How Communications Professionals Speak the C-Suite Lingo

17 February 2021 12:30

Marketing and Communications pro uses Newsdesk to gather data for a presentation to the C-Suite.

Executives in the C-Suite have their own language. But there’s no need to turn to a magic decoder ring – this blog post will help you decipher some key buzzy buzz words and prepare for better conversations with your company leadership.

Profitability – The first thing to note is that the C-Suite is almost always focused on growing revenue. A handful of breaking crisis situations or HR priorities can overshadow this focus, but by and large you can assume your CEO, CFO, COO, and other executives are strategizing to increase profitability, sell more product, scale the business, or otherwise add to the company coffers. Keep this in mind as you communicate with the C-Suite; everything you present or propose will be measured against how it affects the bottom line.

It’s easy for marketing and communications professionals to get caught in the weeds and focus on results like media placements, click-through rates or followers. Executive leaders want to know what those metrics say about revenue. Do these results indicate growing profitability? Do they indicate a potential risk? What trends does this information point to? Be prepared to offer a hypothesis that builds upon the metrics Newsdesk helps you uncover, such as industry and competitive trends that can be early indicators of profitability. The C-Suite has little value for those data points without context.

ROI – Speaking of profitability, your corporate leaders want to know that every dollar they invest is going to yield a return. Simply said – they want to know that any expense is going to pay for itself, and then some. Be familiar with every line item in your marketing and communications budget. Can you consider each one an investment? Only if it will yield more business, bring in more revenue, or uncover intelligence that helps executives make informed business decisions.

Communications efforts very often have a long lead time,so when it comes to considering—and communicating— the ROI of your marketing and communications work, it’s wise to track a variety of metrics. Talk to executives about the marketing funnel and how your efforts can put you in front of more qualified leads. With Newsdesk, you can quantify the number of placements you secure and the size of the audience consuming this content. This audience is at the very top of your marketing funnel – the group with whom you are growing awareness. Your marketing and communications team can work in lockstep with your business development team to create a sales enablement program that helps educate and nurture those prospects into new customers. These discoveries can help you make decisions on future expenditures and pivot your marketing and communications plan as needed.

KPIWhen we talk about data, what we really mean is Key Performance Indicators. Top executives are hungry for KPIs. Most senior executives have a background in finance, accounting, or other technical disciplines. Outside of the Chief Marketing Officer role, few marketers ascend to the C-Suite. That means that your leadership may perceive marketing and communications as intangible, ephemeral magic that is hard to validate with concrete results.

Social KPI Report

That’s where KPIs come in. KPIs are the metrics you probably already track – things like sales growth, website traffic, and the number of leads you have.

Develop a list of the number of items you can quantify and begin tracking those metrics on a regular basis. You can start with the data Newsdesk offers and grow from there. These KPIs can help you tell a story about your sales pipeline, the size of your audience, and any number of other things that indicate how your business is doing.

As it turns out, a lot of your marketing and communications results can tell a deeper story about how your business is doing. Are you growing your awareness? How many people are you reaching? Armed with some deeper facts about the implications of his or her work, any communications pro can garner buy-in and interest from the C-Suite. Just stick to their lingo, and you will have them hanging on your every word.

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