Getting the board and the CEO to buy into your ideas is one of the biggest challenges that marketers face, so how do you convince the boardroom that your idea is worth backing?
Getting stakeholder support for your latest marketing idea remains one of the biggest challenges in marketing. So how do you make sure that you not only get, but keep the attention of those in the boardroom?
Be clear in your strategy and objectives.
We all know that CEOs and directors only have a limited amount of time to listen to your idea. Ensure that your strategy is explicit and transparent in what it aims to achieve, and deliver those benefits concisely. Remember that the people you are pitching your idea to have probably become acustomed to people coming to them with ideas and suggestions, so keep the attention of your stakeholders by getting to the point.
It's also clear that the board will be robustly KPI driven so ensure that your strategy links into the wider business KPIs. Don't go in there selling in technology for technology's sake, or creative for the sake of creative.
Minimise and manage the risk.
Any boardroom is going to be focused on the numbers and the return on investment. It's therefore important to identify why your idea is worth issuing from a strategic business perspective and why it shouldn't be deemed as a perceived risk.
Every idea, change and investment is going to carry a degree of risk - some more than others. What you want to do at this stage is demonstrate that you have assessed, managed and minimise that risk. The more you do this, the more confident that they will be in investing in what you have to offer.
Speak their language.
For many CEOs and directors, the language of marketing just doesn't wash. It's important to address any initial questions you may have before going to that meeting.
Depending on the business, going into the boardroom to speak about something like social media engagement, just isn't going to work.
Understand what the business is trying to achieve in the industry that it operates in and show that you understand their business. You do that by speaking the language that they are familiar with, not the language of marketing and digital jargon.
It might be worth doing some initial research into the people you're presenting to, that way you'll be able to understand what type of background they're from and bring the right people in the room to address any initial questions they may have.
Put yourself in the CEOs shoes
Put yourself in the CEOs shoes and ensure that your strategy provides a proactive solution driven approach. This should be done by identifying a key business problem and signifying how your idea aims to fix this.
The more tailored the solution the more likely the CEO will buy into your idea this will show you have genuinely taken the time to research into the business and the market and respect everyone's time involved.
Be prepared to listen and adapt.
The CEO will know their business inside-out and their industry back to front, so any feedback for them will be really useful for the future.
Most of all it's important that you listen to all feedback from the meeting, fight your corner when needed and be flexible in terms of your ideas and approach.