Modify your language to gain credibility, influence, and relevance with the C-Suite

Would you like the C-suite to perceive you as a person with strong business knowledge? You want to be seen as credible, influential, and relevant in business.

You’re right! Who would not? Only 1 in 5 marketers are perceived as such.

What makes them so unique? The language they speak is what makes them so special. They are easy to spot. You can spot them right away.

Some marketers talk about programs that result in brand recognition, website/event traffic, opens, and likes. These metrics are important, but they do not convey the value of Marketing to the C-suite.

According to the 2015 Marketing Performance Management Study, as well as Fournaise and Eloqua studies, 80% of marketers include the word “brand” as part of their marketing vocabulary. Only half (51%) have revenue targets in place, despite the fact that revenue growth is the most important metric to CEOs.

Suppose you use a language that is primarily brand-related, and the metrics of success are not business-related. In that case, you may be perceived as a marketing brand rather than a marketer for a company.

Which one are YOU? If you hear the following phrases from your leadership, you may be perceived as a brand marketing professional by your CEO:

  • “Our marketing department focuses too much creativity and does not think like businesspeople.”
  • We’re inundated with data and reports but can’t connect any of them to company financials or success measures.
  • “Marketing always asks for more money but cannot explain how much incremental revenue the money will produce.”
  • “Marketing always talks about brand, value of brand, and brand equity but never links marketing activities to revenue, customer acquisitions, market shares, sales, etc.”
  • Marketing talks about how important it is for companies to use the latest trends in marketing but can’t show how they will generate more revenue.
  • “When we ask Marketing for more accountability and to increase ROI, most people think it means reducing costs rather than becoming more effective.”

Does any of this sound familiar to you? You can stop reading if you don’t want to. If so, it’s now time to change your “marketing” language into a business language.

You can change your communication style today by doing these five things. The C-suite will see you as an influential, relevant, and credible member of the team.

  1. Move from brand to customer. Switch the conversation away from being about brands and towards customers. Discussions about customer acquisition, retention, and value can be held with the leadership team.
  2. Understand the customer’s expectations. Work with the leadership and sales teams to determine the number of new customers, retention targets, and product/service growth goals.
  3. Create an interactive visual map. Replace your PowerPoint presentation with a road map that shows the direct relationship between marketing activities and results.
  4. Measure the things that matter. Concentrate your marketing metrics to measure how marketing impacts business priorities.
  5. Create an actionable dashboard. Use data and metrics to develop an actionable marketing Dashboard that allows the organization to make better and faster business decisions.

The image you project to your C-suite team and other leaders in your company can be greatly influenced by understanding “business language.”

Now you know what to do to make the C-suite perceive you as someone who has a strong business sense and can exert influence, credibility, and relevance in the company. First, you modify your language.

As the 2016 planning season approaches, it is time to move your marketing accountability journey and ROI to the next step.

This may involve small steps, like changing your language, but also larger steps, which include learning how to improve alignment, deal with accountability, and harness data analytics, processes, and systems.

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