Game On: The CMO’s Adventure Through the C-Suite
THE CMO :
Marketers encounter many fascinating characters when selling their ideas to the top. Here’s how to ace the process.
Armed with just their wit and creativity, CMOs must navigate the world of the C-suite to turn their marketing ideas into reality. The journey requires hard work, perseverance and a keen understanding of the high-powered personalities they will come across. Can they craft their concepts to win them all over? Strap in and find out.
The Light Bulb
Made famous in Dan Lyons’s notorious memoir, Disrupted, this playful but symbolic stand-in for a company’s customers can be a big help in selling an idea to the CEO, and a constant touchstone when convincing everyone else. Ensure that your idea serves the needs and desires of your customers, and you’ll sprint to the finish line.
A Game for Marketers
The COO is a problem solver who irons out inefficiencies and seeks new opportunities for the company to grow through clever planning. If you want to score buy-in from your COO, then consider pitching a proof of concept. The prospect of shelling out cash for your game-changing idea is a lot more palatable to the COO when it can be repurposed, built upon, and scaled, with minimal fuss.
MOLLY THE BEAR: The Spirit Animal
Congratulations! If you’ve made it this far, you’ve won the game and your idea just might have the legs to revolutionize the industry!
Now that you’ve won over the C-suite, the actual work begins….
Your general counsel may be the most important non-C seat at the big conference table. This person’s job is to smell smoke before it becomes a fire. To do that, the General Counsel will mercilessly punch your idea around to root out any vulnerabilities that might be exploited. This lawyer’s risk-averse nature files in the face of most creative endeavors, but remember that good counsel also offers a path to mitigate risks. Stay on your toes and be ready to provide solutions for any red flags that may be raised.
In today's data driven world, the CTO's input is required for nearly any move company wide. CTOs, like CEOs, also tend to have an affinity for innovation and they make ideal partners for CMOs because they offer valuable technological insight. One bit of advice: Keep your pitches concise and make sure they will still be relevant in six months. Your detail-obsessed CTO will come for the succinctness, and stay for the forward-looking innovation.
Good CFOs don’t just crunch the numbers; they’re also drawn like a moth to a flame by novel ideas that are market differentiators. Whatever your scheme, if the CFO can see it as fertilizer for growing a pile of dough, you’re on your way to the next level.
CEOs are typically entrepreneurs with appetites for disrupting the current state of a given industry, which they’re already inclined to champion novel ideas. Score! Still, your marketing idea needs to align with your CEO’s vision of the company, so keep that in mind. Pro tip: You’ll know you’ve succeeded when a CEO claims your idea as their own.