7 Ways Your B2B Marketing Offers Can Break Through to the C-Suite

For many B2B marketers, the “Holy Grail of Marketing” is found in the C-Suite, that often-elusive place where doors are opened, decisions are made, and checks are written. It’s a place that’s hard to penetrate, with its proverbial gatekeepers and harried, over-marketed-to executives—and breaking through with an offer they can’t refuse is a feat worthy of crying, “Eureka!”

Clichés and metaphors aside, successfully reaching and eliciting response from a C-Suite audience is no simple task. Even with a solid contact list and compelling offer, how can you be sure they’ll take notice? How do you know they’ll take action on it (even if that means passing it along to someone else)? And are they even listening? They’re already bombarded with marketing messages, especially if they spend any time online or on mobile devices, which they most certainly do.

What It Takes To Break Through
Here, we’ll try to put some of your needling questions and doubts to rest. Consider our must-haves to increase the likelihood for success with direct response marketing to the C-Suite, and gain the confidence that you’re prepared to start approaching your sweet spot, C-Suite executives more effectively:

1. Address Their Specific Pain Points
First and foremost, you need to appeal to what’s most important to your audience, because that’s where they’ll put their attention. While they’re counted on to develop business strategies, C-level decision-makers spend a lot of their time-solving problems. They’re not so much putting out day-to-day fires, but rather trying to determine how to sharpen their competitive edge, set new strategic direction, or invest resources more profitably.

Your company’s solution fits in there somehow, and it’s your job to plug your messaging and offer into the key issues they’re concerned about. Their focus areas will depend on their industry, marketplace, and their particular place in the market—and this could vary by growth stage and customer base. Take the time you need to get to know your audience inside-and-out so you’ll know which pain points to press with your marketing.

Find out How Marketing Research Can Strengthen your Direct Response Marketing.

2. Know How They Acquire Information
In today’s multichannel marketing universe, this marketing best practice is standard issue. But pay attention to how C-Suite executives in your industry and target market prefer to communicate, learn about solutions, and make decisions.

Do decision-makers attend conferences or login to webinars? Do they read blog posts? Are white papers part of their investigative mix? It’s possible they start their journey of exploration by asking friends and colleagues for advice. Or maybe they start with Google.

Finding answers to these questions requires some savvy marketing intelligence, but it’s worthwhile because it will greatly impact response. You need to reach potential customers through the right channels before you can hope to actually engage with them.

3. Don’t Leave Out Search Engine Marketing
Organic search engine optimization (SEO) and paid search are increasingly important for digital lead generation. A Think With Google survey found that 89% of B2B decision-makers use the internet during the research process, and 71% start their research with a generic search—not a search including company brand names. In fact, on average, B2B researchers do 12 searches prior to engaging on a specific brand’s site.

Is your website ready to rank? Is it ready to offer relevant content and compelling offers to your C-Suite audience? They’re plugging in search terms that are relevant to the products and services you offer—but not necessarily your company’s name—so do your best to show up in their search results. Learn How to Improve your Google Rankings.

4. Deliver Share-worthy Content
This one’s a biggie. C-Suite are often strong influences in the B2B buying decision, but they’re not always the actual buyers (even if they sign the check!). The Think With Google report says that 81% of non-C-Suiters have a say in purchase decisions, and when it comes to final sign off, 64% of the C-Suite have the power, but so do almost a quarter (24%) of the non-C-Suite. That’s why your direct marketing messages should suggest they share the information with others in their organization.

They’re likely sharing it, anyway: the CMO Council and NetLine report studying how B2B buyers consume vendor content, highlighted in MarkingProfs, reveals that 94% of B2B buyers curate and circulate relevant content internally before purchasing B2B products and services.

As for what type of content types are most valued, 88% of respondents believe that online content has played a major to moderate role in their vendor selection. This digital content includes research reports and studies (65% value), technical spec sheets and data sheets (50%), analyst intelligence and insight (46%), whitepapers (35%), and articles on trade publishing sites (30%).

Explore  3 Types of Marketing Content that Drives B2B Sales Leads.

5. Use “Breakthrough” Direct Mail Formats
When trying to reach a hard-to-reach audience, you can pull out all the stops. Like we explore in 6 Most Effective and Time-Honored Direct Mail Creative Techniques, high-value direct mail packages—think tubes, boxes, and express envelopes—are effective. They’re hard to miss and practically beg to be opened, so they are more likely to make it past curious gatekeepers and onto the intended C-level recipient.

A word to the wise: since these direct mail pieces are expensive, make sure your list is verified and clean so there’s little to no waste. Don’t miss 3 Reasons To Clean Up Your Data Files Pronto.

6. Teach Them Something New
C-Suite leaders are in-the-know—their success depends on it. They like and need information to make decisions, and they value fresh perspectives from outside the walls of the company, peer-to-peer or from strategic partners. If your marketing offers provide information that they’ll find useful or even game-changing, you’re sure to experience some campaign response.

It’s crucial to establish credibility by presenting your messages professionally and at their level. They’ll tune into thought leadership from a company that demonstrates a working knowledge of industry trends, especially if your perspective takes a new twist or a different approach. So carefully plan and develop your content for this audience, taking care to position your offers and content so it piques their interest and appeals to their desire to understand the latest-and-greatest thinking.

7. Deploy A Campaign Series
Don’t look at your C-Suite marketing offers as one-off deals. Depending on the product or service you’re selling, a campaign series is a proven way to help you develop relationships with your audience and nurture them as prospective buyers. Besides, a multichannel, multi-touch-point campaign can stack the cards in your favor.

Not only may sending more than one message be necessary to break through—if the first email doesn’t get their attention, maybe the next one will—but using different marketing channels will help you reach them where they’re at. If your email marketing fails to generate a response, for example, it’s possible your direct mail package or even paid search ad will stand out and inspire the action you’re looking for. Catch additional insights in

The 3 Proven Techniques for a Thriving Lead Nurturing Campaign.
Contact us if you would like personalized advice for reaching your C-Suite audience with relevant content and offers.