C-Suite buy-in is one of the trickiest things B2B marketers must account for. C-Suite leaders don’t have time for fluff, empty marketing speak or dozens of assets showcasing your service. Your plan for connecting with the C-Suite must involve deliberate, concise messages that reveal the exact pain point you can help cure.
At the 2020 B2B Marketing Exchange, Leslie Cozatt of Optum will share how the brand transitioned from a disparate and inconsistent executive-level marketing approach to an engagement campaign designed and constructed with connected tracks targeted at distinct C-suite audiences. We caught up with Leslie before she hits the stage to ask her some questions. Check it out below!
B2B Marketing Exchange: You’re speaking in the Demand Gen track this year. What, in your opinion, is the state of demand marketing today? What trends are you seeing in the space?
Leslie Cozatt: It’s crowded! Cutting through the noise is the biggest challenge. Our audience is savvy and busy with a lot of competition for their time and attention. They will only engage if they think we’ve got something truly valuable to share.
Media formats, design, content and campaign channels must sync up to create an experience that proves we know and respect our audience — and show we understand what they need and that we won’t waste their time.
To get to that level of understanding means you must do your homework. You create a rich profile of your audience(s) and build your strategy and execution plan around them. Never forget you’re always earning their trust.
Earning that trust continues by using data and account-based marketing to ensure decisions match their preferences. Prospects know when you’re on the mark — and when you’re off.
B2BMX: You’ll be speaking about how to build audience-centric content for C-level campaigns at the event. What was the driving force behind Optum’s decision to take this approach?
Cozatt: We are a large organization and offer a range of enterprise-wide solutions. These typically have a long sales cycle and may require approval more than one C-Suite decision maker.
But educating the market with thought leadership content at the C-Suite level is not a new approach at Optum. It has, however, evolved over time. Our goal is to help them address hot topics, issues and pressures that they are facing from the market and from within their own organizations.
Thought leadership content at this level helps to establish us a partner who understands their challenges and is already working on their behalf. Before they purchase anything, they can benefit from our ability to gather insights from experts from across the industry. And because we have so much expertise across our organization, we can pull together some unique and valuable insights and perspectives. Only after we have earned our place as a thought leader do we begin nurturing them along that buyer’s journey.
B2BMX: How does the creative approach differ when crafting messages for a C-suite audience compared to more generic messaging?
Cozatt: So many people want their time, attention and approval — especially marketers. These people manage business risk and are more pressured, cautious and skeptical than most other segments.
They are not end-users and may not even recommend your product or services. They have teams who do that, and marketers need to attend to those stakeholders, too. But the C-Suite role is typically to rationalize any spend by examining the risk against the potential to advance their business goals. If you want any engagement, you need to prove you understand the serious business challenges they face and the unique pressures of their often-evolving role.
The creative needs to be about them and for them. It needs to be rich with insight and offer up some immediate action they can take to strengthen their business or their business relationships. This is not about selling; it’s about offering up useful information that can help them manage in a tough and turbulent industry. The media format, content and engagement mechanisms should always allow them stay in control.
The creative approach must recognize their pressure, their authority and their priorities. And if it can acknowledge local market dynamics, it is even more relevant to this audience.
B2BMX: What else can you share about your presentation? What is one main takeaway you want your audience to go back to their office with?
Cozatt: Know your audience. Do your homework. Don’t pretend to know the C-Suite. Really know them. Use every tool you have available to understand their needs, pressures, preferences and desires. Conduct research, interviews, round tables, surveys, pull marketing data — anything that offers insight into what they need and what they don’t.
Talk to them, learn from them and share with them. They face the most complex challenges in business, and they will appreciate real help spoken in real terms. If you want some of their time and attention, they expect you to really know their industry, their business challenges and are hoping you know something they might not.
B2BMX: What are you hoping to get out of your time at B2BMX? Are there any sessions you’re looking forward to?
Cozatt: There are too many great ones to choose from! The most difficult part will be choosing against other sessions happening at the same time! I love all of it — meeting new people, hearing all the great ideas that are shared, listening to the case studies — I always have so many good takeaways from this conference!
SPEED ROUND! Choose your favorite: