My role at Cerkl affords me the opportunity to talk to literally hundreds of communicators.
These conversations have one central theme: everyone is overwhelmed. It’s a true epidemic. In the years following the Great Recession, communication departments have downsized, resulting in the expansion of the role the communicator.
The few communicators left standing are now the fundraiser, the event planner, the digital marketer, etc. Makes you want to hang your “today we do” sign.
Promises are made to hire help, but that rarely happens or is delayed and leaves the communicator drowning in a to-do list the length of the Amazon River.
Here’s the worst part, because the communicator is now treading water through a sea of tactics, they struggle to demonstrate the true ROI on their efforts. The ROI that matters to their bosses. Mired in tasks, they can’t get out from this vicious cycle that subordinates them to a simple order-taker or taskmaster. Sound familiar?
Deep breath. Let’s get you out from under that heap of tasks. It’s going to take another to-do list, but this one will have real results at the end.
Here are five steps to reposition yourself as the “can’t-live-without-strategist” and start showing your value in a way that excites your bosses and leadership.
Your managers may think that pretty much anyone can do communications. It’s the same as just sticking some clip art in an email, right? Yeah, no. You aren’t only the communicator, you’re an educator. Educate them on the 2018 communication landscape in terms and formats they enjoy.
Next time your work brings you in front of communications value doubters, kick off your presentation with powerful, discussion framing stats. Here’s a great conversation starter, according to former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, we’ve produced more content as a society in the last three hours than we did from the beginning of time to the year 2003 combined.
Use this knowledge drop as an opportunity to make them aware of where your organization’s been where you are now, and how you are protecting and shaping the future.
Show Them the Data
C-Suite types are data people. There’s no better way to validate your actions than by using supporting facts and figures.
Not only is it important in the planning stages of new initiatives you are trying to push forth, but producing and regularly presenting data such as your Open Rate and Click-Through-Rate (CTR) will confirm your theories and showcase your results.
Remember, you will need to educate them on these terms and show why they are important to the bottom-line of the organization. According to a study from the Harvard Business Review, depending on your industry the price of acquiring a new customer can be anywhere from 5 to 25 times more expensive than keeping your current customers engaged and satisfied.
Your strategic planning actually saves the company loads of money, so make sure the higher-ups are aware of your triumph.
Provide Sufficient Context
It’s not enough to spew forth data, you must be able to provide context.
When sharing data, be ready with industry averages and other benchmarking stats that help your busy C-suite understand how well you are doing. Saying you have a 72% open rate is not enough – instead try, “Our open rate is 72% which is 15x higher than other the national average for industries like ours.”
Consider delivering the data points in quick sound bytes. Your CEO will love to repeat these in his or her next board meeting or investor luncheon.
Prioritize + Strategize
So where do you begin? Chunk the tasks on your to-do list into bite-size elephants. Categorize these elephants into areas of your company’s strategic plan. Now, prioritize each elephant into what will get the quickest win and/or what is the biggest heartache for leadership at this moment.
Quick and frequent wins show leadership that you can execute and continue to move the work forward.
What technology can you use to automate some of the mundane tasks on your lists? What are you doing that you struggle to tie a real ROI to? If it isn’t supported by real data and you can’t tie a monetary value to it, then move it down the priority list or consider putting that to bed.
Sharing your data-driven wins along the way creates a memorable story that keeps your value top of mind for higher-ups. Now, you’re starting to reposition yourself from task-master to strategist and your CEO will start to rely on these strategic plan home runs.
Be the Expert. Provide Amazing Value.
Now that you’ve got your elephants in order, take a look at each department you are serving in your organization. Ask yourself, “How can I or my team save them time and provide them value?”
For example, use your CTR data to show your marketing department which stories and topics are trending among your various audiences. If you have individual subscriber data, you can see which subscribers could be a potential flight risk if their communication engagement has drastically changed. If you have interest data from your subscriber list, you can tell your member retention department who they should target for their next golf outing if they’re short registrations.
Your data provides valuable insight and knowledge. And you know what they say about knowledge. Yep, you guessed it. Power.
Use your power. Be a resource and your value will be present in each and every conversation with your coworkers and leadership.
Following these steps will elevate your position, reposition your day to work on the things that provide the most value and end the overwhelming task management that may not be moving the needle for your organization.