Sell Content to Your CMO in 5 Easy Steps

By Brenda Caine, Content4Demand

You know your demand generation efforts aren’t up to snuff, and you know that a coherent content marketing campaign is what you need to turn things around. The facts prove it: Content marketing costs 62% less than traditional marketing while generating about three times more leads.

Working with your content marketing agency, you’ve got all the details of your campaign planned out. You have goals, a strategy and an estimated cost. But you still have to sell the campaign to the CMO.

Where do you begin?

Build Your Case: Put It in Business Terms

Your CMO needs to prove marketing’s (and his or her own) value to the rest of the C-suite. Make your job easier by making their job easier. Frame your argument in business terms that show how content marketing will produce bottom-line results.

Return on investment (ROI) is a good place to start. How much will the campaign cost, and what kind of results do you anticipate?

Present hard data. How many marketing-qualified leads do you expect to generate? How many will convert to sales opportunities? How many opportunities are likely to close, and what’s the average deal size? These are the details CMOs love to hear.

Of course, you’re bound to face objections: “We don’t have the money,” “We need results right away,” “We don’t have the resources to do it.” To help you overcome the objections, check out this great set of “Convince Your Boss” videos from Vertical Measures.

Armed with plenty of ammunition, it’s time to present your argument.

Make Your Case: Use Psychology to Persuade

How do you maximize the chances of getting approval for your campaign? Tap into innate human behaviors and the principles of psychology to start. Using an outline developed by a Purdue University professor for making speeches that deliver results, you can concoct a powerful case for content marketing.

Step 1: Get Attention

Start with a bang. Statistics like the one about content marketing’s 62% lower cost and three-times greater return work great. Other tactics include anecdotes (for example, what other companies have done), rhetorical questions or demonstrations. Make it short and powerful.

Step 2: Establish the Need

Now that you’ve got the CMO’s attention, lay out the problem or challenge. Why do you need a content marketing strategy or a specific campaign? Is marketing not passing enough qualified leads to sales? Not contributing enough to revenue? Maybe leads aren’t converting. Show evidence to support your argument. What happens if you don’t do anything? Don’t forget to include what’s in it for your CMO. At the end of the day, they want to show they’re doing their jobs well, too.

Step 3: Satisfy the Need

This is where you present your solution: a well-designed, strategic content marketing campaign. Go through the details at a high level and show how you’ll measure success.

Step 4: Visualize the Future

Tap into your CMO’s emotions and logic. What will it look like when your campaign is successful? How will your sales cohorts respond when they’re getting better leads and win more deals? This is where you say, “Imagine what it will be like when you can tell the executive management team that marketing-influenced revenue increased 20% in the most recent quarter.”

Step 5: Provide a Call to Action

As a good marketer, let the CMO know exactly what you need him or her to do. Do you need budget approval? Do you need approval on a statement of work with your content marketing agency? Be specific, and add a sense of urgency. Most important: Provide a deadline for his or her response.

If you present your case persuasively, your CMO is likely to say, “We’ll find the budget to make this happen.”


Brenda Caine is a Content Strategist at Content4Demand