Once you get an idea of where your CEO stands with regards to marketing, the first and most important thing to do is set clear, defined and measurable objectives for your programs and campaigns. Those objectives should be set within a reasonable time frame for achievement. Identify exactly what you're trying to accomplish. This is where your CEO's challenges come in handy: they're the key driver guiding you to build a solid plan.
Once you've identified what your marketing objectives are, prioritize them and ensure they're aligned strategically with the overall goals of the organization. In order to ensure your executives clearly understand the true value of your programs and the contribution they make to the bottom line, communicate marketing's outcomes rather than its activities and tactics, and tie the outcomes to metrics the C-suite can relate to.
Here are some of the most common CEO challenges in these turbulent times, aligned with the marketing objectives that can help cater to these challenges:
- Sustained and steady top-line growth: Customer acquisition, cross-sells, awareness, lead generation
- Profit growth: Increase customer lifetime value, increase share of wallet, product mix
- Customer loyalty/retention: Upsell, churn reduction, advocacy, increase share of wallet
- Corporate reputation: Reputation management, branding, thought leadership
- Enhance shareholder value: Stakeholder/shareholder communications.
At this stage, it's important to steer clear of all ''marketing talk'' that works on a daily basis in a marketing department but that C-suite execs may not be aware of. To a CFO, ROMI (return on marketing investment) doesn't mean much.
On the same note, don't lose your C-suite by going into great detail on campaign metrics such as open and clickthrough rates, readership, cost per lead, impressions, cost per thousand, etc. It's best to stick to their language in order to win them over.
Here are some examples that showcase how to tie metrics back to marketing objectives, which will then allow marketers to speak to the C-suite about their challenges and what's being done from a marketing point of view to address them. Tying your marketing objectives directly to your CEO's challenges will help build credibility for your department as well as increase buy-in from your stakeholders for your programs.