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10 ways marketers can engage the C-Suite

April 12, 2013

By: Trish Harriss

With the shift from ‘push’ to ‘pull’ marketing putting prospects in the driving seat, one of the key challenges for B2B marketers is how to connect with senior level management and how to create communications that resonate with this audience.

Contrary to the idea of being insular entities that pay little heed to marketing, the C-Suite has become more accessible to marketers through industry specific online groups, peer community groups, LinkedIn and Twitter. What hasn’t changed, though, is their limited availability.

Here are 10 tips to creating effective communications to reach this time-poor, ROI-driven audience:

1. Focus on a call-to-action

Whether it is a print or digital marketing campaign you’re running, be sure to get your target audience to act. Encourage CxOs to move to the next step of engagement with a strong call-to-action, such as a sign-up or download.

2. Capture their imagination

C-Suite executives are bombarded with information every day. So how do you cut through? Be relevant. If the message is not going to resonate, if the communication is too vague in content, then it will not capture the imagination and risks being ignored.

3. Don’t dismiss email

Email marketing is not dead; it has simply evolved. In recent years, dynamic email marketing and automation has enabled marketers to target messages and content to specific groups of recipients, instead of sending out blanket, one-way communications.

4. Develop compelling content

Thought leadership has become a critical element of brand communications. Initiating contact with prospects through opinion articles, white papers and blog posts are highly effective ‘conversation starters’ and generate ongoing interest without heavy sales promotions.

5. Shift to video

According to the Forbes Insight Survey 2011, 80% of senior executives said they were watching more online video than ever before. Now is the time to take advantage with lower cost video communications that bring your brand face-to-face with the C-Suite.

6. Get social, keep talking

Social media (SM) is a simple, effective way of keeping in touch with individuals but you have to keep the conversation going. Marketers can find it a challenge to manage public perceptions via SM but they should be thinking more broadly; share interesting information, start a dialogue or add into the discussion to keep the conversation moving.

7. Make more of multichannel

The choice of communications channels is paramount to achieve standout in clever ways to reach top execs. The trick is knowing which ones will be most effective and how to link them together. Crucially, marketing should remain consistent and offer information that is of real value.

8. Focus on the benefits

CxOs probably know more about there own industry than you do. That is why you should stick to what you know best – an understanding of the issues that keep CxOs awake at night and the solutions your product or service offers them.

9. Keep it simple

Critical to the success of pull marketing is the ability to offer relevant information to CxOs without it sounding like a sales pitch. They might be time-poor but senior executives appreciate insights that help them run their organisation. So keep language clear, concise and memorable.

10. Stick to your guns

Probably most important of all, decide your marketing messages in advance and stay consistent throughout your campaign. There is no point in spending time and money on a great campaign and then going totally off-message halfway through, confusing everyone in the process.

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About the author: Trish is joint MD of DirectionGroup, and specifically oversees the B2B side of the business. She is a passionate and results driven marketing and communications professional with over 20 years experience gained on both client and agency sides. Follow her here on Twitter.

    1 Comment

  1. Richard Stephens says:

    Excellent little article- the top layer of owner/customers are strangely too often considered (on a marketing & comms level) simply far too difficult an audience to reach. So they are then forgotten and generally missed out. Far too many marketing message approaches are therefore designed to aim down at the sub-owner /CX decision-makers.
    Buying effectively is far more than solely a management responsibility or duty of one’s business role, it is also driven by personal appeal, passion, interest and a basic clear assessment of the risk or opportunity a purchase provides……a lot more than just awareness or good price.
    It is therefore great to see a few basic rules applied here to the complex, busy and most impatient of senior buyers – after all they are still just people; and like the rest of us, they react in much the same way if cleverly intrigued or suitably interested!

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