‘Marketing’s strategic importance continues to rise’
This was Marketing Week’s headline when it announced the results of its annual career and salary survey earlier this year.
Their findings that 2 in 3 marketers feel their work is having a greater impact and 3 in 5 feel confident instigating change was undoubtedly promising. 40.9% of those surveyed also said marketing had a greater strategic role within their business – a 10% increase on last year.
With the CIM’s recent CMO75 report also finding 3 in 5 Chief Marketing Officers expecting to have more budget available this year, it would definitely seem like the time is now for marketers to seek marketing resources and change.
Yet this sadly isn’t the case. Of the 3000+ marketers Marketing Week surveyed, only 2 in 5 said their company completely understood marketing and viewed it as an investment. More often than not, marketing is misunderstood and seen as a cost.
Imagine the rise in marketing’s strategic importance if more marketers felt confident making the case for marketing as an investment?
Enter SCQuARE®, a strategic thinking and presentation methodology to help structure arguments for resource or change.
When I first came across Ross Loveluck’s SCQuARE® business strategy framework, it struck me as a perfect presentation tool to secure budget and buy-in for marketing projects, presentation being a common stumbling block in moving these things forward. And you can use it whether you’re communicating with your team, senior directors, CEO, funders, or board of trustees.
Loveluck recommends starting by providing context, Setting: sharing something positive and then highlighting the Problem, before outlining the Consequence: what will happen if this problem continues. Next should come the pivotal Question – the dilemma you need to solve, then the Answer. Only then do you provide the Solution, the specific Recommendations on what needs to happen and the Evidence or root causes of the problem.
Essentially, as Loveluck says, SCQuARE® is about presenting the big picture before you give the pieces.
Often, these kinds of presentations are made the wrong way round. To use one of my cake analogies, we start with the cake the wrong way up.
In an effort to share our exciting details and discoveries, we start with the pieces and build up to the big picture.
For example, we might explain ‘We’ve been doing some analysis and found that retention rates are dropping.’ We might ‘recommend the company run some client interviews and cut back on conversion tactics.’ Starting to build momentum, we might then outline the dilemma: ‘to streamline conversion tactics and align more resources to client engagement.’
At this point our audience has probably switched off or are wondering where the presentation is going.
After all, while seeing a completed puzzle might give you a buzz, if you had to watch someone put it together piece by piece – even knowing that every single piece is necessary – you’d be bored out of your mind.
Imagine the difference if we flipped the approach and started with the Setting: ‘We are on track to hit our target number of clients’ – the positive. ‘However, client retention has slipped because of the time and effort being put into conversion.’ Consequence: ‘If we keep doing what we’re currently doing our client base will reduce by 40% in the next two years’. Question: ‘We need a solution to up our retention rates while maintaining our growth targets.’
At this point we will most definitely have our audience’s attention and, if we’re asked for more details, will have them ready to hand.
We’ve given them overall picture; the individual pieces can now follow.
SCQuARE®-ing your marketing presentation isn’t just a great way to prepare for and navigate those often-challenging cases for resource or change; it’s can also be useful for external presentations and even for structuring everyday emails.
If we want to see marketing’s strategic importance continue to rise, we need to be strategic in everything we do: not only in how we formulate and manage marketing projects, but, fundamentally, in how we present them.
There’s a reason SCQuARE® International has worked across 86 countries and justifiably describes itself as the secret skill of some of the world’s greatest companies. You can find out more about the methodology here: https://scquare.com/