A TSL Production


How to Get Your Marketing Budget Approved

Sell Them on Brand Value



Sometimes getting ready to argue for a substantial increase in your marketing budget can feel like preparing for a battle that you know you’re going to lose.

It shouldn’t be this way.

You and your entire team want the same thing: to drive business value for the organization. Arm yourself for your budget meeting by taking these steps:

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See Things From the Leadership Team’s Perspective (Especially Finance)

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Show the Plan: Build Your Marketing Framework

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Show Them the Numbers: Build Out Your Business Plan

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Sell Them on Brand Value: What Price Will You Put on Being Recognized, Known, and Trusted?

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Know What Your Salespeople Want and Give It to Them

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Prepare Everyone for Failure: Be Agile Enough to Optimize

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Be Passionate and Persuasive

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See Things From the Leadership Team’s Perspective (Especially Finance)

Why are business leaders reluctant to adequately fund marketing efforts? They’ve invested a lot in marketing and have never really been able to see a direct return. It’s likely they’ve also been burned by bad marketing in the past.

But you’re going to do things differently. Build them a plan that shows how marketing will be a driver of business growth. Your leaders speak the language of profit and loss. You’ll get their attention by being tuned-in to the finances and business goals of the company.

By having a solid plan, understanding the numbers, holding marketing accountable, and being aligned with sales, you’ll be much more likely to get — and keep — the attention of your leadership team when you’re presenting your case.

Make Marketing Accountable: Have a Tracking and Attribution Methodology

Many organizations lack diligent tracking and attribution methods. Business growth success is attributed to the “last touch”: the salesperson. Without a way to track sales activity back to marketing, marketing is seen as a money pit.

Make sure that your team knows that your marketing plan includes being accountable to the bottom line of the business. Reassure them about your ability to track leads and wins from sales back to the marketing source. This will not only help them have more faith in your plan, but it will also help you decide where to spend more time and effort in the future.

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Show the Plan: Build Your Marketing Framework

Your goal as a marketer should be to build a marketing plan that aligns with your business goals. Stop committing random acts of marketing.

Instead, you should establish:

  • Business Objectives
  • Top Marketing Goals
  • LPIs and KPIs
  • Persona Targets
  • Account Targets

By utilizing Avinash Kaushik’s See-Think-Do content marketing framework, you can segment your audiences by which stage of the buyer’s journey they are in.1

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Largest Qualified Audience

These are all the people who use a product and have money to purchase it.

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Evaluating Choices

This is when people begin to consider that they need the product.

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Looking to Buy Now

This is when they are ready to make their final product decision.

You will need to have content, marketing channels, and metrics for all 3 audiences. Remember that measurement models and goals should be different for each stage. As Kaushik says, you don’t want to “judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree.”2

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Show Them the Numbers: Build Out Your Business Plan

Making the Business Case

Let’s face it, your leadership team is confused about a lot of aspects of marketing. They may not understand search marketing or digital advertising. They’ve also seen a lot of random acts of marketing that they haven’t been able to tie to business results.

To get to the kind of marketing that drives business results, you need to understand the business goals and show how your plan aligns with them. Show leadership that you have a grasp of this by presenting your marketing plan's goals and targets. If you don’t have historic data to base your numbers on, come up with relatively conservative set-up numbers that you feel your efforts can attain.

When building your plan, you'll need to gather some numbers:

  • Current cost of acquiring a lead
  • Number of leads required to win new business and close rates
  • Current cost of acquiring new business
  • Sales goals for the month/quarter/year
  • Business growth goals over time
  • Average Deal Size (potentially a per business unit/category number)
  • Customer retention/customer growth rates

If you want to get business leaders on your side, metrics are the key to determining your return on marketing investments.

Tracking ROI and measuring marketing performance will help you demonstrate the value of marketing. Customer lifetime value should be leaned on heavily. This may help you get more marketing funding in the future. You may fall short of ideal ROI if your work is judged on the value of the first sale only.

When developing metrics, you can calculate your customer’s lifetime value (CLV) and assess its significance using the formula:

CLV Equation


There are a lot of different (and more complex) formulas for CLV. Find one that aligns with your business model.

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Sell Them on Brand Value: What Price Will You Put on Being Recognized, Known, and Trusted?

People want to know about who you are, what challenges you can help them solve, and how you've solved those challenges for people like themselves.

Brand Drives Demand

People don’t buy from brands they’ve never heard of. Your team knows this because they make purchases based on the same criteria. That’s why investing in getting your name out there is vital for any marketing campaign.

You need to make sure that your organization is working to become recognized, known, and trusted by your audience of potential buyers. Buyers not only look to purchase from brands they’re familiar with, but they also seek out companies that are customer-centric and popular with consumers.

What is your plan to make your brand likable?

Think of the money that your organization spends on shirts, pens, letterhead, keychains, etc. Money that is spent on branded swag could be better invested in building your digital brand.

Kaushik emphasizes the importance of measuring the outcomes of digital brand marketing campaigns, reminding us that engagement is not a metric.3




“The art of marketing is the art of brand building. If you are not a brand, you are a commodity. Then price is everything and the low-cost producer is the only winner.”

-Philip Kotler


Investing in case studies and testimonials will help tell the story of what your company does and who you are, humanizing your brand.

TSL Chapter Icons WHITE-05-minKnow What Your Salespeople Want and Give It to Them


Sales and marketing are not enemies. Both teams need to work together to meet the common goal of making more money for the business. HubSpot defines the alignment between sales and marketing as “smarketing.”

Get members of the sales team on your side by sharing their mindset. Ask yourself, What are their sales goals? Who are their top accounts? The marketing pipeline should be tied to sales goals.

Account-Based Marketing

Your team probably has a list of key accounts that they want to prospect into. Marketing and sales are often misaligned when it comes to the accounts that marketing is bringing in and those that sales wants to go after. Work to understand your sales team's target market and their top accounts. Bring them an account-based marketing plan. That will get them excited about your work.

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Prepare Everyone for Failure: Be Agile Enough to Optimize

If you're not testing, you're not optimizing. If you're not optimizing, you're staying in the same place.

Make sure that your team understands that modern marketing involves continual experimentation. We're no longer in a world where building a website or landing page is a set-it-and-forget-it project. These tactics need to be continually tweaked, experimented with, and optimized for the best possible outcomes.

Optimization shouldn’t have an end date: a performance marketing team should always be looking to optimize, even when they feel they've achieved good business outcomes.

Overcoming the Fear of Testing

Performance marketers fail all the time. The thing that sets good marketers apart is that they fail forward.

They learn from their mistakes and put marketing systems in place that are agile enough that they can optimize quickly. Experimentation and failure are the keys to growth. 


When experimenting, the trick is to scale the test to the size of your business. For example, a multimillion-dollar company can afford a multi-thousand-dollar test, as long as it helps them learn and grow.

“If the size of your failures isn’t growing, you’re not going to be inventing at a size that can actually move the needle.”

-Jeff Bezos 4

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Be Passionate and Persuasive

Be confident going into budget negotiations. Enter the meeting with your head held high, knowing that you have done your homework. You are armed with the numbers needed to show that marketing is a huge asset for your company.

If you are passionate about the value that marketing brings to your business, your business leaders will be too, and you can go into battle as allies instead of adversaries.

Start preparing for your next budget meeting. Schedule a complimentary Marketing Plan, Mix & ROI Analysis with the experts at TSL.


Schedule Your Plan-Mix-ROI Analysis