Brand Guide to Getting More Money for Digital

If you’re a digital marketer, one of your biggest challenges is convincing your bosses, steeped in the powers of traditional advertising, to devote more money to what in their eyes is untested methods.

After all, budgets are zero-sum games. More money to digital means less money for traditional marketing.  One key, veterans of these battles said, is putting yourself in the manager’s shoes, crafting a pitch that takes into account the manager’s reticence (a bonus is in the offing) and the overall goals of the organization.

Digiday spoke to brand and agency executives to get a sense of what brand managers need to include in their pitches to bosses to ensure they get their increase in digital budget.

It’s all about the Benjamins
According to John Leeman, CMO of Fresh Direct, to get an increase in digital budget, money needs to be taken out from more traditional channels that have already proved their worth. That’s why brand marketers need to make the case for digital, over something like TV, for example.

The key, he said, is explaining how the increase in digital spend will increase incremental sales and profits better than the marketing channel they’re trying to get the money from and be able to prove it.

“The proof needs to show up in the company’s earnings report too, not just in some Web analytics report,” Leeman said.

Extrasensory perception
Put yourself into your boss’ shoes, recommended Sam Niburg, senior associate brand manager at Campbell Soup, at the Digiday Brand Summit. There’s a lot of prep that needs to take place before this meeting with the manager. The brand marketer needs to be able to anticipate what the boss’s questions will be and needs to be ready to answer them. Do your homework.

“It’s all about anticipating what the manager’s agenda is and what their goals are. In most cases, that’s growth,” said Niburg. “If you can prove to them that you can deliver that growth, in a way you have not before, you will get them on board.”

Make the boss’s job easy
Nothing will better make your case than numbers that prove what you’re saying is valid. Case studies are a good idea too. Think of it this way: Your boss, after this meeting with you, then needs to bring her business case to her bosses. Provide her with everything she needs at your meeting: numbers, case studies, whatever you need to back up your claims.

“If you can preempt that, that would help,” Niburg said. “Do all the groundwork upfront.”

Media equivalence value: Speak their language
When you are pitching digital to people who are more proficient in traditional marketing, getting them comfortable with measuring the results in a language they are familiar with is key. There are ways to measure social and digital as if it was offline, according to Sebastian Gard, svp and director of social media at Arnold Worldwide.

“You’ve got to explain how buying this media can be comparable to buying this TV commercial, for example,” Gard said. “Buying this media will cost you this much, or running this Facebook page or online community will generate these types of page views, for example. This helps normalize the value of of whatever you’re pitching.”

The gift of gab
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. “Don’t pitch the technology alone, pitch the business benefit,” suggests Jonathan Stephen, head of mobile and emerging technologies at JetBlue.

In the end, it comes down to how this shift in budget will benefit your organization. Keep your brand and company goals in mind and match your initiatives to key business and organizational needs, even if your boss just wants to hit her numbers to get her bonus so she can buy a third car.

“Innovation is great, but not worth the money if you cannot tie it to a strategic goal,” Stephen said.

Christoffer Hansen Vika /

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