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Creating content the C-Suite truly values

Author's avatar By Expert commentator 26 Jan, 2015
Essential Essential topic

Rethink your content strategy for engaging Senior Decision-makers

There are many frameworks and strategies that we can use to create content that educates, engages and spreads our message. For example, the Smart Insights Content Marketing Matrix helps review which content is effective in different parts of the marketing funnel. When it comes to tailoring content for our buyer personas it’s an obvious process; build content that solves a problem.

There’s another side to this though. If you’re trying to engage the C-Suite, or any senior decision maker for that matter, then the typical method of content marketing may not work. This is because they operate on a different level than your typical prospect.

There are a few reasons that you may want to target the C-Suite:

  • 1. Enterprise sales; or any type of sales opportunities worth 6 to 7 figures.
  • 2. Business development opportunities; connecting and partnering with complimentary organisations that would really move the needle.
  • 3. Thought leadership; spread your content and authority to senior decision makers who can spread it through their network.

Whatever your goals are, the framework and methodology is the same, and you can build your content around this methodology in order to achieve these goals. This same methodology has connected companies with senior decision makers and generated 7 figure sales pipeline, often in as little as 8 weeks.

Even if you class yourself as a small business, this still applies to you. Despite your offering, there are still solutions you can offer to large organisations. Problems are always waiting to be solved.

Content engagement methodology

The methodology consists of two key components. We’ll cover these two components and then share an example of how one company has used them and the results they yielded.

  • Trust

Before we talk about the nuts and bolts of content that resonates with the C-Suite, you need to know how these senior decision makers operate. Typically, the C-Suite spends only 2% of their time each week with vendors, which is less than an hour.

There’s a lot of noise to cut through, so how do we get their attention? First, understand that these CxOs aren’t interested in pleasantries or what you and your company is about. They want to know what you can bring to them and their organisations.

When it comes to sales & marketing, most people start with what they do, moving into the benefits, making a business case and THEN they attempt to build trust. Marketing to the C-Suite works the other way around.

c-suite-marketing-matrix

You need to spend the time to build the trust first. If you come in with an obvious seller stance their guard will be up and your message will be left unheard. You need to take your brand out of the spotlight and come from an independent stance.

Independence comes in two forms:

  • 1. Third party endorsements; from your clients, partners and other advocates.
  • 2. An independent brand; we do this in the form of an independent club that focuses on a specific challenge. There are other ways to do this, and we’ll cover these soon.

Endorsements typically come in the form of testimonials and case studies, but there’s a much more effective method to this as you’ll soon see.

It often gets lonely at the top, and because of this the C-Suite rarely find themselves challenged on the things that matter most, that being at a strategic level.

What they truly value is, being tested and because they’re surrounded by those who report to them on a day-to-day basis, their views are rarely challenged. It’s because of this that a face-to-face element in your C-Suite content delivery is important.

  • Value

Real credibility is established by being truly valuable to the C-Suite. They operate at a very strategic level, and are typically uninterested in your product or service.

Instead, they want insight, statistics and cold hard facts. There needs to be a logical argument to change, and this happens further up the buyer cycle.

You can use how-to guides in order to do this, but it’s much more effectively used as a complement to the independent entity we’ll be showing you how to create. Value in the C-Suite marketing world is much more than digital content.

It also means being different, and bringing something new to the table. Can you challenge the way they’re currently doing things? Can you bring a new point of view into their world?

We do this by taking challenging topics and aligning them with what the market is already talking about. Backed up with facts from credible sources, this is a very powerful technique.

  • Independence

Everything we’ve talked about so far has revolved around the idea of independence. As I said, it’s difficult to engage with C-Suite executives while coming from the stance of a seller. So how do we get their attention?

Our C-Suite Marketing methodology does this by way of creating an independent 'club', focusing the content around a pressing topic that the market is talking about and aligning it with the value proposition of our clients.

Let’s get clearer on this with an example. We recently built the Digital Resolution Club for our client Ixonos, who are a creative technology agency. They used this to position their message in the eyes of their target senior decision makers as something truly valuable, something that would help overcome their challenges.

The content was revolved around digital monetisation and the rise of second screens – a topic very close to the hearts of their target audience, being media companies. Again, this wasn’t a topic that we thought was pressing, or even a topic Ixonos themselves wanted to cover. It’s what the market is talking about, right now.

Value was delivered in an intimate, face-to-face setting with 14 senior decision makers. The low numbers are deliberate in order to ensure strong relationships were built.

The attendees included C-Suite execs from Hearst Magazines, Mail Online, BBC, The Economist as well as Metro UK and The Guardian. These were opportunities that Ixonos wouldn’t otherwise have thanks to the independent positioning and the clever alignment of a pressing topic with their value proposition.

Summary on engaging with your C-Suites

As you can see, this is not content marketing in the way we currently know it, but it is an innovative approach that merges digital and face-to-face channels in order build relationships based on intimacy.

Blending digital and face-to-face channels is how you build these relationships faster. It builds trust first and then works backwards to present a business case. Then, and only then, do you present the benefits of your solution and what it actually is.

Brands like Ixonos, as mentioned above, as well as NetSuite and SAS are using this same technique with great efficiency. Businesses of all sizes can benefit as long as you put the focus on the pressing challenges that your target market are trying to overcome.

We’ve given you our method of building an independent club brand, but the options are open to your creativity. How would you take this methodology and apply it to your own business?

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By Expert commentator

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