During GroPro2020 last week I heard a great presentation from Susanne Mandel (Lowndes) and Kelly Nelson (Deloitte) explaining how marketers can win a seat at the executive table. Below is a summary of their advice with a few of my own personal observations and experiences...
Tip 1. Speak their language
Think about the language of your peers and business you work in speak. Susanne explained at her firm that management operates around 'RULER' (rates, utilisation, leverage, expenses, realisation) so it is a must that her language fits this dialogue.
Kelly explained that a good idea is to find another problem to solve with a leader or group of leaders, this does not to be a marketing problem, to help build relationships. In addition, do ask other leaders to also help with marketing problems.
Tip 2. Know the market
Remember, you know the market better than anyone else. Who are the competitors? Take advantage of the tools available (software) and your practitioner's knowledge too.
Tip 3. Use your knowledge
Kelly explained the huge temptation to carry out “random acts of marketing” when someone within the business calls and says "I have a huge market opportunity and I want to do an event with a client" make sure you go through a process. In turn, give your team psychological safety to use these frameworks too.
You must use data, really critical to earning that seat at the table, this also fits nicely with speaking their language.
Tip. 4 Tell a story
So you have been speaking the language, understand the market, using that knowledge to make strategic decisions and now you need to tell the world!
That has to be more than a PowerPoint you send every month. It needs to be more about what is woven into the fabric of the business. Think about how your financial peers tell a story all the time and replicate it.
Kelly explained that these stories need to be business relevant and ask the leaders to share these with their teams. For example, 1500 downloads of a whitepaper are no longer good enough, these are just 'vanity metrics'. The business needs to know how did this compare and who was downloading it! Was it the right people you want to win business from?
Tip 5. Show up!
Susanne closed by saying that some CMOs relegate themselves to the sidelines. You are the experts, following the data they are not looking at, following the market, and tell that story to the business.
One tip Susanne explained was to share an internal marketing blog with the business to demonstrate the critical business value you are providing.