Writing a concise yet thorough business case is of paramount importance when you need to get internal buy-in and sign off from your senior managers. This is especially true for a relatively new and often misunderstood strategy such as influencer marketing.
Within B2B Senior Management, influencer marketing is often confused with how B2C brands leverage influencers as a stream of advertising. The influencer marketing that we are going to be talking about today is a long-term strategy with organic, authentic relationships & partnerships at its core.
When it comes to getting sign off and writing a business case, you need to speak the language of the boardroom. You must understand the problems and/or the objectives that your organization is working towards and understand how influencer marketing fits into the picture. You need to position influencer marketing as a no-brainer when it comes to achieving company objectives and create a sense of urgency to do it now; not only focusing on what you seek to gain in doing it, but also what you’re at risk of losing if you don’t.
The key with writing an effective business case is to always refer back to what your business cares about and to let the stats do the talking.
Below we’ll take you through the main points you need to cover off when you’re in a sign off meeting with your boss, or if you’re drafting a written business case. The below business case will help you sell the concept and prove value in the first 3 months, as well as create the long-term program vision.
Step 1: Problem
The first step to positioning influencer marketing as an important solution, is identifying the problem. We are much more open to change and trying something new when we feel like there is a real need to do it. Here you must identify the key problem you are facing as a marketing team and a business.
Top Tip: make sure that you’re linking the problem back to the key marketing objectives! Avoid mentioning anything around vanity metrics such as social media engagement, as this will not resonate with senior management. Engagement on social media is a means to an end – so identify what the end goal is. This is likely to be around brand perception change, demand & lead generation and revenue.
An example of this could be : “We are producing lots of content, but it is not delivering in terms of lead generation.”
Step 2: Impact
Next step is to quantify the impact of this problem. So here you must clarify the extent of the problem; what solutions have you tried and have they worked? How much time and money is this issue costing you and what are you missing out on? This will naturally create a sense of urgency to take this seriously and make a change now.
Top Tip: Reference numerical evidence as much as you can here to paint a scene that is very black and white. Anything that is costing the business too much in terms of both time and money, or sacrificing revenue gains will cut through.
An example of this could be: “We have had to increase our paid media spend from ______ to ______, in order to hit ______site traffic goals and clicks to website, but this has not resulted in increased lead generation.”
Step 3: Solution
Here is where we stop talking about problems and start talking about solutions. You guessed it, this is where influencer marketing gets its first mention. Here you must talk about how influencer marketing is going to help solve the problem that you are facing and drive your key marketing and business objectives.
Top Tip: again, it is important reference stats as much as you can here. Provide evidence that influencer marketing really is a viable solution to solve your issues. Just be careful to not use stats that aren’t entirely relevant, as there are lots of influencer marketing stats out there that are more applicable to influencer advertising.
An example of this could be: “Influencer Marketing is a proven strategy to reach and influence our target audience in a more cost-effective way, with 82% of consumers being likely to follow an Influencer recommendation. Through engaging with industry Influencers we will create more credible and inspiring content that will drive 2 x the amount of views and quality downloads and enable us to reduce our reliance on paid media and search.”
Step 4: Competitors
That’s right, FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) translates into the business world too. Who out of your competitors are doing Influencer Marketing? Which Influencers are they engaging with? Again, this further concretes that sense of urgency.
Top Tip: don’t just list out which competitors are doing influencer marketing, but also provide examples of how they’re collaborating with influencers and if you can, touch on how successful they seem to be.
An example of this could be: “Many/all of our competitors are engaging Influencers such as ____ , ____ and ____ who are now creating content for them. This content is driving much more organic engagement and credibility with our target audience.”
Step 5: Success KPIs
Here’s where you truly start speaking the language of the boardroom. So far in this business case, we have shown that we truly understand what the business cares about, but here’s the chance to prove it, by providing insight into what success looks like and how you are gong to demonstrate return to you boss.
Top tip: keep this as simple as possible by focusing just on the end goal; do not dilute this part with vanity metrics. It is important to focus on what results you can see quite quickly to prove the value of influencer marketing and secure buy-in as early as possible.
An example of this could be: “With our upcoming research report and podcast we are targeting ________ views and downloads within _______ weeks to prove the concept of working with a handful of Influencers.”
Step 6: Long-term program vision
What is your vision beyond proving the value of Influencer Marketing? What do you expect to achieve in the long-term if you get the investment that you need?
Top tip: make sure that this isn’t so far into the future that it seems too visionary or intangible. It should seem far reaching enough that it excites senior management, but they should have faith that this is achievable.
Example: “I would like us to develop relationships with the leading industry Influencers and develop 10 brand advocates by the end of the year.”
If you want to get started writing your business case for influencer marketing, then fill in the form below to download a template that you can print and fill in.