How to Pitch PR to C-Suite Leadership

September 12 2022

To share its 30-year anniversary with all PR and communications professionals around the globe, the Public Relations Global Network is sharing 30 pearls of wisdom from its senior members and agency leaders.

The 30 pearls – some of the network members’ best tips and advice polished in the past 30 years and dazzling to show direction for the next decades in PR and communications – were published in an eBook at PRGN’s anniversary meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona, in May 2022. The eBook is also available for downloads on the opening page of the PRGN website.

Below is one of the 30 pearls from members, expanded to fit PRGN’s regular blog series. It is written by Amanda Hill, Treasurer of PRGN. Amanda is principal of Three Box Strategic Communications, PRGN’s partner agency in Dallas, Texas.

In 2019, I wrote a piece for Forbes called “Don’t Go Dark in a Downturn.” In the article, I shared how to leverage marketing and PR during enduring times, such as a recession. Luckily, the advice still held true for 2020 and beyond.

Brands need marketing momentum to get through economic downturns – but it can be challenging to convince C-suite leaders to make the investment. CMOs and CCOs may be best equipped to go to bat for the resources they need. And yet, even they can struggle to build buy-in at the highest levels when sales have dipped or projections are off target.

That’s a tall task. Going into the conversation prepared will increase your chances of securing the resources you need for success. Not to worry – I’ve spent half of my career selling marketing and PR to the C-suite. Here’s how you can make the case for marketing, no matter the state of the economy.

marketing and PR can help in a downturn
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash












Demonstrate You Know The Customer

As a key player for your brand, you likely interact daily, or at least weekly, with customers and key stakeholders. You have insights on their needs, wants and brand affinity – all of which are incredibly valuable to the C-suite.

As you present your desired program, start by including brand learnings from recent PR and marketing campaigns. Share direct customer quotes from surveys, product feedback from social media and brand interactions through digital campaigns. Present ways to improve the customer experience or ramp up engagement around a popular product, service or campaign.

You have a unique perspective that can positively influence outcomes for the future.

Present Efficiencies

CEOs love efficiency. It shows smart resource investment and the ability to do more with less.

Be honest about what’s gone stale, what needs to be revitalized and where you can provide a deeper perspective to take the brand further, faster. Is it time to refresh your brand standards? Should you invest in more digital outreach? Is the brand’s messaging falling flat, especially in a time of massive societal shifts?

Rather than showing weakness or admitting fault, honest evaluation and proposed changes signal your thoughtful and strategic approach to best marketing the brand.

Align to Business Goals

One of the greatest mistakes PR and marketing leaders make is to take their eye off the business plan. What metrics are driving your C-suite’s benchmarking? What delivers value to the brand’s mission? That may be top-line revenue, sales, registrations or community impact.

Tie your program to the metrics that matter most and show how PR and marketing can contribute to the organization’s targets.

Show Total Impact

Above all else, think about how your PR and marketing efforts contribute to the organization’s mission and purpose. Quantify and qualify how your program will move the needle and position the brand for success. Help senior leaders understand the value you’re creating, and can create, with the right tools and resources in place.

It can be daunting to make the case for marketing and PR in a tough economy, but I’d argue it’s a solid investment in the long-term viability of your brand. Stand firm in the value it can deliver. Equip yourself with solid facts and a clear understanding of the business’s goals. Appeal to measurements that both the C-suite and your team see as success.

By demonstrating clear impact, you’ll make the case for PR and marketing investment no matter the current climate.

Amanda Hill
Principal, Three Box Strategic Communications
As Principal, Amanda delivers senior counsel to Three Box clients and leads work with ConocoPhillips, Dallas Fort Worth International Airport and Topgolf. Amanda has a bachelor of arts in journalism and public relations from Baylor University and an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She’s a member of the Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) and earned the Accredited in Public Relations (APR) credential in 2013.

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