Marketing executives often fail to capture the hearts and minds of stakeholders, writes Lisa Nirell for Fast Company.
CMOs might be well versed in social media, content marketing and branding, but when it comes to conversations with fellow executives, it often seems as though they’re speaking another language.
“As you assess your current relationship with your C-Suite peers, how would honestly rate yourself? Do you feel like a fish out of water? Or are you rowing in the same direction?”
If you need to close any communication gaps and refine your persuasion abilities, the following strategies can help “increase agility, revenue contribution and confidence”:
1) Generate interest. If you capture the interest of your executive peers, they will be more likely to listen to what you have to say – helping you build relationships, trust and agreement. So focus on the big picture – make a business case that demonstrates how you will improve business rather than, say, just generate more followers on Twitter.
2) Ask why. Questioning will help fellow leaders understand your job and help you avoid unnecessary burdens for you and your team.
“The next time another department leader urgently requests adding a new initiative to your ever-growing priority list, ask them: why does it matter, how does it align with your top four corporate goals, and how will it ultimately improve your customers’ condition?
“If the proposed initiative is new and untested, ask them if they are willing to cosponsor and staff an innovation project.”
3) Lower expectations. It isn’t always possible to present a solid return-on-investment model for all your marketing initiatives, and metrics can even work against your cause.
“One of my friends, an accomplished business columnist, tracks the open rates from his popular posts. He recently told me it takes 2,000 people to click on a book order link to generate one book order.
“If you have 100,000 newsletter subscribers and a respectable 20% open rate, then 20,000 people may be reading your content. If 5% of the 20,000 actually click on your call to action, that further reduces impact.
This might dampen the promises you make regarding the ways a new initiative will drive pipeline growth.”
4) Show off your skills. When planning strategies and budgets with your C-Suite peers, demonstrate that you can:
separate strategy from tactics – the what from the how
maintain a global perspective
spot patterns and trends in disparate areas
visualise credible possibilities and likelihoods
be a source of advice and wisdom to others
5) Speak the same language. Be clear on the details and data and emphasise the positive impact of your proposals on the customer experience and business as a whole. And make sure your marketing communications don’t interfere with the message the organisation wants to transmit.