Most every marketer in a bank or credit union has struggled to get buy-in for a marketing campaign, promotion, the marketing budget, and other facets of the marketing discipline. There's an old adage, "everyone's a marketer," but that doesn't seem help much when support is needed to move marketing forward. Why not?
Let's jump into why buy-in can be so hard to attain and then explore the four elements that make up the secret sauce to getting everyone to rally behind your marketing efforts!
Why is Buy-In for Marketing so Hard to Achieve?
There are a few reasons why obtaining marketing buy-in is so hard to achieve.
One is that your peers are busy, distracted, and bothered with their own tasks, workloads, personnel, and resource challenges. It's easy to give a knee-jerk reaction to your idea, often usually turning it down, if it means more work for them. However, they likely won't exert much more effort than that if you don't give them good reason to.
People also find comfort in numbers, specifically in banking. For this reason, data-backed decision-making is easier to agree with and advocate for. But marketing teams don't always have hard numbers to support a new idea or campaign, and if the idea or initiative fails, then the data must have been wrong and the data is to blame. Many times marketers fail to offer the right data to gain buy-in for their ideas, wants, and needs.
But the number one reason why marketers often struggle is they tend to ask for consensus rather than consent. Huge mistake!
The Secret to Getting Buy-In for Marketing
Here's the biggest part of the equation when it comes to getting buy-in for your marketing initiatives. Involve others. If you involve others in the planning phase you'll be amazed how the support for your efforts changes!
HOW TO INVOLVE OTHERS IN PLANNING
Exactly like giving a good speech, you need to follow a process that's often used in, believe it or not, screenplays to get buy-in for your marketing! Here are the four elements:
Intent: First, ensure that your intent is clear. It sounds simple, but so often intent isn't made clear and then assumptions get in the way of progress.
Consider a movie. Within the first few minutes you know that the hero of the story wants to get the girl or stop the bomb from exploding. You quickly understand the goal, or the intent, behind the actions that are about to take place.
Clearly defining your intent with the person you're working with is so important. If you're working with the VP of Consumer Lending, be sure that he/she knows your intent is to help him/her achieve the loan growth numbers they've been tasked with reaching. Then they will be much more likely to give you the buy-in you need.
Obstacle(s): Using the movie example again, the hero of the story gains support for his or her mission when it's clear what the obstacle is that's preventing them from reaching their goal.
The hero wants the girl but the 'ex' is keeping themselves in the picture. Or, the hero needs to disarm the bomb but the bad guys continuously slow them down with additional hindrances. Once the obstacle is defined it's easier to support the mission of the hero and cheer for them to succeed.
Work together with your leadership team to clearly identify the obstacle(s) that's preventing you from reaching your loan growth numbers. This puts you on the same team solving for the same problem.
Now, you are all sitting on one side of the table with the obstacle on the other, rather than each of you tackling the issue from opposing sides. You have each other's support for overcoming the obstacle and reaching the intended goal.
Plan: Plan together. Create a step-by-step plan for how you're going to obtain leads and pass them to the lending ore member service team. Plan how the results will be tracked and how feedback from the lending team will reach the marketing team so changes can be made to increase the quality and volume of leads.
Attach numbers to your plan. How much will it cost to reach the intended audience in the channels you'll be using? What are the expected results? Number of leads? Number of loans? Even if they're educated guesses, attach some form of measurement to the plan.
Imagine if the hero of the story had no plan. Imagine if he or she simply said "I'm just going to go get the girl" or "I'm just going to disarm the bomb." There's no storyline to rally around or process to be part of as the viewer.
You want to create your own marketing storyline that illustrates how you're going to get from your intent to overcoming the obstacles and achieving success. This storyline, or plan, that you've created together is what will get that VP of Consumer Lending excited about reaching the goal with you and excite others who are watching it happen.
The Ask: Now that you have identified the intent for your proposed approach, the obstacles in your way, the plan to tackle those obstacles, and the projected results, it's time to make the ask. This is where many marketers (and others) make a crucial mistake.
When you make the ask, ask for consent, not consensus.
Many meeting hours have been wasted waiting for an entire group of people to conclude they have the same opinion and group consensus in order to move and idea forward. It's like keeping everyone in a room until they all agree pineapple on pizza tastes good!
Waiting for everyone to have the same opinion is a ludicrous way to do business! You don't need consensus, but you need consent.
Unless someone has a justified business reason for you to not move forward with your plan, they should give you their consent to move forward. They don't need to like it, feel warm fuzzies for it, or even fully understand the intricate details of your approach. They simply need to consent to marketing and lending working together to achieve a corporate goal through a plan in which they found no legitimate reason to stop from happening.
After proposing your plan you can say to the group,
"Now that you've seen the plan, we're open to fielding any questions you may have and then we're going to ask for your consent to move forward. We are not looking for everyone to share the same opinions and obtain full group consensus on the details of the plan, we just ask that you consent to our next steps if you haven't found a business reason why we shouldn't move forward."
Or something along those lines... but you get the drift.
Be sure to share progress updates with the team regularly.
Keeping stake-holders updated by explaining how you have overcome some obstacles, any new obstacles you've found but worked through, and which members of the marketing and lending teams are making the plan succeed, keeps them engaged in the original storyline you created and motivates them to continue to advocate for your success.
Think of your marketing initiative like a movie plot. It needs elements like intent, obstacle, plan, and projected results so people can easily understand it, following along, and hope for it's success. Include others in planning and present your plan asking only for consent to move forward.
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