(She’s been linking to some great articles and resources lately, even more so than usual. If you don’t follow her on Twitter, and you like this sort of thing, consider giving her a follow.)
There’s some very insightful stuff here, but what really got my attention was this last bit:
Extra tip: I have found that having executives read the book “The New Rules of Marketing and PR” can be helpful. Sometimes CEOs just need an established author to tell them something, rather than an employee.
This is something that resonates strongly with me, and with many of my friends that I have spoken with over the last few years. We have all had similar struggles to win over our respective nonprofit senior executives and boards to using the tools of the new marketing as part of an organization’s communications strategy.
It’s a common lament: I proposed we (insert social media initiative here) months ago, and got shot down. Now I hear that they read a book/read an article/heard from an executive-level peer about (insert identical social media initiative here) and now they wonder why we aren’t doing that.
It can be hard to be heard when you’re an employee, especially when you are an employee recommending something new and untested (from their point of view).
That’s why it’s so important to arm yourself with as much quantifiable data as possible — to be able to speak the language of business, understand how they expect to see things planned, measured, tracked, and reflected in the bottom line.
And, once you have gathered all this information and presented it in the most persuasive, compelling way you possibly can, accept the fact that people need to hear things like this from an authoritative source. A source that they consider to be authoritative. And that isn’t necessarily you.
So arm yourself with a bibliography of articles from the newspapers and magazines they read, if you can. Find out what kinds of books they read, and see if you can find a slim volume to recommend like the one above.
But when choosing your references, remember that the credibility of the authors is in the eye of the beholder. Choose authors with credentials that your target (the person you are trying to convince) will find compelling and authoritative. Know your audience. Do they prize Ivy League credentials? Journalistic chops? Forbes 500 leadership experience? Best-seller status?
And don’t forget the power of peer recommendation. Is a similar organization doing something like what you’re proposing? Is your executive friends with their executive? Find out who they have lunch with, whose opinion they value, and maybe plant a seed or two (“Why don’t you ask so-and-so about how their blog is coming?”).
If they hear about it from somebody they trust, it only increases your own validity, and strengthens your argument.
Tailor your chosen authoritative source to the needs of the audience. And understand that it probably isn’t you.
What authoritative sources have you found to be helpful in winning over executives and decision makers?