How to Reach C-Suite Executives with Your Marketing Reports
Presenting to stakeholders is an opportunity to deliver high-quality data and valuable insights to people who can make things happen. Of course, C-suite presentations cause even experienced marketing managers and their teams sleepless nights or bouts of frustration.
We’ve collected some of our top reporting tips to help turn stressful presentations into exciting opportunities.
How to Present to Stakeholders in 5 Steps
Whether or not you have experience making presentations to internal or external stakeholders, remember that preparedness counts. The real work comes in trimming the reams of data into actionable metrics that suit your audience and answer two key questions:
- Where are we now?
- Where do we go next?
1. Know your audience
Presenting to the C-suite demands a thorough understanding of your audience – and it isn’t easy. Executive teams may have vastly different familiarity with marketing terms, tactics or what your team is currently working on. Some may be well-versed in talk of paid media campaigns or social media marketing, while some may have no clue what engagement rate means.
Tip: Ask your colleagues with experience presenting to leadership about the group’s understanding of marketing lingo. If no one is sure, include relevant links to commonly (and not-so-commonly) used terms so uninitiated members can quickly look up unfamiliar terms. Our SEO and Analytics glossaries might be handy!
2. Know what they’re worried about
There’s an incredible amount of data available to marketers these days. While it may be fascinating to us, leadership teams tend to prioritize a few key metrics. Never shy away from including relevant information that may improve results but remember to shape that data to connect to the key performance metrics your C-suite is worried about.
Understanding those KPIs can also help you prepare answers to questions you expect to hear. Your CFO will probably want to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of each marketing strategy. CEOs usually want to see how marketing supports the organization’s goals as a whole.
Tip: Delegate a colleague to take rigorous notes at every executive meeting, especially what questions are asked. This can help your entire team focus on the metrics that matter most to the bigwigs.
Related: How to Calculate the ROI of SEO
3. Lean on visualizations
Using charts and graphs is an excellent way to present information to stakeholders effectively. Focus on 1-3 closely related metrics at a time and report over a relevant period. For most executives, 30-day timelines aren’t useful; they want to see what’s happening over 3-, 6- and 12-month periods that better communicate where the company is now and what to expect next.
Tip: Limit copy on the report to the bare minimum, but don’t leave viewers wondering, either. We recommend clear definitions on each chart or page, such as:
- Reporting period
- Comparison period (period-over-period, month-over-month, quarter-over-quarter, etc.)
- Data source (Facebook, Google, Microsoft)
- Relevant filters (Organic only, paid search only, etc.)
Need a hand? Check out our digital marketing report template – it’s free to download and includes tips for creating better marketing reporting dashboards.
4. Create a narrative
How quickly would you fall asleep if someone read numbers at you for 60 minutes? Quickly. Instead, shape the presentation to follow a broader narrative. Depending on the report’s scope, you might be able to tell your story along a few interesting marketing plotlines.
- We launched a new product or service; here’s how it’s doing!
- We optimized existing site content; here’s what happened.
- We conducted a technical site audit; here are the opportunities we’ve discovered.
- We engaged a new digital marketing partner; they’re really getting things done!
Tip: Make sure there’s room for a sequel. Your marketing report should paint a crystal clear picture of what’s happening and what happens next.
5. Make confident recommendations
Your team has put in the work, analyzed the numbers and knows what the next move should be. As the marketing experts in the room, your recommendations should carry weight. Don’t be afraid to map out where opportunities and challenges lie in the weeks, months, and years ahead, but have the data to back up your strategy.
Tip: Shape recommendations as “if, then” statements, which qualify results based on the actions of the C-suite. For example, “If we increase ad spend by 10% and maintain our current return on ad spend, then we can expect an X% increase in total revenue in the next quarter.” The statement empowers the top dogs to take action!
What Happens When Leaders Don’t Listen?
There’s no way to operate solely on data. Every organization needs to balance internal goals, external pressures & realities and the personal experiences of each stakeholder. Presenting data to stakeholders is pitting new, raw data against a range of diverse personalities and interests that may not always be aligned. Be confident, be informative and be persistent. And sometimes, the higher-ups just need to hear it from an outside source – like us – to take action.
We’re Always in Your Corner
Oneupweb is rooting for you. Need to gut-check your presentation to stakeholders before the big day? We’re always ready to jump in and help. Put a fully integrated team of marketing experts to work and add a fresh perspective to your brand. Get in touch or call 231-922-9977 to get started!