It’s no secret that for many companies, the executives in the C suite literally control the finances for B2B marketers, which is why everyone is trying to get their attention. In general, though, people involved with advertising and marketing agencies, asset managers, investment banks, professional services firms, and a great many others just can’t get through to these executives.
This shouldn’t be so surprising, because C-suite executives are pretty much just like all the rest of us, in that they have a tendency to tune out all the marketing messages they hear.
Since they’re virtually bombarded on a daily basis by messaging at home, in the office, and a smartphone which blows up with messages, they become somewhat immune to all those attempts at contacting them. It can also be difficult to even gain any kind of audience with a C-suite executive, since many of them have a whole cadre of assistants whose sole purpose is to deflect all those marketing messages.
Many high level executives are also busy enough on a daily basis that they simply don’t have time to listen to unwanted phone calls, emails, and unscheduled visitors to their office. While this undoubtedly paints a fairly dire picture of your chances at getting through to a C-suite executive, all hope is not lost, and there are still some effective ways of catching the ear of a high level executive. If you can provide them with something they need, which is high-quality, credible, and relevant content, you still have a chance to catch an executive’s ear and make a big impression.
Executives Content of Value
The key element in reaching high-level executives is to provide them with content of value, information which they are unable to obtain from internal sources.
If you can provide a top level executive with fresh ideas external to their own companies, you’ll have a chance of gaining an audience. In fact, an entire book has been written about contacting C-suite executives called Selling to the C-Suite, and the book was co-authored by Nicholas A. C. Reed and Dr. Steven J. Bistritz.
In their book, the two co-authors discuss interviews they’ve had with literally hundreds of different executives from all over the country. Virtually none of them indicated that they would be receptive to recycled marketing messages or information which they already had access to.
The area of interest common to most C-suite executives seems to be content from individuals recognized as specialists or experts in their respective industries. This was particularly true in the areas of data and data analysis, which appeared to be a strong area of universal interest among top-level executives.
Content which is most useful
So which types of content have the kind of value and relevance which appeal to C-suite executives, and which they would be receptive to working with? Many top-level executives report that the kind of content they’re receiving is just not what they need, so they disregard it and it ends up in the circular file. In other cases, executives claim that content sent to them is simply not credible because the source itself is not credible.
This being the case, it will be necessary for any content strategy which hopes to be successful to accomplish some critical goals. The first goal is that it needs to gain some attention, and that means somehow reaching a C-suite executive with your content.
You may have to obtain information on when they are attending a seminar, when they will log into a webinar, or when they are participating on social media. However you do it, you have to somehow gain access to an executive, so that you at least have a chance to present your content and get it noticed.
Next, you have to somehow be sure that your content fills a need that the top-level executive has. You might be able to do some heavy-duty research and uncover what kinds of information sources they currently rely on, or what kind of knowledge gaps they are currently faced with. Lastly, any content you provide a top-level executive with must be credible, and that involves reviewing your content under a microscope.
The information included in your content should be something that no one else can provide an executive with, or it should be in an area where you or your company are considered thought leaders. If you have proprietary information which would be of relevance to a specific top-level executive, this would be one way of achieving instant credibility so that it could be noticed.
Establish a content niche
One of the best ways for you to consistently produce content of value that you want noticed by top-level executives, is to find a niche which you can dominate and become expert in. This won’t be as easy as it sounds, because it will generally involve finding an area occupied by no other company. It might also be an area which does have others in competition, but which you have a clear advantage over, by virtue of some specialty that you have.
Whatever competitive edge you have over your rivals, this is something that needs to be exploited in your content and presented to executives in a way that will appeal to them. For instance, if you can develop a body of proprietary information based on surveys you’ve conducted, that would be something no one else has, and it could be something of great importance to a C-suite executive.
If you can develop this into a full-blown marketing strategy, you might find that you’re invited to speak at seminars and conferences, or that you’re interviewed in trade publications because of your industry knowledge. Admittedly, this can take a while to develop, and you’ll need to acquire some extraordinary expertise, but if you can get there, you’ll probably also get a lot of attention from top-level executives. As one industry analyst famously said, “It isn’t all that hard reaching executives – but it’s definitely hard to get their attention.”