Shedding Light on Prismatic Marketing for Black-and-White Executives


W. Edward Pierce, Principal, It’s The Arts Marketing

It isn’t surprising to any Chief Marketing Officer who might deal with a CEO or CFO as a peer, but most executives are focused on the black, as in the profits, the bottom line. Yes, they can distinguish red, like a bull sees red. Little wonder then that marketing people who report up through an organization seldom understand the lack of interest, and sometimes, the disdain for marketing plans, rationales, and experts.

Marketers live in a world of refraction and diffraction. Prismatic marketing reflects the complex nature of the calling. Straight lines seldom go anywhere. Target markets aren’t homogeneous. Marketing channels are as varied as fluvial landforms, and as hard to navigate. User needs are as complicated as the topic of persuasion psychology.

However, since good marketers always consider persuasion psychology in their work, they should remember to employ those techniques in dealing with C-level executives. What are their prime motivations? Know the company’s strategic plan. What do they hope to gain? Power. Prestige. Profits. What do they want to reduce? Costs. Waste. What do they want to be? Recognized. Authoritative. Respected. What do they want to do? Win!

After having climbed up with corporate ladder for many years or fought to start a successful business, a savvy executive is nothing if not focused. In order to be persuasive, a successful marketer will “un-refract” the rainbow hues of marketing strategies and messages. An argument must shed light on the black.

Colors may abound, but how does the plan deliver more sales and more profits? How does marketing increase share value? And, how much? Why is native advertising more efficient than print? How will the recommended marketing support the strategic plan?

For us, marketing is a never-ending source of excitement, lessons and conversation. The colors reflect the possibilities. For an executive trying to lead a business, marketing is overhead. There’s your starting point for that next pitch!


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