Marketing Optimization: 3 steps to gain C-suite buy-in

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A few months ago in my blog post, “How Dissatisfied CEOs Push Marketers into the Future,” I responded to an article reporting that one in five CEOs believe marketers:

  • Provide a return on investment
  • Have “solid influence” within their organizations
  • Are candidates for senior management

These marketers have the respect of the C-suite because they connect their efforts to what their leadership wants most:

  • More leads
  • More sales
  • Shortened time to revenue
  • Reduced marketing-to-sales expense

I enjoyed meeting hundreds of marketers like this at MarketingSherpa and MarketingExperiments Optimization Summit 2013, held in Boston last month. I’ve never seen a group more passionate about making a positive, measurable impact on their organization.

It felt good that we could help them through the inspiration of speakers who shared their real-world optimization success, as well as through our training and certification programs that gave them what they needed to know to:

  • Create an optimization project plan and testing strategy
  • Optimize Web assets for more conversions, leads and sales
  • Communicate clear, consistent value across all marketing channels
  • Test their way into durable, long-term success

But this year, regardless of the obvious benefits of optimization, an overwhelming number of marketers had a common question:

“How do I get buy-in from the C-suite to expand optimization?”

I believe when leadership can connect to what Marketing is doing to drive revenue, buy-in isn’t a problem. So, I offered these steps to help marketers achieve C-suite support:

Step #1: Know your leadership’s objectives

Step #2: Identify how testing can help achieve key objectives

Step #3: Choose tests that will:

  • Make the greatest impact within the next 90 days
  • Produce results that will give you clear insight on how to improve your marketing efforts. As Flint McGlaughlin, Managing Director, MECLABS, has said, “The goal isn’t to get a lift – it’s to get a learning.”

A small, successful test can be all the proof your leadership needs to expand your budget to include testing and optimization. One of my favorite examples of small optimization tests is changing the copy of a call-to-action button or where it appears on the page.

Think that’s too small? Think again.

This type of test resulted in a 90% increase in traffic for one marketer.

So, if you need a few more ideas on what to test, check out this video from Optimization Summit 2012 – 30 Ideas in 30 Minutes: Rapid-fire tips and techniques to help you solve your most challenging problems.

If the feedback we received from participants is any indication, Optimization Summit 2013 was our best ever. But optimization isn’t just a one-time event. It’s an ongoing process of discovery, and I promise marketers who embrace it will:

  • Drive the highest returns from their time and resources
  • Firmly establish themselves among the 20% of marketers that CEOs adore

Flint sums it up best:

“There’s no such thing as expert marketers, only experienced marketers and expert testers.”

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