How to Show the ROI of Content to the C-Suite

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Marketers have countless tools to splice and dice their content marketing audience, but there’s one audience that demands extra attention: the C-suite.

While marketers may feel pressure when presenting to executives, Datica’s vice president of marketing, Laleh Hassibi, says that showing the C-suite the return on investment from content is really just another act of marketing. “Understanding your audience and providing them value is really what it comes down to when you're trying to tell a good story to the C-suite,” she says.

Laleh joined us recently for Managing Editor Live! and shared the strategies she uses when navigating the pressures of boardroom meetings.

If you’d like to hear more from Laleh, watch the full session here.

Know Your Audience

Remember that the C-suite has one primary concern: money.

While that may seem like a crass way to phrase things, money is at the core of what makes every business run. So as you craft your messages to the C-suite, remember that you’re ultimately trying to show why your marketing department matters to the bottom line. Engagement statistics are great, but you have to demonstrate the value you bring to the organization.

As you tailor your message, remember that you’re attempting to show how your marketing department aligns with the company’s goals. “Tell that story in terms of content marketing,” Laleh says. Show how your department is creating awareness and demand — and actually influencing revenue. Truthfully, it boils down to one ultimate question:

“Is marketing doing enough to help us meet our revenue goals?”

Focus on Key Metrics

To Laleh, there are three metrics that matter more than most:

  • Cost per lead.
  • Conversion rate.
  • Return on investment.

By knowing these three metrics, you’ll be able to show your department’s value to the organization and also be better able to forecast future results. “You need to be able to report that not only are you making the company's goals happen right now, but that three months or six months or even one year from now you're on target to meet those goals,” Laleh says.

Most importantly, by arming yourself with statistics you’ll be better able to get your department the resources it needs:

“The reason you have to know these metrics is not only to present them to the C-suite, but also so that you have leverage.”

Don’t Get Too Caught Up in Playing the Hits

When presenting to top executives, it’s natural to want to go beyond the metrics to highlight your department and your creative coworkers who are constantly producing vibrant, forward-thinking work.

Laleh says to resist this urge, and to remember the purpose of your interactions with the C-suite: showing the money. Feel free to highlight your most successful pieces, but overall, your presentation should be about the value your organization brings to the company. If you don’t do that, you could cost your team the opportunity to produce more amazing content.

“Don’t tell them everything. Just pick one or two awesome hits.”

Watch Laleh’s entire session on ROI and browse the rest of our recorded sessions on managing a modern marketing team.

Lee Price is co-founder of Managing Editor. After 7 years as a content marketing consultant at Rep Cap, she started a thought leadership consultancy to help visionary leaders dig up and develop their big ideas. She's a proud University of Virginia fan, Twizzler enthusiast and feminist. She lives in Georgia with her husband and two young daughters. When she's not reading or writing, you can find her on Twitter @leevprice.

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