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How to Present Your Marketing Data to Your CEO

Inbound Marketing , Marketing Budget | | 6 minute read

You have developed detailed and easy-to-understand marketing graphs and charts. Now you must prepare your presentation and narrative to deliver to your CEO.

No two executives are the same. So, how do you determine the best approach to presenting marketing data? It is best to tailor your presentation to your audience first and your goals and objectives second. While the data you are presenting is the same, your approach and delivery might vary drastically.

Consider these three types of executives:

1. The Cut and Dry CEO

All facts and no fluff are the preferences of this CEO. They highly respect the value of time and your goal is to demonstrate your respect for theirs. The Cut and Dry CEO wants answers to three questions: What? So what? And now what?

What? So What? Now What?

Stating your objective upfront will keep your executive’s attention.

  • What are you reporting?
  • What is the conflict you’re wishing to resolve?
  • What do you want your CEO to focus on?

Always provide negatives and positives to your presentation. They might be to-the-point but showing both sides of the coin will demonstrate your transparency and credibility. Remember: Not ALL good and not ALL bad.

Your CEO is likely not a marketing expert. In plain words, both in the visual presentation and your narrative, explain why they care about the information you’re providing. What exactly is relevant about the presentation and include your predictions for the future based on the facts of your data.

If you are making a proposal, this would be the time to present why there is a need for a decision. Ensure you provide additional predictions if you are requesting a decision from the CEO.

Always suggest a plan of action, even if the plan is to stick with what is working. If the presentation included a call to action, at a minimum, provide your CEO with two avenues of actionable options and a third option to stay the course.

For example:

  • Plan A- Hire an assistant,
  • Plan B- Provide Budget for software support,
  • Plan- C No Action.

Provide a side-by-side comparison of your predictions for each proposed plan.


2. The Feel-Good CEO

This CEO thrives on relational connection to both their staff and their clients. They often ask for customer reviews and might even handle grievances themselves.

These CEOs want to be taken on a journey through your reporting process. The best way to hit home with this executive is to format your presentation narrative as a story. Your data points are the evidence to support the conclusion you are demonstrating. It is your job to get your CEO from raw, lifeless numbers to fully comprehend your message by telling a story.

Main Character Conflict Conclusion
Storytelling in presentations gives your audience something to relate to. From a marketing standpoint, your main character is not always your client. You could star your product in the narrative. Get as creative as you like, while remaining relevant to your data.

Every story involves conflict. Your data might show high product visibility in one area and low in another. There might be a drop in sales this month compared to last month.

Walk your audience through the experience of your chosen character while referring to your data. This is where you demonstrate why your data matters to your executive. If you are making a proposal, this would be the time to present what your character would want to happen versus the reality of the data.

By allowing your CEO to put themselves in the experience of your story, they can remain in their element of connection while absorbing otherwise overwhelming information.

Are you a fan of alternate endings? If your story is not a happily ever after, referred to above as “stay the course”, give your audience a minimum of three alternate endings while displaying a side-by-side comparison of your predictions for each proposed plan.


3. The Hybrid CEO

This CEO is not a fan of metaphors but might be easily overwhelmed by hard demands. Combine the two techniques above, with the same data presentations, to put them at ease while making the right impression.

Main Character Conflict
Like the Cut-and-Dry CEO, ripping the bandage off is the best approach to opening your presentation. More time can be spent on making small relations in the data, but developing an elaborate story is not necessary. Unlike the other CEOs, this executive might be more skeptical of happily ever after. Instead, if there is no true proposal, identify small areas of growth. If the presentation does include a proposal, provide them with two optional plans of action along with the small areas of growth. While this might seem overwhelming to some, the side-by-side comparison of your predictions for each proposed plan with better shows them the significance of the larger outcomes.

To learn about KPIs and their value, read our blog titled, Why KPI Performance Tracking is Crucial for Growth Marketing.



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Robb Luther

A lifetime resident of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, Robb joined PIC as an Internet Marketing Consultant in September 2007. Robb’s work experience covers a full range of website design and development, marketing (both online and off), and training responsibilities.

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