C-Suite are a notoriously tough sell. They’re busy, generally preoccupied,
and they’ve perfected the art of claiming no.
After all, you don’t make it to the highest by greenlighting every pitch or idea.
the power to form quick judgment calls and judiciously protect some time may be a c-suite requirement.
As a marketer, this will be intimidating.
First, you’ve got to form your way
through several levels of gatekeepers and earn an audience with a time-constrained chief officer,
then you’ve got to grab and hold their attention long enough to convince them your offering is worth their investment.
It’s a sophisticated and delicate process with much room for error
(which is why many marketers miss the mark.) But success isn’t impossible!
Should You Market to the C-Suite?
Before you schedule a team mind meld and start building a technique,
you would like to decide whether it’s well worth the investment.
I’ve participated in countless meetings and conversations with marketing professionals
who wholeheartedly believe marketing to the c-suite may be a worthless endeavor,
and there’s an honest chance you’ve heard an equivalent sentiment.
And, to be fair, they’re partially correct.
Marketing to the c-suite is often futile
if you’re deploying equivalent strategies and tactics you employ when you’re targeting directors,
mid-level managers, or individual contributors.
Also, in most cases, reaching a high-ranking exec requires an ABM approach.
So unless you’re willing to place
within the time and energy necessary to specifically target and have interaction with senior leaders,
then your energy could be better spent fostering closer relationships with the people that report back to them.
That said, if you prefer to market to the c-suite,
there are a couple of things you’ll get to do (and a couple of you’ll get to avoid).
3 Mistakes Marketers Make When Marketing to the C-Suite
While some organizations are wildly successful when marketing to the c-suite,
others often fail. What’s holding them back?
Here are the highest three reasons marketers fail to win-over chief officers:
You’re busy, I’m busy,
everyone we all know is busy — and we all hate when someone wastes our time.
Now imagine you’re not only busy together with your usual life demands,
but you’ve got investors breathing down your neck with lofty revenue goals.
You’re fully liable for the performance of your department or,
in the case of a CEO,
the whole company. you recognize that if something goes amiss,
it’s your head on the block.
Simultaneously, you’re bombarded with calls, emails, and ads from many vendors vying for some time and budget.
As you would possibly imagine,
anyone failing to empathize with a senior leader’s over-stacked calendar
(or, worse, ignoring their time constraints altogether) won’t get very far.
Knowing your audience is Marketing 101.
But, when it involves the c-suite,
you’ve got to require it a step further.
Generalized personas and assumptions about their challenges aren’t sufficient.
you furthermore may get to understand their specific pain points.
Remember, you simply have seconds to grab their attention!
If you waste it by asking a thoughtless question you ought to already know the solution to,
like who their biggest competitor is or their background within the industry, you’ll lose your shot.
While lower-level decision-makers could be curious about a laundry
list of features and benefits or the varied technical elements of your product or service,
c-level executives are only curious about the top result.
Focus your message on your value proposition,
and distill the language down to the maximum amount possible.
5 C-Suite Marketing Tips
So now you recognize it’s critical to respect a senior-level executive’s time,
do your homework, and make your value crystal clear.
Now let’s cover a couple of specific strategies and tactics you’ll use as a part of your effort:
Part of your homework should be to seek where your target chief officer is spending their time.
For example, are they a member of any professional associations or networks?
If so, search for opportunities to realize an edge in those spaces.
This might mean sponsoring an occasion or hosting a session at a leadership conference.
Do they need a presence on LinkedIn?
If so, take time to review their profile thoroughly.
It’s also useful to follow them and have interaction with their posts.
The role of a chief officer varies significantly between organizations, industries,
and company sizes. Some could also be incredibly hands-on player-coaches,
while others observe a higher-level role and entrust their VPs and directors with day-to-day decisions.
The better you understand their role (and the responsibilities they’ve assumed),
the higher you’ll target your message to their specific challenges and pain points.
Transparency is critical. Be honest and open about
why your offering is best than your competition’s — and steer beyond flowery marketing jargon.
if you’ve worked with several other companies in their industry, tell them.
If you latterly helped another client overcome an identical challenge, share that
In other words, show them why you’re capable.
C-suite executives are wading knee-deep in content, and therefore the last item
they have is another blog post crammed with regurgitated facts. Instead,
share something they haven’t seen and, preferably, something they can’t find anywhere else.
For example, an industry report using internal research and insights
may be a good way to grab their attention — especially if the info tells a compelling story.
I once worked for a tech company that made most of its revenue through media sales.
a part of my role was marketing to CMOs,
who are often highly immune to traditional marketing strategies.
Instead of showering them with tactical blog posts they didn’t have time to read,
we offered early VIP access to our highly anticipated annual report
(including a highly exclusive executive-only webinar hosted by material experts).
This made them feel special, equipped them with valuable insights
they might begin using immediately, and helped us earn their confidence and foster meaningful relationships.
No good c-level executive makes decisions in a vacuum.
Most of the time,
they’ll kick the choice backtrack to a VP, director, or mid-level manager.
That’s why you must convert the buying committee.
Equip them with all the knowledge they have to form a case for you,
show them why your product or service will make their lives easier, and support them however you’ll.
Often the simplest thanks to the c-suite are thru a team of internal champions.
Marketing to the c-suite isn’t easy,
and it takes much divergent thinking and a touch of trial and error.
What works for a few chief officers might not resonate with others.
But by following these marketing tips, you’ll be several steps before your competition.