you do happen to have an extra million dollars, you just want to burn on consulting, contact Trust Insights.
Katie Robbert 23:52
I’ll throw in some sourdough bread for you
Christopher Penn 23:54
exactly get three loaves of sourdough bread with every million dollars.
Katie Robbert 23:59
Well, as we’re wrapping up, what I’ll say to that is, you know, the first time out, as you’re going through this kind of process, that’s when it’s going to take the longest because you’re learning you’re pulling the data.
But the more you do it, the more you execute your, you know, campaigns against the different stages of your funnel.
Theoretically, it scales more because it becomes more repetitive.
So your sales cycle should start to shorten as you get better at engaging people as you get better at, you know, bringing awareness to your company, that longer sales cycle should start to you know, get smaller and smaller and smaller as you refine.
And so that’s the other piece that you need to be demonstrating is, look, this is where we’re starting.
And this is our goal.
Here’s how we plan to get there so that this doesn’t always take two years in our sales cycle that we get it down to, you know, one year or six months or whatever the goal is.
Christopher Penn 24:58
Once you’ve got Process optimize, then it’s only the necessary amount of times.
Like, if I use my bread machine now that I know all the measurements are it takes two and a half minutes to get the ingredient together and then the four hours for the machine to do its work.
And that’s unchangeable.
I mean, it could monkey out of it, but it won’t.
But instead of going 30 minutes, what do I need? Where do I need it? Now it’s down to two minutes of follow the process, but the ingredients in the right order and then machinery do the work.
So if you have questions about your budgeting and your planning, and you want to chat with other like minded folks about it, hop on over to our free slack go to trust insights.ai/analytics for marketers, where you have over 2000 other marketers are asking and answering each other’s questions every single business day.
And wherever it is you watch or listen to the show.
If there’s a challenge you prefer it on.
Most of them are probably going to be over at trust insights.ai/ti podcast.
Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll talk to you soon.
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