Other marketers are using a combination of print, online and events to reach the elusive C-level target.
“We have seen real growth in multiplank efforts to reach the C-suite,” said Hank Boye, publisher of Harvard Business Review, which caters to a C-level audience.
“These folks are pressed for time, but they have a desire to get good solid information from a source they trust.”
HBR has worked with clients including Intel Corp., Siemens, SAS and Xerox Corp. on integrated programs including print, online and events. For example, it created a series of events in about a dozen cities across North America for business analytics software provider SAS. The events featured analytics consultant Tom Davenport, a regular contributor to HBR, and focused on how companies can use analytics to drive business results. Between 30 and 40 C-level executives were invited to each event.
“C-level folks want to make sure there are other C-level folks there,” Boye said, pointing to one of the challenges of marketing to this audience. The events were promoted in print and online across HBR properties.
“You want to get a group of smart people to engage,” Boye added. “These folks are looking for opportunities where they can commiserate and compare their situation with others.”
Another strategy for reaching C-level executives is to make the messages personal to them as individuals, not just as corporate leaders.
For example, health insurance company Cigna this summer debuted a campaign aimed at the C-level audience with the tagline, “It's time to feel better.” Its goal was to show how Cigna is changing the health care system to make it more personal and easy to use. The campaign, developed by Doremus, New York, launched with four color pages in The Wall Street Journal and a four-page insert in the debut issue of WSJ. magazine.
The first page of the ad featured copy reading “It's time to feel better. About your trick knee, about your son's asthma, your cousin's diabetes, Nana's heart. It's time to feel better about the health system.”
“The Wall Street Journal is a way to reach the senior executive audience,” said Chris Philip, chief experience officer at Doremus. “Often they are the final decision-makers, but they are also consumers of health care providers themselves.”
“For this particular campaign, since it was a launch,” Philip added, “we wanted to make sure we would be out there in a significant way. When trying to get immediacy with the C-suite, the Journal is the way to go.”