Presenting and Justifying Your Marketing Budget to Upper Management

You’ve spent hours gathering your budget allocations and are ready to present your recommendations to your leadership team for approval. Follow these tips to build a powerful presentation

Provide an Executive Summary Up Front

Start off your presentation by giving executives exactly what they are looking for with an executive summary slide. This will help set expectations for the rest of the presentation and allow a fallback in case your time gets cut short. Executives appreciate having a summary slide to reference or pass along to other members later. On your executive summary slide, be sure to include relevant items such as:

  • Goals
  • Key Performance Indicators
  • Planned Budgets (versus Actual Budget)
  • ROI
  • Timing
  • Other Metrics (i.e. Cost Per Acquisition, Cost Per MQL, Direct Attribution from Marketing Efforts etc.)




Less is More

Build your slide deck with straight-forward content and summary slides to highlight key points and findings. Utilize white space in your slide designs to increase readability and provide a visual break for audiences sitting through back-to-back meetings. Provide tangible, concrete examples on how you plan to use your marketing budget rather than a generic plan.

There is no perfect number of slides to try to meet. It’s all about balancing your content and visuals. For example, content crammed into 8 slides could easily be converted into a 20 slide deck with simple slides and images. Let your presentation breathe and give high impact points their own moment in the spotlight.

Get Visual

Try not to drown your audience in text or finances. Instead, use tables, charts, graphs, and icons throughout your presentation to deliver your key points. Utilize bullets and colored text to break up your content. Here are some free resources to make presentations that pop:

  • Icons - Flaticon, Canva, Icons (in PowerPoint)
  • Create your own graphics - Canva, SmartArt (in PowerPoint)
  • Free stock photos - Pexels, Pixabay








Leave Detailed Information for the Appendix

Information such as budget breakouts or research to support your points belong in the appendix. Include the rationale behind your decisions (whether it was in support of or against) to provide a solid case. Leaving this detail in the appendix will help declutter your presentation without deserting any information you may need to reference.

The Best Industry Standard is Your Own (from the past)

Industry standards are great reference points, but the most accurate standards to measure against are your own. Include relevant historical performance to evaluate your future goals and track current progress. This will help set realistic goals that are attainable and relevant.




Provide Budget Options

If you are up against a tight budget, present two options to your management team to offer them flexibility. Include rationale behind each option and explain potential differences in results. Create a graphic for both options to help your team visualize where the differences in spending are.

Summarize and Provide Recommendations

End your presentation with a wrap up slide to summarize the key points of your proposed marketing budget, tying in your organization’s goals. Leave upper management with your top recommendations and important takeaways to help them understand the value of your marketing efforts.

Provide Timing and Next Steps

Include a timeline for follow-up questions, budget approval, and next steps to help move the decision process along. Let management know you are prepared and ready to get started as soon as they are ready to move forward.



Steel brings together data, technology, creative and influence to deliver spectacular growth for brands that are marketing to the American family. Working side-by-side with client marketing teams and in-house agencies, Steel extends your leverage by contributing strategy, creativity, bandwidth and best practices. For healthcare, education, government and CPG clients especially, Steel’s full service, integrated agency capabilities and knowledge of marketing automation makes ideas possible and execution practical. Call Steel with your marketing challenges, and if we are not the right fit, we will point you in the right direction.

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Learn to Pivot Faster!

Steel’s Five Slide Marketing Strategy teaches you how to react to unexpected changes in your market and prepare your company to execute a quick pivot in response to future contingencies. Stay competitive in a rapidly changing environment, develop an informed 3-6 month marketing strategy, rapidly collect data, focus thinking, and expedite your presentation, streamline executive level conversations for approval, and prepare in 2-3 days for a quick pivot.

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