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Finding your c-suite spot: Myths of marketing to CXOs

Claire Mason, MD of Man Bites Dog, reveals how marketers can reach c-suite buyers

In the world of business, the c-suite holds the keys to the kingdom. So, for B2B marketers, the holy grail of communications is making a meaningful connection with this select audience.

But, despite the imperative to get executive engagement right, a strange mythology persists around connecting to the people with a ‘C’ in their job title.

Don’t talk business
IABC’s ‘worst speech video’ (a speech composed entirely of business buzzwords) has been doing the rounds again recently, despite being recorded back in 2012. The reason it’s still so popular is because it remains shamefully relevant. So – ditch the business speak and focus on clarity. The c-suite favours straight talkers.

Get richer quick
The myth that members of the c-suite are resolutely anti-social and don’t consume video or non-text content is strangely enduring. While data on the level of CEO social media participation hovers around either side of the 50 per cent mark, the only way is up. CEOs are increasingly self-authoring and CEOs who personally participate in social media are perceived as better leaders by their employees and more transparent by their customers.

Of course, not all of the c-suite will be found tweeting – CMOs are more inclined to use social media than CPOs or CFOs for example. But fundamentally, we need to remember that the time-poor c-suite is drawn to quality content in all its forms. And with a chairman friend of mine being the proud owner of five iPads, one for each board pack, the days of printing out emails for the boss are gone.

Just because half of CEOs come from a financial background, don’t be fooled into thinking they’re bean counters. While many boards have efficiency under control, innovation and topline growth are the challenge – they want to hear your vision. What’s the big idea?

While CXOs use a variety of leadership styles, most commonly they focus on inspiring their audience. Inspired leaders respond best to inspiring communicators.