Get CEO Support for Your Marketing Ideas
Do you ever feel frustration when you can’t seem to get the C-suite to value marketing? Not only does it derail your passion, but it can undermine your confidence and results. But, I learned this is not a dead end street and a few simple changes turned this cycle around.
Nearly 10 years ago, I was promoted to be director of the Public Relations department at a large hospital system with a role that spanned three departments: Public Relations (including Marketing and Internal Communications), Health Promotions and Volunteer Services.
I was thrilled about the creative opportunities that lay before me, and was pretty sure my boss looked at me like this:
But soon, the reality hit. He, and the rest of the executive team, actually viewed me like this:
For example, Recruiting would run into the office and tell me where I should place their ads and how much to spend, Finance would dictate the format of their New Patient form before we even discussed why a new document was needed, and anyone could post anything on our intranet—at any time!
I was frustrated because I was rarely given an opportunity to provide insight. I knew my team and I could bring more value, but months passed and I was still trying to figure out why I was taking orders instead of initiating ideas and solving problems.
I had to take deliberate steps to re-route the office patterns and allow my voice to be heard. The effort was well worth it. Adding a layer of formality and reporting allowed me to showcase the abilities of my team and ensure that requests were in line with the organizational mission.
Below are some of the steps I took to help elevate the status of my department and improve the perceived value of marketing and public relations.
A formal approval process. We required executive approval on all projects. If Nursing wanted a new ad or web page, the Chief Nursing Officer and the Vice President of Marketing had to approve. Executives quickly realized how much material was being created, and began to see the discrepancies between departments. The C-suite started to value consistency and our department’s critical eye.
- Create a process for engaging leadership at critical decision-making junctures
- Be proactive about implementing that process
- Be ready with recommendations, never complaints
Monthly reports to directors. The organization had more than 5,000 employees at more than three dozen locations. Communication was a challenge. We began sending bullet-point lists with details about the company’s top-line issues. At a glance, directors could find out if we were hitting our metrics, if any new leadership positions had been filled and if there were any new policies that needed to be reviewed.
- Make reports simple to read
- Make sure the visual layout of the report can be quickly understood
- Keep the information short; focus on key metrics and immediate updates
Slick executive reports. Once a project was complete, we provided a detailed report outlining our success. We compiled pictures, charts and testimonials, and bound them into a glossy, colorful report. We knew we were onto something when executives started carrying our reports into board meetings. We were reinforcing the benefit of our department, and theirs. These reports really helped us get traction.
- Show instead of tell
- Great design is enjoyable to read; don’t hesitate to use your Creative team’s talents for departmental goals and communication
Never forget that one of your key roles is to make your boss look good.
There were other changes made, but these were the most tangible. It took months of bridge-building before executives began coming to our department to ask for help before projects began, but consistency and confidence paid off.
Today you can begin implementing a few simple tactics to get the CEO support you need and deserve. We collected the very best advice from top marketing managers and directors for how to create agreement among divisions and move the marketing function away from busy order taking to critical goal achievement.
In this guide you will find:
- Tips for communicating with your CEO by aligning your initiatives with her priorities
- Presentation advice for creating excitement and buy-in
- Ideas for showing ongoing progress
Click on the guide below: