Not all business owners or CEOs have marketer as one of their roles. There are two key reasons for this: they don’t have time to do it after they’ve addressed their other roles, or they don’t have a background in marketing or a real understanding of what is required and so don’t make time for it. Another reason is that many business owners just don’t want to do it. They know their business intimately, they have specialist expertise in what they do, and being a marketer is not something they’re comfortable with.
It has been said that a business lives or dies on its marketing. Whatever else the CEO has to be, it is important that she has a strong market focus. Why? Because the market must see their commitment to the company’s vision and values, and witness their passion for the organisation and what it does. That is not to say that they undertake all marketing activities within or for the business, but they need to represent it at their level.
The CEO must undertake fundamental marketing activities, at the highest level, such as build customer relationships, tell the market about the business, do the big deals, form strategic alliances, inspire their team and market the company’s vision and values internally, and let people see them actively out in the market being passionate about their business. This applies to businesses of all sizes and at all stages of development.
How can your role, the CEO as marketer, help your business?
- Do you make, distribute, produce, resell, provide, offer or create a product or service?
- Do you need customers or clients who will purchase your product or service?
- Do you have competitors?
- Do you need to get your products to the right types of customers who want to buy what you can provide?
- Are you responsible for the way your business delivers its products or services
- Are you in a position to make changes if required, fix problems, and provide solutions for your customers’ organisations?
- Does the buck stop with you as far as your customers are concerned?
- Do you have the commitment and drive for your business that will ultimately create value for your customers?
Do customers, suppliers, partners and potential customers need to know this? Will it have more impact if the CEO or Managing Partner takes time out to communicate the message and talk to the people who mean the most to the business? Yes!
Some key things to remember when communicating with your market:
- Be passionate – always
- Believe in what you’re doing and saying
- Look you audience in the eye – connect
- Use your body to communicate
- Animation is powerful – be expressive (at least look happy!)
- Use your voice to convey the message
- Use powerful, descriptive words: why say ‘good’ when you can say ‘sensational’ or ‘awesome’?
- Tell a story – paint a picture and use analogies if necessary
- The message may vary for different audiences. Understand their perspectives.
- Use figures and examples to support your story, if needed
Who needs to know?
- Your staff – they will ultimately produce the results and deliver the vision
- Your customers – no customers, no business
- Your suppliers and partners – they need to be aligned with your goals and values
- The media – they can communicate with a far larger audience than you ever could
- And if you’re a listed company, the stockbrokers, analysts, venture capitalists, potential investors and shareholders
They all want to and need to hear your story, so make sure you tell them in a way they’ll understand and be inspired by.
If the CEO is not telling the world about the business, and doing this high level of marketing with their decision-making and influential target market, then why not? Remember, passion is compelling!