How to Present to the C Suite — the CMO’s Role
Many multifamily companies are considering alternative business models to create operational efficiencies including the centralization of some roles. They are challenging the status quo of 1 resource per 100 units and looking at what labor needs to be onsite vs. centralized.
Tina Mortera, Vice President, Business Development, West at Bozzuto, led a conversation with Rachel Roenspies, National Marketing Director at QuadReal, and Clay Hicks, President, The Dinerstein Companies, on how marketers can best present new ideas to the C-suite.
“It’s important when launching a significant program that information about it should be shared bit by bit,” Mortera said. “Have reasons for what you are doing, other than ‘Everyone else is doing it.’ ”
Hicks agreed, saying it’s crucial to be concise, using only key points and insights.
“Clearly state at the beginning of the meeting what the purpose of the meeting is and what you are trying to accomplish so they can get it in their minds what you plan to talk about.”
“Less is more,” he said. “Cut all the fluff language that marketing people are known for. The C-suite just wants the facts.
Hicks said disclosing costs is important, using facts and figures, and demonstrating the benefits.
“Use simple, easy-to-read bar charts or pie graphs,” he said. “Don’t make the audience figure out all your math. If they see something that is inaccurate, they will focus on that and then they might not believe anything else you are telling them.”
Hicks said do not just bring ideas and thoughts to the presentation, and don’t confuse strategy and tactics – tactics are what you do to execute the strategy.
If the project requires a pilot, demonstrate how the pilot will be rolled out with a timeline and how you will measure the results, Hicks said.
The worst thing that can happen, Hicks said, is “losing” the audience.
“Once the C suite starts checking their email, it’s over,” he said. “They’ll let you finish, then they’ll walk out, and they probably won’t even tell you why they didn’t respond to your presentation.”
Better, Hicks said, is to ask to speak to a person in the C suite, seeking their criticism and feedback.
“The C suite is simply not going to go to the presenter and tell them because they don’t want to hurt your feelings,” he said.
Interestingly, Hicks said the C suite can be intimidated by marketers.
“Marketers speak their own language, and the C suite probably doesn’t know all the acronyms and doesn’t want to feel dumb,” he said. “So, during the presentation, say the words, not just the acronym.”
One tip would be to put together a monthly newsletter about “what marketing is doing” to give to C suite, Hicks said.
“The C suite will use your stats from your newsletters in our meetings, it makes us sound smart,” he said.
Other Interesting Notes
- If a member of the C suite asks a question that the presenter doesn’t have an answer for, admit you don’t know the answer, Hicks said. Don’t try to come up with a fake answer to sound smart. We either won’t believe you or we’ll check it and find you lied. Be truthful.
- If given a follow-up opportunity based on questions from the C suite, don’t be afraid to admit you erred originally.
- Mortera said when creating a presentation, rely on other departments to put together the information. “You don’t have to do all the research,” she said.
Here is the replay: