The C-Suite can be compared to a luxurious and expensive car. It's glamorous, fast, and efficient. More importantly, it gets you from point A to point B. The C-Suite is similar; they're envied by many, make quick decisions, and work fast.
They work on the 20th floor because they have strategies to grow and move the business. But, you wouldn't buy a luxury car before researching its pros and cons first. Similarly, you wouldn't present anything to the C-Suite before you've done extensive research on them.
It's important to understand how the C-Suite thinks and verify any preconceived notions about them. Why? Your marketing efforts will fall flat on their face if you don't know the specifics of your audience. All your time and energy will have been for nothing. So get ready to take notes because you're about to get a crash course in the minds of the imposing C-Suite.
Debunking 3 Common C-Suite Myths
- The C-Suite Does not use Social Media or Look for Information Online: This myth couldn't be farther from the truth. Because the internet makes information readily available, the C-Suite has easy access to a solution that meets their needs. They don't have to wait for another employee to imagine a solution when they can just find it themselves. According to a study conducted by Weber Shandwick, "80% of CEOs who run the largest 50 companies are actively engaged online and on social media." The study also shows this trend is increasing, as that number has now doubled. Another important aspect to note is that the age of CEOs is decreasing as companies work their way through succession. You can guarantee these younger CEOs will be turning to Google and Twitter for their problems.
- Individuals in the C-Suite are Grumpy, Old Men: If you imagine the C-Suite to be like something out of a Mad Men episode, think again. Replace a lot of those grumpy executives with passionate, young CEOs and intelligent, driven women. Current baby boomer CEOs are close to reaching retirement, and businesses have found it profitable to incorporate diversity into its workforce. Among Fortune 500 companies, "72% of the CEOs have held their position for less than three years."
- C-Suite Executives Aren't Different Than Other Employees: This statement deserves a big, fat false answer. Of course, they're different! Their uniqueness landed them a coveted spot in the C-Suite. They think differently, act differently, and work differently. To assume they go through the same decision-making processes is detrimental to your marketing efforts. Their motivations will also be different from that of the typical staff member.
Universal Characteristics of CEOs
- They Can Deliver: Excellent CEOs know how to execute whether it be projects, strategies, or deals. They set goals for teams or departments, follow up, and hold employees accountable for their actions or lack thereof. In other words, they know how to get things done and done quickly. Effective high-level executives also take forceful stands without being overly abrasive. According to Steve Kaplin, a business writer for the Chicago Booth Review, "There may be some tendency, if [CEOs] want to get things done, to have to step on some toes, fire people, and be tough from time to time." Executing projects may sometimes require CEOs to make these moves, making them even scarier to those outside the C-Suite.
- They Need Control: CEOs believe they're in control of their company; they hold the power to change an organization's future. Such changes can impact the personal and professional lives of employees and shareholders. There are six areas in which CEOs need control. A lack of control could produce pain points within the organization. These areas include growth, profitability, innovation, talent, corporate culture, and external market changes.
How does this information affect your ABM marketing campaign? Well, first of all, ensure you're promoting your website and content through social media channels that the C-Suite frequents. Driving traffic to your pages will increase your credibility as a forward thinker, making the C-Suite take your solutions seriously. Once they're engaged with your content, you should nurture this relationship, and educate them more through further content. These steps will help them consider your services or product. It's also important to remember they act fast; therefore, you must make sure to connect with them quickly or else you'll miss the buck.
Related: How to Market for the C-Suite
The C-Suite are superstars of the business world and should be treated as such. Knowing how they think will help you create a unique and effective marketing campaign. Don't assume you know them without conducting research. They aren't all old men, internet illiterate, or similar to other employees. Additionally, they deliver big and crave control. Knowing this information will help you tailor your marketing strategy and bring you success.